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24 Gluten-Free Holiday Cookies to Bake Before Christmas Day (& How to Host a Pandemic-Friendly Cookie Exchange!)

There’s something you need to take on after finishing those Thanksgiving leftovers...

Christmas cookies!

For many, a huge part of the “the most wonderful time of the year” are magical holiday cookies. 

However, if you’re gluten-free, it’s a little more difficult to participate in the cookie festivities without worrying for your stomach’s life.

But wait!

It doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the season’s sweetness. 

Stay tuned for everything you need to know on gluten-free Christmas cookies.

Bake away! 

Table of Contents:

Christmas List Ingredients for Gluten-Free Cookies (Take Note!)

Surprise!

Gluten-free baking requires a slightly different set of ingredients.

Here’s what you need:

Gluten-Free Flour

It’s not real baking without flour.

Now, there are many different types of gluten-free flour in the cookie world:

  • Almond flour
  • Cashew flour
  • Oat flour
  • Coconut flour
  • Buckwheat flour
  • Rice flour
  • Tapioca flour
  • Millet flour
  • Potato flour

But don’t feel pressure to buy all of these at once. 

Depending on the recipe, you should only need one or two at a time. 

Or, you can try making your own homemade gluten-free flour blend, like this one

If you’re purchasing a pre-made gluten-free flour blend, like Bob’s Red Mill or King Arthur, check that it has some sort of binding agent like xanthan gum, guar gum, or flax to hold elasticity during baking. 

These gums are stabilizers and thickeners that help keep gluten-free goods together after baking. 

(The two brands mentioned above include binding agents– I gotcha covered!)

Gluten-Free Holiday Candies

Lots of holiday recipes use candies like chocolate and candy canes. 

But what’s gluten-free?

Gluten-Free Holiday Candies:
  • Candy canes
  • Milk chocolate hershey’s kisses
  • Peppermint hershey’s kisses
  • Hershey’s Semi Sweet Baking Bar
  • Hershey’s Unsweetened Baking Bar
  • Hershey’s Premier White Creme Chips
  • Hershey’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate Baking Chips
  • York Peppermint Patties – All Except York Pieces Candy, Sugar Free Peppermint Patties, York Minis, and York Shapes (5 oz.)
  • M&MS (except pretzel flavor)

Extra Cookie Ingredients/Tools

While we’re here, let’s list other common cookie ingredients and tools you might need need:

  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Butter
  • Sweetener: sugar, brown sugar, coconut sugar, maple syrup, etc. 
  • Eggs
  • Cookie cutters
  • Piping bags
  • Parchment paper

A 2020 Holiday Cookie Exchange Made Easy (Pandemic Style)

Every cookie-lovers favorite tradition:

A cookie swap party!

There’s nothing like filling up a box of delicious treats you can munch on for the rest of the season. 

But because of social distancing, things will probably look a little different this year. 

Thankfully, you can still host a cookie-off!

Just gather up a group of fellow cookie-enthusiasts and exchange home addresses. Set a general date of when everyone’s cookies should arrive at their homes.

Then, decide on your gluten-free Christmas cookie recipes and get baking!

Once you mail your cookie boxes to each participant, just sit back, sip your Christmas cocktail, and let your cookies come to you!

Here’s how to ship cookies in the mail

5 Tips to Fire Up Your Gluten-Free Christmas Cookie Magic

Gluten-free baking might feel like rocket science at first. 

After all, baking is a science!

And since you’re using a different combination of ingredients, the rules are a little unconventional. 

Not to worry though!

Use these tips to guide you to those flawlessly delicious gluten-free cookies. 

1. Mix It, Beat It, Work It

Here’s the thing:

Standard cookie dough develops way too much gluten if it’s overmixed. 

But hah!

You can’t overmix gluten-free dough if there’s no gluten to begin with!

In fact, you’re much better off mixing it for a few minutes (as opposed to until just combined) to ensure all of the ingredients are incorporated properly.

An undermixed dough can lead to grittiness.

And who wants that?

The longer you blend, the better.

2. Chill Out

This goes for most normal cookie recipes anyway, but…

gluten-free cookies have special reason for chilling:

You need to give the dough time to rest to let the flour absorb the liquid and create a solid structure. 

Refrigerating the dough also helps the fats solidify so the cookies can hold their shape better. 

Chill for at least 30 minutes! 

3. Keep It Together & Scoop Small

To stop the cookies from spreading out too far on the baking sheet, scoop the dough a little smaller than usual.

And never place your cookie dough balls onto a hot baking sheet!

