Pressed Butter Cookies, Gluten-Free

by Jeanne on December 14, 2010

Pressed cookies are one of my most favorite cookies to make. The recipe is simple, the pressing out of the shapes is fun, and you can do so many things with them. Also, the recipe makes 12 dozen cookies–yes, 12 dozen. Seriously.

This is the recipe I’ve always used when I want to make a zillion cookies that look special. If you never used a cookie press before, it’s an awesome tool. It’s basically a dough “gun” that you use to shoot out precisely measured amounts of dough into shapes. It’s a brilliant concept and one that lets you make terrific looking and tasting cookies with a minimum of muss and fuss.

I got my cookie press at Christmastime over 11 years ago when I was hugely pregnant with Girlfriend (she was born in January). I was nesting like crazy and I wanted to make cookies for the mailman, the garbage man, the recyling guy, etc. So, I got the press and made a zillion cookies in one afternoon. If you’ve ever been pregnant, you know that is quite a feat for someone at the end of pregnancy. I was exhausted and my ankles were swollen, but I was extremely proud of myself. And the cookies were (and always are) a hit!

My cookie press, which is like this one, came with 20 cookie disks

 and also came with a set of decorating tips.  Every year I make a batch of pressed butter cookies and every year I am reminded of which disks are my favorites.  The cookies this recipe makes are lighter than air and extremely fragile, so it turns out that certain shapes work better than others.  I’ve found that the shapes where all the parts stick together are best for this recipe.  These are some of my favorite shapes:

Isn’t it fascinating how the disk holes translate into the different shapes? It’s always a fun surprise!  Girlfriend thinks the second one from the bottom looks like a pill bug.  Yum.  Experiment and see what shapes you like.  It takes a tiny bit of practice to get the hang of pressing out the cookies–but once you learn, it goes fast.  I usually set up an assembly-line type of thing where I have 3 cookie sheets in different stages of the process.  You don’t need to grease or line your cookie sheets.  When the process is in action, I have 1 sheet in the oven, 1 sheet cooling and waiting to be moved the the wire cooling rack, and 1 sheet of pressed dough ready to go into the oven when the baked ones come out.  Repeat.  You need to brush off the crumbs after each baking and be sure not to press dough onto hot sheets–cool each down before you press out a new batch.  I find that 2 dozen cookies fits on each sheet, so I bake 6 batches of 24.

I’ve adapted many recipes over the years, but the recipe I really like is from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book by Beatrice Ojakangas.  I love this book!  It’s got all sorts of recipes that are from my childhood.  I’m not Scandinavian myself, but the Scandinavian culture has such a rich baking tradition.  And baking for holidays is a niche in which they really excel!  I’ve added an additional part to the recipe–melted semi-sweet chocolate to make chocolate-bottomed and chocolate sandwich cookies.

Pressed Butter Cookies, Gluten-Free (edited 12/14/10 to add instructions for eggs)
-adapted from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book, by Beatrice Ojakangas
-makes about 12 dozen cookies (yes, 12 dozen)

Special Equipment Needed
-a stand mixer is quite helpful, but a hand mixer will do in a pinch
-cookie press

Note:this recipe uses my gf flour mix, Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix (mix together and store in a cool, dark place):
1 1/4 C (170g) brown rice flour
1 1/4 C (205g) white rice flour
1 C (120g) tapioca flour
1 C (165g) sweet rice flour (also known as Mochiko or glutinous rice flour)
2 scant tsp. xanthan gum

Ingredients
1 1/2 C butter (3 sticks; 12 oz; 340g) unsalted butter (or butter substitute), softened
3/4 C (150g) granulated sugar
3 large or extra large egg yolks (save your whites and make Meringue Cookies)
3 C (420g) Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix
1 tsp vanilla extract
1C (6oz; 170g) semi sweet chocolate chips (optional–you will use these to make sandwich cookies)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter until fluffy. Add the sugar and beat more until fluffy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beat after each addition.  Add vanilla extract and beat until combined. Add flour and beat until combined.

