Angel Sugar Cookies, Gluten-Free

shameless copy of Ree’s cookie photo

As you know, I take requests for recipes.  I love to develop original recipes or adapt old ones to gluten-free.  Experimenting in the kitchen is something that makes me very happy.  It calms me down when I feel under stress, it relaxes me at the end of a long day.  It is some sort of deep-rooted urge I have.  I need to be in the kitchen, puttering, to maintain my equilibrium.  Too long away from the stove and oven and I’m not a happy woman.  I remember realizing this in graduate school, when I would come home to my apartment and cook and bake as a way to transition from classes and work to studying.  It was me-time that a cherished.

Over the past couple of months, I’ve adapted several recipes from The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes From an Accidental Country Girl, by Ree Drummond.  Every recipe I’ve tried I have loved!  One recipe I haven’t done (until now) is her angel sugar cookie recipe.  Then one of my readers, Glendee R. (hi Glendee!), asked if I would adapt it and so I have.  And I love it!

These cookies are extremely light and delicate.  They almost float.  Ree talks about these being stay at home and eat cookies because they crumble easily and don’t travel well.  It’s true, you should listen to her.  I brought these cookies for an after-school treat for Girlfriend one day.  It was her day of the week to go straight to her violin lesson and I thought should might need a little pick-me-up.  By the time I actually got it into her hands, it was in 3-4 pieces.  But those were 3-4 delicious pieces.   They are easy to make.  I haven’t done it yet, but I think they would go quite nicely with ice cream.  And, I have had them with my afternoon tea.  And, if you were really, really careful, I’ll bet you could ice them with a soft buttercream.  I haven’t done that yet, but I am now going to experiment with that.  Mmm.

Also, this recipe makes a lot.  The original recipe says that it makes 18 cookies.  Each one of those cookies must have been the size of a salad plate.  The cookies I made at about 3 inches in diameter–and the recipe makes at least 4 dozen of this size.

Angel Sugar Cookies, Gluten-Free
-adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks, Ree Drummond
-makes about 4 dozen 3 inch cookies

Special Equipment Needed
-a stand mixer is nice, but not necessary

Note: This recipe uses my gluten-free flour mix:
Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix (mix together and store in fridge):
1 1/4 C (170 g) brown rice flour
1 1/4 C (205 g) white rice flour
1 C (120 g) tapioca flour
1 C (165 g) sweet rice flour (also known as Mochiko)
2 scant tsp. xanthan gum
(you can also use the gluten-free flour mixture (not baking mix) of your choice–just be sure it contains xanthan gum. Or, you can add 1/4 tsp. xanthan gum per cup of gluten-free flour. If you use bean flour, it will add a bean taste to the cookies)

4 C plus 2 TBL (580g) Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar
2 sticks (1 C;  225g) unsalted butter, softened
1 C (235 ml) neutral oil–I use rice bran oil, but you could use canola
1 C (190g) granulated sugar, plus more for the tops of the cookies
1 C (120g) powdered sugar, sifted
2 large or extra large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a large bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together butter, oil, and the 2 sugars.  The mixture will be quite runny.  Beat for about 2 minutes.  Add the vanilla extract.  Beat to combine.  Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition.  Beat for a minute more to combine all.  Or you can mix it all by hand with a spoon.

Add the flour mixture and beat until just combined.  Cover your bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.  The dough is quite soft and you need to firm it up enough to work with.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Put some granulated sugar in a shallow bowl.  Cover the bottom of a drinking glass with butter and then dip it into granulated sugar.

The sugar should now coat the entire bottom of your glass.

With your hands, grab blobs of dough that are a bit smaller than a golf ball and form them into balls–place each on an ungreased baking sheet.  Place the unused dough back into the refrigerator–it is very soft and only gets softer at room temperature.  Now press down on each ball with your sugar and butter covered glass–this will flatten each cookie and place a topping of sugar on each.  Dip your glass bottom into the granulated sugar before flattening each cookie.

There should be about 2 inches between each cookie on the sheet because they will spread as they bake.

Bake at 350 degrees for 9-12 minutes.  You want the edges to be just barely brown–but not too brown.  Cool on sheets for about 1 minute or two and then remove to racks to cool completely.

These cookies are truly lighter than air and are fragile.  They are the perfect treat for anytime you want a little something sweet.  I also like them with my cup of tea in the afternoon.  They are quite addicting–it is kind of hard to stop eating them once you start!