Let it cool before you begin again. 

If aesthetics are uber important, you might want to take the extra time to shape the dough into perfect balls.

Gluten-free cookies can turn out a little uneven sometimes! 

4. Reduce the Oven Temp

It’s way better to underbake than overbake.

And gluten-free cookies can be tricky if you have a fickle oven.

Reduce the oven temperature by around 25-50 degrees for a longer, slower bake to avoid burning the edges.

The longer wait is worth it!

(P.S. be prepared to watch your cookies like a hawk. Some bake faster than others!)  

5. One Batch At a Time

While it’s tempting to throw in multiple sheets at once, it’s important to bake one batch at a time so they can sit perfectly in the center of your oven.

Remember how gluten-free cookies can be uneven sometimes?

This will help them turn into those gorgeously round bites of goodness.

Also, use parchment paper every time so they don’t stick to the pan!  

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies from Shelly of Cookies and Cups

Give the Gift of Gluten-Free: 24 Miracle Holiday Cookies

Here comes Santa, except he’s got more than just gifts…

He has 24 scrumptious gluten-free holiday cookie recipes to give!

You’ll never miss regular cookies ever again– 

Promise! 

1. Gluten-Free Snickerdoodle Cookies

Nothing beats a buttery-soft, cinnamony snickerdoodle around Christmas time. 

Typically, snickerdoodles are just a sugar cookie rolled in cinnamon sugar. 

But this recipe?

It’s special.

Not only is it gluten-free; 

but it also uses maple sugar, which offers a yummy crunch and a subtle hint of syrup. 

2. Triple Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

Chocolate! White chocolate! Peppermint!

Sold yet?

Just wait.

Bite into these chocolate cookies and you get loads of extra chocolate chunk surprises– 

Not to mention they’re dunked in sweet white chocolate then generously coated in crushed candy canes.

Hold my hot chocolate; I’m making these STAT.  

3. Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

What do you get with 3 ingredients and enough peanut butter to feed 20 reindeers?

Flourless peanut butter cookies!

This recipe is for the gluten-free peanut butter fanatics out there who are dying for the softest cookie recipe on the planet. 

Just combine your nut butter, sugar, eggs, baking soda and BAM:

It’s a peanut butter party in your mouth. 

4. Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

You can’t talk cookies without mentioning the ultimate cookie champion:

Chocolate chip.

Even gluten-free chocolate chip cookies need to live up to the hype, and thankfully, this recipe from GFF Magazine totally delivers.

They’re so chewy, sans the refined sugar. 

It’s a cookie miracle!

5. Perfect Grain-Free Gingersnap Cookies

You’re in for a healthy holiday treat!

These grain-free gingersnap cookies are full of protein, fiber, and iron.

Say what???

The chickpea flour elevates the nutrition factor by 100%, while the cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and cane sugar still bring the classic cookie taste.

It doesn’t get any better than that.  

6. Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies

You’re scrolling through Pinterest and find the PERFECT sugar cookie recipe.

You excitedly click the link, only to reach a horrible disappointment disconnection:

They’re not gluten-free.

*horror scream*

Suddenly, these gluten-free sugar cookies throw on their superhero cookie cape and swoop in to save your sanity.

You breathe a sigh of relief, knowing your kiddos will still get to enjoy that wonderful cookie-decorating tradition.

P.S. These cookies are seriously super!   

7. Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies

If only there was a cookie as bright and colorful as Christmas…

Oh wait.

There is!

Red velvet crinkle cookies are so gorgeously red with a side of delicious.

Their cakey texture with notes of cocoa and vanilla are exactly what you need on a holiday evening.

Try them and see!  

8. Gluten-Free Snowball Cookies

Cookies that look like snowballs and taste like heaven?

Sign me up!

If you love shortbread, you won’t be able to get your hands off these. 

They’re so buttery but also have a rich pecan flavor!

9. Gluten-Free Soft Molasses Cookies

Wait.

Aren’t ginger and molasses cookies the same thing?

Nope!

Ginger cookies are way more spicy, while molasses cookies are all about that deep, dark, sweetness.

And this recipe isn’t kidding when it comes to softness.

Melt-in-your-mouth. 

Gluten-Free Thumbprint Cookies from Danielle Walkers of Against All Grain

10. Gluten-Free Thumbprint Cookies 

Thumbprint cookies are arguably the most aesthetically-pleasing. 

You can’t beat that colorful jam filling–

Perfect for any cookie exchange!

To top it off, these thumbprint cookies are just as tasty as they are good-looking.