Now comes the fun part.  Prepare your cookie press.  Lift the dough press part until it’s all the way at the top.  The fill the tube with the dough (your press should come with directions on how to do that).  Fit the disk of your choice into the bottom part and screw on tightly.  Now press the gun part (it will click each time you press the handle) until you see dough just pressing against the disk at the bottom.

Now you’re ready to press out dough.  Place the end of the press firmly and evenly against the ungreased cookie sheet and press once on the gun.

Lift your cookie press.  If the dough was adequately pressed against the disk, you should have a nice cookie shape on the sheet.  If no dough stuck or if the shape is wonky, just pick it up with your hand and throw it back into the bowl of dough (I told you–easy).  Press out enough cookies to cover a cookie sheet, leaving about 2″ in between each cookie to allow for spread:

Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes, or until they are just barely brown.  Remove from oven and let cool before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.  They are extremely delicate–be careful!  If the dough starts seeming too squishy to make defined shapes, stick it in the refrigerator for a few mintues to firm up a tiny bit.

Once the cookies are completely cool you can play with them.  I like to brush melted chocolate on the bottoms of some and put melted chocolate in between some to make sandwich cookies.  If you want to do this, melt the semi-sweet chocolate chips over extremely low heat until just barely melted.  Remove from heat and use a whisk to mix and make smooth.

Line a cookie sheet with wax paper.  With a butter knife, spread a bit of melted chocolate on the bottoms of some of your cookies and press, chocolate side down, onto the wax paper.  Also, spread a bit of melted chocolate on the bottom of one shape and then press the bottom of another cookie of the same shape onto the chocolate for sandwich cookies.  Or drizzle chocolate on top of shapes.  Be creative!

Store in an airtight container.

Enjoy!
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{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

Liz December 18, 2014 at 1:09 pm

Have you tried making these truly gluten free? Since these have non-wheat grains (all of which have gluten) I cannot use the recipe as it sits but perhaps you’ve tried making them with almond/coconut or tapioca flour?

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Jeanne December 18, 2014 at 1:16 pm

Liz: I’m not sure what you’re talking about. All of the flours are 100% gluten-free. And my mix does have tapioca flour in it in addition to rice.

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CG October 28, 2014 at 8:42 am

I noticed that someone above mentioned that they usually roll out their butter cookies and make cutouts. Will this recipe work for that? My grandmother’s tradition is to top these cookies with 7-minute frosting and colorful sugar sprinkles. Always my favorite, but tradition has lapsed since my wife’s celiac diagnosis.

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Jeanne November 11, 2014 at 1:14 pm

CG: Sure, go ahead and roll them out. The dough is sticky and soft, but I think it should work. :)

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Sheree October 21, 2014 at 11:59 am

I have been baking for 40 plus years. I am trying to satisfy everyone. So many of us today have a Gluten problem. I pray this will make them all happy! God Bless and thanks for the recipe.

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Melanie Reardon December 8, 2013 at 1:11 pm

Do you have any suggestions for making these without a press? My daughter is dying for some Spritz cookies, but I’m afraid to use my old non-Gluten free cookie press. It has a metal tube, but everything else is plastic. And I don’t really want to go buy a new one. (I’d rather ask for one for Christmas : ) )

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Jeanne December 10, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Melanie: I think it’s fine to use your old cookie press–I have found that they are easy to clean. But, if you don’t want to, you can just use this as a drop cookie recipe. Roll scant tablespoon bits into balls and then press down so they are disks. Then bake as directed. :)

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Jessi (GF foodie) December 23, 2012 at 5:01 pm

Back again this year! This recipe is soooooo wonderful it has made it into rotation as everyone’s favorite cookie and we now make it every year. Just made a massive batch to send to work with my fiancee tomorrow!!! Thanks ever SO much for this one!!

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Jeanne December 24, 2012 at 6:50 pm

Jessi: Yay! I’m so glad! Merry Christmas!!