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    • says

      MB: I think this might be too delicate for that. But, it never hurts to try and see how it goes! Also, I would cruise through my site and check out the various shortbread recipes–they are also delicate, but not as delicate as this one. Happy baking!

  1. Megan C. says

    Hi. Thanks for the recipe. Definitely light and airy. I have a five year old and she wanted to do “rolling” cookies with cutters so we tried. And then tried again with a little thicker dough. As you can imagine, things just turned blob-y. To others thinking, “maybe….” it wasn’t successful. I didn’t expect it to be but I have kids so you have to try. We did successfully dye small batches. I would say about 1-2t is the perfect sized cookie. Definitely addicting and those I made that were about a tablespoon ended up being too big. Again, thanks! This is my sole source for GF baking.

  2. NP says

    Can I substitute flax seed for eggs? I use condensed milk in place of eggs when I bake the GF cake and it turns out awesome. Was wondering if it will work with cookies as well, any suggestions?

  3. Michelle says

    These cookies are so good! I agree that they are delicate, light and extremely addictive. When I looked at the recipe and description, it reminded me of a cookie our wonderful local bakery used to make. Their cookies has a slight citrus flavor, and were rolled in coarse sugar, so I grated in a little orange peel and rolled them in raw sugar before pressing them. They are delicious, and I think even better than the ones the bakery made. Thanks for another terrific recipe!

  4. Lisa says

    I made these with Splenda and they turned out great! I also used colored sugar for the holidays! They look beautiful.

    • says

      Lisa: Thanks so much for letting me know about the Splenda success! Please keep your results with Splenda coming in. I think they will be helpful to my readers who can’t use sugar!

  5. Amy says

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!! You just found a way to bring one of my favorite childhood memories back! My Grammy “Sweet Pea” used to make these cookies for us. Every time we came to visit, she would pull a coffee tin out of the pantry and these sugary, fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth, delish cookies were waiting inside. I used to bake them myself, until I found out about my gluten issues. I thought these cookies were lost to me forever. I had tears running down my face as I took the first bite. They are just as good as Grammy Sweet Pea’s! Thank you!

  6. Jane says

    WOW! I am new to GF baking and didn’t realize it could be so delicious! These cookies are just amazing and identical to my favorite wheat-based ones. Thank you thank you!!

  7. Kerry says

    I had a difficult task ahead of me: Gluten free Bridal Shower in the form of an afternoon tea. I have never baked gluten free before and these cookies were not only fantastic but had an incredible light taste and texture. I would make them again in a heart beat for anyone :)

    • admin says

      Ana: Yes, you can halve the recipe. And cream of tartar is a bi-product of the wine making process. And in this recipe, it is used to amplify the action of the baking soda–for all intents and purposes, mixing it with baking soda makes baking powder.

  8. Ginger says

    I love reading your recipes and all the comments. I made the cinnamon rolls last night to take to my boyfriend who lives in CA. I think he will love them. He requested pineapple danish. Any ideas on how to fulfill his request. Thank you for all the amazing recipes. :)

    • admin says

      Ginger: Let me do some research. I was going to do danish awhile ago, but then my book ate my life :). Am just now getting back on track!

  9. barbara says

    Thought I would update on my finished products….eight dozen amazing cookies. No kidding, eight dozen! I used my small scoop and the cookies were two inches in diameter baked. When I realized how prolific this batter was I added cinnamon to the sugar topping for the two cookie sheets for more of a snickerdoodle flavor.
    Next time I think I would half the batch. Yes, they are very fragile and wonderfully yummy. Oh, and I ended up using a scant teaspoon of vanilla and a drop of almond extract.

  10. barbara says

    Well, I am in the middle of trying to make these cookies and I don’t see how much vanilla to add… I missing it? I am going to make a guess and blaze on ahead here but I would like to know the correct amount.

  11. Stephanie says

    Well, now I have to try these! They look so nice. Do you think these could be rolled, and cut into shapes? The dough looks pretty firm in your pics.

    I absolutely love PW’s cookbook! It is one of my all-time favorites, and I have converted many of the recipes to GF, with no failures yet. I use her pie crust recipe all the time. I love the convenience of being able to pull a crust from the freezer, and then like magic…. we have PIE!

    • admin says

      Stephanie: They are really delicate. You could try–I can’t guarantee anything. The dough is OK to work with, but the resulting cookies wouldn’t take tiny shapes very well. But I always say try it and see!! And yes, I love her cookbook. So very yummy! I’ve also adapted her French Breakfast Muffins and her Chocolate Sheet Cake. So yummy!


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