We had some comments asking if Holly’s Cinnamon Sugar Cookies recipe could be made into gluten-free cookies. Everybody here at Hodgson Mill immediately volunteered suggestions about the best way to do it, and I think we settled on a pretty simple, tasty solution.
Hodgson Mill Gluten Free Cookie Mix already has five recipes on the box, but I thought orange and cinnamon would be a great new flavor variety to try. I also think adding walnuts rounds out the flavors. The nuts are totally optional, but when baked in these cookies, remind me of a pecan sandy.
I went one step further to see if this recipe would hold up using no dairy—and it does. For this batch I substituted vegan buttery sticks for butter, along with all-vegetable shortening. I’m taking this batch to share with coworkers, some of whom eat both gluten-free and dairy-free, so I’m glad to know it works!
Gather up your ingredients, and thoroughly wash then zest your orange. (Zest only the bright orange part of the peel—the white part is bitter.) I opted for an organic orange, since I’m eating the peel and all.
Using a mixer, cream the butter and shortening until fluffy. It takes a few minutes, but eventually the mixture will get lighter looking, soft and ruffly, like whipped cream.
Next add the cookie mix. This mix is a bit dusty (it made a little cloud of dust when I opened mine a little too energetically) so I recommend folding it into the butter/shortening mix with a spatula or spoon first. Then mix using your mixer on low to minimize clouds.
Mix until no dry bits are left. The dough will feel coarse and a little dry, sort of sandy. Next add the orange zest, cinnamon, egg and vanilla. Blend with the mixer until you have a nice, thick dough.
Now the dough is ready for the cookie sheet. As usual, I’m using parchment paper in place of lightly greasing the cookie sheet. (This recipe makes about 24 cookies, so make sure you’re using only a teaspoonful of batter per cookie. It’s always less than I think.)
Mix up the cinnamon-sugar topping in a bowl. Sprinkle a pinch of topping on each cookie then flatten each one using the bottom of a glass. These cookies like to stick to the glass, so I recommend dipping the bottom of the glass in the cinnamon-sugar topping before pressing each cookie.
If you’re adding walnuts, sprinkle a few chopped walnuts on each cookie next, and then gently flatten one more time, pressing the nuts into the dough.
.Pop in the oven and voila! In no time, Christmas orange and cinnamon cookie smell will be wafting through your house. And if you’re gluten-free, welcome back to Christmas Cookie Town. We missed you.
Gluten-Free Cinnamon Orange Walnut Cookies
- ½ cup vegan buttery shortening, such as Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks
- 3 Tablespoons all-vegetable shortening
- 1 box Hodgson Mill Gluten Free Cookie Mix
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- Zest of one orange (about 2 loose Tablespoons)
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 ½ Tablespoons white sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350˚F. In a mixing bowl, cream together butter and shortening with a mixer until fluffy. Add cookie mix and blend completely. Add egg, vanilla, orange zest and cinnamon; beat until completely blended. Drop rounded teaspoonfuls of dough onto a lightly greased (or parchment papered) baking sheet, about three inches apart.
Mix up cinnamon-sugar topping and sprinkle a pinch on each cookie. Flatten each cookie to ¼ inch thick using a glass dipped in topping mixture. If adding walnuts, sprinkle a few on each cookie and press with glass again to push the nuts into the cookie. Bake at 350˚F for 13-15 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. (Mine took 13 minutes.)
Cool on rack or countertop. Keep in sealed container up to 1 week.
Yields 24 cookies