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Sherry November 17, 2012 at 9:34 am

I bought a cookie press last year and made these. They tasted amazing, beyond delicious! But… they stuck to my cookie press (plastic). I tried chilling the dough, but it went straight from to cold and stiff to press back to sticking to the cookie press. I even tried opening the window to have a cool rather than warm kitchen. I want to try again this year. Should I add more flour mix, or maybe some egg white? Help!

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Jeanne November 17, 2012 at 4:24 pm

Sherry: When you say that they stuck to your press, what part of the press did it get stuck to? The cynlinder or the ring thingy on the end? My press has a cylinder that is metal. The dough gets pushed through it and comes out at the end through the design disc (which is also metal). At the end of each batch in the cylinder, a bunch gets stuck at the end part, on the ring and on the design disc. I just take the disc out, wipe up the ring thingy that hold it in, put in a new disc, and go forward. If your dough is sticking to the inside of the cylinder, I think it’s too warm. I put my bowl of dough in the fridge and pull out clumps that I shape into a vague log shape to put in the cylinder. But realize that if the dough is too cold, it won’t stick to the cookie sheet. Let me know more about what’s happening for you.

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Simone Kalbusch November 2, 2012 at 6:28 am

Simply delicious!
I used my own flour mixture, easier to find here in Brazil, which works for most of my recipes.
But I did add about 1 spoon of baking powder, I thought this was an error in the recipe. Next time I wont, I’ll follow the exact recipe. I think this is the reason why mine were a little to easy to break.
But they taste amazing!
I also substituted the butter for coconut grease, because I’m lactose intolerant. This usually works fine for me, though.
Thank you very much!

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admin November 4, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Simone: Yay! Please note that these cookies traditionally don’t need a leavener like baking powder or baking soda. They are very delicate–that’s one of their characteristics. That said, you could add a whole egg in the place of one of the egg yolks–that would add more binding and make them a bit less delicate. I have a reformulated version of these in my book–that uses a whole egg to help them be less delicate. :). Happy baking!

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Kimberly July 18, 2012 at 7:31 am

Do you have a peanutbutter cookie recipe?

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Marissa December 12, 2011 at 3:39 pm

I can’t find sweet rice flour (except for online but need to make cookies for a holiday party in two days!!), what would you recommend replacing it with? In other recipes I’ve just used extra white rice flour in it’s place…

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admin December 13, 2011 at 2:18 pm

Marissa: I would recommend using potato flour (not starch) in the place of the sweet rice flour. Happy baking!

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Christina December 9, 2011 at 12:22 am

Awesome! I am so excited to find a gf press cookie recipe. I have two boys on the autism spectrum, so the whole family (5 of us) has been GFCF for about 3 1/2 years now. I’ve so wanted to make my favorite Christmas cookies for them — Mexican Swizzle Sticks — but I was really nervous about experimenting. I plan to try this recipe tomorrow in a bake session with my wonderful mom. YAYY!!! :)

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admin December 9, 2011 at 7:28 am

Christina: Yay! I’m so glad!

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Jessi (GF foodie) November 26, 2011 at 5:22 am

Am back again checking out the website!!! I was wondering, considering that in another post you said you welcome requests, have you found/adapted a recipe for GF gingerbread? I am having the hardest time of LIFE finding/creating a gingerbread recipe (biggest issues are too crumbly/delicate or too hard!) and my fiancee and I want to make some men & a house for our massive Christmas get together. If you could help I would be eternally grateful! <3

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admin November 27, 2011 at 1:26 pm

Jessi: Greetings! Eek–I have a gf gingerbread recipe in my book–but I can’t share it yet! It comes out next fall (2012). My recommendation would be to find a recipe that looks good to you and then adapt it to gluten-free. If you want, use my flour mix (I have found that it works really well with regular recipes). Then just follow the directions. What I found for my book was that if you are making a gingerbread house, you need to make the pieces thick so they are strong enough to hold up the structure. In my book I recommend that you roll out the dough to 1/4 inch. The gingerbread should puff a bit when baking and then you will have thick enough walls to hold up. Also, you can use the same recipe for cookies–just roll them out to be about 1/8 inch. Happy baking!

