Gluten-free author and expert, Jeanne Sauvage, just released a new cookbook titled, Gluten-Free Baking for the Holidays: 60 Recipes for Traditional Festive Treats (October 2012, Chronicle Books) ,” where she shares fabulous recipes the whole family can enjoy during this time of year including the Cutout Cookies recipe as pictured above.
Her passion for gluten-free baking shines in her cookbook. Parents and their kids will love making and baking her delectable treats to celebrate throughout the holiday season.

Today Jeanne shares a few baking tips, recipe suggestions, and her holiday cutout cookie recipe.

Kids will love expressing their creative side while painting cookies and parents will appreciate adding a fantastic gluten-free classic cookie recipe to their repertoire.

Q.  People love your home baked goods which happen to also be gluten-free.  Do you attribute this to your unique gluten-free flour ratio you developed for the recipes in your book?  

A.  Yes, I think a lot of the success of my recipes comes from the flour mix–I designed it to have the same characteristics of wheat all-purpose flour.


Q.  What is the most common mistake home baking enthusiasts make when baking gluten-free?

A.  The number one mistake is not following the recipe the first time.  I tell people to follow the recipe and see how it works before they start tweaking it.


Q.  What single piece of advice would you have for a beginning baker who has never baked gluten-free before?

A. Just do it.  Don’t be intmidated.  The worst that can happen is that is doesn’t work.   That’s OK–you compost that and start again.  You will get the hang of it by practicing.


Q.  Can you suggest a few gluten-free sweet treat recipes a child could happily share for a class party from your blog or book?

A. One of my most favorite (and requested) recipes for kids to share at class parties is my gluten-free Crazy Cake.  This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, corn-free, and egg-free.  And it is delicious!  Kids always ask for more.  It’s so nice to share because it doesn’t have any of the top 8 allergens.  And, I include directions on how to turn the cake into cupcakes for a birthday party.  Chocolate chip cookies are always a hit.  I have several different recipes for them on my blog (one of these is also in my book).  They are easy to make and kids older than about 8 can make them by themselves with adult supervision.  The one that I like to make for gatherings is again, fairly allergy-free.  I call them “Old Fashioned Chocolate Chip Cookies” because they remind me of the cookies my grandmother made for us.  They are light and airy.  They are gluten-free, egg-free, nut free, corn-free, soy-free, and can easily be made dairy-free.  Again, don’t let the lack of ingredients fool you–this is one of my most requested recipes by family and friends!  Of course, for holiday parties, Cut Out Cookies can’t be beat.  The recipe I have in my book is terrific and is so easy for kids to make and have fun with (along with their adults!).  The special thing about these cookies is that the decoration icing is painted on instead of piped on.  I originally created this when my daughter was a toddler and she had problems piping on the frosting.  I made the icing more liquid, colored it with food coloring, gave her a set of brushes, and she (and I) happily spent many afternoons painting masterpieces on our cookies.  And they are delicious!

Thank you Jeanne!

Quick notes

Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour
Makes 4½ cups / 660 g

1¼ cups/170 g brown rice flour
1¼ cups/205 g white rice flour
1 cup/165 g sweet rice flour
1 cup/120 g tapioca flour
scant 2 tsp xanthan gum

In a large bowl, whisk together the brown and white rice flours, sweet rice flour, tapioca flour, and xanthan gum thoroughly. Transfer the mix to an airtight container. Store in a cool, dark place for up to 6 weeks or in the refrigerator for up to 4 months.

Jeanne’s website: The Art of Gluten-Free Baking

Photo credit: Clare Barboza

Recipe: Gluten-Free Baking for the Holidays: Cutout Cookies

  • Prep Time: 40 min(s)
  • Cook Time: 10 min(s)
  • Servings: 30 cookies

Cutout cookies are a must for the holiday season. The wonderful thing about this dough is that it can be cut into any shape or size that a particular holiday requires. I make the dough year-round and use cookie cutters that suit the occasion. The cookies are fun to decorate. When my daughter was a toddler, we painted the icing on the cookies instead of piping it. Painting the cookies was so much easier. Now that she is older, it is a wonderful way for both of us to get creative when decorating the cookies. Each cookie can be a masterpiece.


  • 2 cups / 280 g Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour (please see separate recipe)
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup / 115 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup / 200 g granulated sugar
  • 1 extra-large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp grated lemon or orange zest (optional)
  • Tapioca flour for dusting
  • Colored sugar for decorating (optional)
  • Icing Ingredients:
  • 2 cups / 225 g confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 4 to 6 Tbsp heavy cream, or more if needed
  • Food coloring in various colors (optional)


  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  2. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the granulated sugar and beat for 1 minute. Add the egg and beat for 1 minute. Add the vanilla and beat to combine. Add the lemon zest (if using). Add the flour mixture and beat until combined.
  3. Divide the dough in half, shape each half into a disk, and wrap tightly in plastic wrap.
  4. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes, or for up to 3 days.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C/gas mark 5. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  6. Remove one dough disk from the refrigerator. If the dough is rock hard, let it warm up a bit. Place the dough between two pieces of waxed paper and roll to ⅛ in/3 mm thick.
  7. Using cookie cutters dipped in tapioca flour, cut out as many shapes as possible. Using a spatula, place the cutouts on the prepared sheets, spacing them at least 1 in/2.5 cm apart. Roll out the dough scraps and repeat the process until all the dough is used or the cookie sheets are full. The dough is best cut when it is firm, so you may have to return it to the refrigerator before cutting more shapes.
  8. Sprinkle the shapes with colored sugar (if desired or leave them plain and decorate with icing after baking). Bake until the edges of the cookies are lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool on the cookie sheets for about 2 minutes, then remove to wire racks to cool completely. Let the sheets cool completely and repeat with the remaining dough.
  9. While the cookies are cooling, make the icing. Place the confectioners’ sugar in a large bowl. Add the vanilla and 4 Tbsp of the cream. Whisk until all the ingredients are combined and smooth. If desired, add more cream to make the icing thinner. If you want to color the icing, divide it among small bowls and tint each bowl of icing with a different food coloring. Using a small paintbrush per color, decorate the cookies. Place the decorated cookies on the wire racks to let the icing set.
  10. Store the cookies in an airtight container, between layers of waxed paper, at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

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4 Responses to “Gluten-free Baking for the Holidays: Cutout Cookies”

  1. disqus_5I359yAyPb

    I typically make regular plain and chocolate sugar cookies decorated with Royal Icing, but have a friend who has requested that I make some GF ones for her. I have perfected my usual recipes for no spreading and no puffing, but since I have never done any GF baking, I am unsure what to expect in regard to how well these will hold their shape upon baking. Any insights you might provide would be most appreciated. Thanks!