You won’t believe it’s gluten-free!

11. Best Gluten-Free Lemon Cookies

Lemon? 

For Christmas?

Hear me out.

A citrusy Christmas is coming around thanks to spiced orange flavors, so why not take it up a notch with a wonderful lemon cookie?

These gluten-free cookies can be eaten on their own or coated in a simple lemon glaze.

Don’t skimp on the zest! 

It’s a crucial ingredient to pack that lemony punch.  

12. Peppermint Macaroons

Oops!

Christmas is days away, and you have absolutely no cookies to give to Santa. 

Enter:

Peppermint macaroons.

I bet you already have all of these ingredients in your pantry, too.

And don’t be fooled by the word “macaroons.” 

They’re easy peasy. 

13. Cream Cheese Cookies With Coconut and Chocolate

If there’s a cookie that perfectly embodies sinfully delish... 

it’s these cream cheese cookies.

You would never guess they’re gluten-free!

The cream cheese brings a bold chewiness and depth you just can’t get anywhere else, while the coconut and chocolate offer that classic almond joy combo. 

My taste buds are a ring-ting-tingle-ing-too! 

14. Gluten-Free Whipped Shortbread Cookies

Heads up!

You’ll definitely want to include these gluten-free shortbread cookies in your cookie exchange box. 

The topping options are endless, and the candied cherries are too cute! 

Hint:

Use a stand mixer to reach that light texture. It’s better at incorporating air into the batter! 

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cookies from Amy of Amy in the Kitchen

15. Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cookies

You didn’t think I’d leave out pumpkin, did you?

No way! 

Canned pumpkin cookies are the greatest, and this recipe includes a secret sauce:

Cream cheese frosting!

Top them with extra pumpkin pie spice to add some pizazz!  

16. Fudge No-Bake Cookies

Healthy chocolate treat alert! 

These fudge no-bake cookies are accidentally gluten-free

(which makes them all the better in my book).

Just grab some honey, cocoa powder, coconut oil, peanut butter, sunflower seeds, and peanuts.

Mix, set, and eat!  

17. White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

Now we’re talking Christmas!

White chocolate and cranberry are two of those undeniably good holiday flavors.

And it’s no secret that a soft, chewy, and gluten-free cookie recipe is incredibly hard to come up with. 

But these cookies bring the heat!  

18. Simple M&M Cookies

Sometimes, you just need an M&M cookie to cater to your inner little kid. 

And these M&M cookies are where it’s at! 

Feel free to prepare the dough ahead of time and store in the fridge for up to 3 days (without the M&MS).

Bake when you’re ready! 

19. Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

Recently, peanut butter kiss cookies have become a Christmas staple–

For good reason!

Peanut butter and chocolate mixtures are pure masterpieces, and these gluten-free cookies are no exception. 

Warning:

Highly addictive!

20. Chocolate Peppermint Kisses Cookies

Kiss cookies strike again with another deadly combo:

Peppermint and chocolate!

I’m a massive peppermint fanatic, so when I realized candy cane hershey’s kisses were gluten-free, I immediately jumped on this recipe. 

Happy to report:

They’re phenomenal.

21. Gluten-Free Almond Joy Cookies

I can’t believe I’m saying this but…

These cookies might be better than almond joys themselves.

Yep, they’re finger-licking-good! 

As a bonus, the only gluten-free flour you need is almond! 

22. Crinkled Gluten-Free Eggnog Cookies

The only way to convince someone into loving eggnog:

Make these eggnog crinkle cookies! 

All you need is one bite, and BOOM:

You’re hooked for life. 

Plus, you can totally add in a teaspoon of cinnamon for extra spice. 

23. Spiced Oatmeal Cookies

I won’t lie. 

Regular oatmeal cookies are kind of...boring. 

And don’t even get me started on raisins.

But there’s nothing boring about these gluten-free spiced oatmeal cookies.

They’ve got all of the fun, festive flavor and will leave everyone begging for the recipe. 

24. Mexican Hot Cocoa Cookies

Hot cocoa in a cookie with a twist!

Yes, these cookies are full of sweet chocolate, but they also carry some mystery ingredients:

Cinnamon and cayenne pepper.

The result?

Better than you could’ve ever imagined. 

Santa Goes Gluten-Free: Your Cookies Rock Christmas Away!

Gluten-free cookies often get a bad wrap for being gritty.

But with the above recipes, you don’t have to worry about that.

Your gluten-free cookies will be soft, chewy, and nothing but a delicious gift. 

Merry Christmas!

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