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Bev December 27, 2010 at 12:11 am

I bought one of these cookie presses a wee while ago and not long after, I was diagnosed with coeliac disease. I havent had a chance to use it yet because I couldn’t find a good gluten free cookie dough recipe. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe.

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admin December 29, 2010 at 2:02 pm

Bev: Yay! Let me know how it goes!

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Shirley @ gfe December 22, 2010 at 7:22 am

Gorgeous, Jeanne! I always make butter cut-out cookies vs sugar ones, so I know I would love, love, love these. Too cute on the pill bug … I agree, and I’d eat one of those in a heartbeat. ;-)

Merry Christmas and keep the healing going! Hugs,
Shirley

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admin December 22, 2010 at 9:02 am

Shirley: Yay!

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Iris December 21, 2010 at 10:03 am

Love this post! I added the recipe to my top ten list for the week.

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admin December 21, 2010 at 10:09 am

Iris: Awesome! Thanks!

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Cygnia December 20, 2010 at 9:09 am

Personally, I use a new butter substitute that just came out – called “Melt” – which is organic, high in Omega 3s, rich in medium chain fatty acids (the good fats) – and has the creamiest, richest flavor of all the spreads out there. It bakes up quite well too – I have made thin, flaky pie crust using Melt instead of butter with great success. It makes a softer dough (so chill in the freezer before rolling), but otherwise bakes up very well.

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admin December 20, 2010 at 10:05 am

Sounds good! I will check it out!

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Kath December 19, 2010 at 3:57 pm

Thanks so much for this recipe! We had a hilarious kind of almost failure ( my fault-I am tired) that was saved at the last minute but it all worked out and we have beautifully pressed cookies and my 17 yr old daughter is so pleased that we are going to keep our accidental variation:
accidently add 1 c extra of flour (“my” flour is 2 c white rice flour, 1 c cornstarch, 1 c of barely beany flour mix
notice dough is too dry and add 1 extra t of vanila, about 1/3 c of maple syrup and leftover 3 egg whites

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admin December 19, 2010 at 8:06 pm

Kath: Wow, way to “improvise”! I love it! And I’m so glad that it worked out so well!

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How To Bake A Crocodile December 16, 2010 at 10:40 pm

These are a family favorite- we call them green trees as we ONLY make the tree shape and color them green. Why I don’t know but every family has a “thing” I guess. We also sub almond instead of vanilla. Soooo good!

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admin December 17, 2010 at 9:03 am

I love that! And yes, almond extract is terrific, too. Or a mix of vanilla and almond!

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Robin December 16, 2010 at 12:15 pm

Thank you for this recipe with photos! I’ve baked gluten free for 11 years now and have yet to try my hand at pressed cookies. I found my cookie press (looks exactly like yours with frosting tips) at a garage sale this summer for one dollar! I can’t wait to try your recipe! Thanks again for posting!

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admin December 16, 2010 at 3:09 pm

Robyn: Awesome! And you totally scored at that garage sale–wow.

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InTolerantChef December 15, 2010 at 4:07 am

I make these for cafes, but have never got around to making them gluten free. Thanks for reminding me!

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admin December 15, 2010 at 9:31 am

You’re welcome!

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Sarah December 14, 2010 at 8:33 pm

oh, perfect, thank you! So glad to have a tried and true recipe to start with! I just ordered a press. My kids will be so thrilled by these!

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admin December 15, 2010 at 9:32 am

Sarah: They are so fun to make with kids! Enjoy! Don’t forget though–they are really lighter than air and fragile. Like eating clouds or something…

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Jeanine December 14, 2010 at 6:36 pm

Oh wow, those are amazing! They look like something you could buy in a store. I don’t have a cookie press…yet. But, now I want one! :)

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admin December 15, 2010 at 9:32 am

Jeanine: That’s the beauty of them–they look so professional and yet are so dang easy to make. True winners all around.

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Brittany December 14, 2010 at 3:42 pm

Lovely Cookies! Your Post always make me smile! :)

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admin December 14, 2010 at 3:54 pm

Brittany: Aw, thanks! I’m so glad!

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