I’ve partnered with Pamela’s Products for this holiday cookie recipe. Visit Pamela’s Facebook page every Friday through the next four weeks to enter the Festive Favorites Gluten-Free Sweepstakes for a chance to win a weekly sweeps and win a holiday baking essentials kit.
Friends, meet your new favorite holiday cookie – Egg Nog Spiced Gluten-Free Slice and Bake Cookies. It’s that time of year again when we fill our cupboards and fridges with baking essentials. For me that always includes several bags of Pamela’s All-Purpose Gluten-Free Artisan Flour Blend. It’s been my go-to GF flour blend since I was first used it to make my Chai Spice Snowball Cookies back in 2013. For just about every holiday cookie recipe I make, I’m able to substitute wheat flour with the Artisan Blend 1:1, which takes the guesswork out of transforming old family recipes into ones free from gluten.
Pamela’s is kicking off their Festive Favorites Gluten-Free Sweepstakes – something you’ll want to keep on your radar over the next four weeks. Every Friday hop over to the Pamela’s Facebook page to enter to win a holiday baking essentials kit. The Pamela of Pamela’s Products also does some great FB live posts that include cooking and baking demos as well as Q&A, so be sure to hit that “Like” button to follow along and check out the ones you may have missed in the archives. (I always learn a lot by watching them.)
Now back to the cookies!
These irresistible gluten-free slice and bake cookies are my newest addition to the long list of favorite holiday cookies. And I don’t use the word “irresistible” lightly– I’m not sure I’ve ever seen my family devour a batch of cookies so quickly! As I was testing out this recipe, I made several versions with minor tweaks here and there. Each time they flew off the cookie sheets as fast I took them out of the oven. I took some to my next door neighbors. I asked my neighbor how they liked the cookies and she said, “I had to leave the house so I wouldn’t eat them all in one sitting!” Ha! I will take that compliment any day! So, yes, they really are that good.
I can’t take complete credit for the recipe. It’s based off of a favorite from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan (affiliate link). Early on in my blogging days I was part of a weekly baking group. We baked our way through that book and many of the recipes became our family’s favorites. Sometimes I put my own twist on them and they never, ever disappoint. My Egg Nog Spiced Gluten-Free Slice and Bake Cookies are based on Dorie’s Butter Sablés recipe. Sablés are akin to shortbread with a buttery, lightly sweet taste and a sandy, melt-in-your-mouth texture. (Sablé translates to “sand.”)
Pamela’s Artisan Blend is comprised of brown rice flour, tapioca starch, white rice flour, potato starch, sorghum flour, arrowroot starch, guar gum, sweet rice flour, and rice bran. This unique blend is perfect for sablés or shortbread because it yields a texture that is always spot-on. Often traditional non-GF recipes will include rice flour, cornstarch, potato starch, or another non-wheat flour to help lighten the cookies. Without having to worry about gluten and/or over-mixed cookie dough, the cookies always stay tender and lightly crisp. (But it’s also great for other types of holiday cookies too!)
The key to really good sablés is to just barely beat the butter and sugar until combined, not light and fluffy like other cookies, and to just barely mix in the flour. I also made the mixing process even easier by using my food processor instead of a stand or electric hand mixer. The dough comes together quickly and only requires a little bit of time in the fridge.
To make these sablés special, I add plenty of freshly grated nutmeg and a good splash of rum to the dough. I found that if I used a whole egg plus a yolk, the cookies held up really well, but still kept their characteristic sandy texture.
(See how the butter and sugar are creamy, but not fluffy? That’s just how you want it to look.)
The dough is a little sticky, and that’s okay. If the dough was too stiff, the cookies would for sure crumble. The rum adds extra liquid that evaporates (hello, alcohol!) as the cookies bake leaving behind the flavor, but not the booziness. I add plenty of freshly grated nutmeg and encourage you to do the same if you can. If not, ground nutmeg works just fine too.
As I tested out several variations, I learned a few tips and tricks for success. Please see the notes below the recipe for specifics. Just know that you can pretty much tailor these to your specific dietary needs. For example, I made several batches using non-dairy vegan butter/margarine and 100% palm shortening. Both work great, but butter is where it’s at – the flavor is superior and the dough is a little easier to work with.
Before baking, the dough is brushed with lightly beaten egg white and sprinkled with raw sugar and more freshly grated nutmeg. Not only does it add a little extra sweetness, they also look pretty and sparkly – perfect for a holiday table or cookie exchange party.
If you’re looking for more holiday cookie inspo, be sure to check out Pamela’s Holiday Cookie Recipe Collection. I have my eye on quite a few I’d like to try this season: Cranberry Coconut Oatmeal Cookies, Stacked Star Christmas Tree Sugar Cookies (so darling!), Soft and Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies (my all-time favorite cookie), Chocolate Snickerdoodles, Rugelach, and Peanut Butter Kiss Holiday Cookies.
And here are some others I love from my baking archives:
Gluten-Free Cranberry Lime Cornmeal Cookies
Gluten-Free Vegan Linzer Cookies
Gluten-Free Gingersnaps with Lemon Cream Filling
Gluten-Free Chewy Spice Cookies
Gluten-Free Peppermint Bark Brownies
- 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- 1 large whole egg
- 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons rum, brandy, or gluten-free bourbon (such as Maker's Mark)
- 1 teaspoon gluten-free pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated or ground nutmeg, divided
- 2¼ cups Pamela's All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
- ¼ cup coarse sugar (such as raw sugar)
- Place butter in the bowl of a food processor (11- cup or larger suggested). Pulse a few times until creamy. Add the sugars and pulse until combined. Next add the egg, egg yolk, rum, vanilla, and ½ teaspoon of the nutmeg. Pulse until completely combined and creamy, but not fluffy. This will help keep create the perfect sandy texture when the cookies are baked.
- To the food processor, add the Pamela's All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour and sea salt. Pulse a few times, then process for 30-60 seconds or until well-combined. The dough will be fairly sticky. If needed, scrape down the sides and pulse again a few times.
- Turn the dough out onto a clean surface lined with plastic wrap, parchment or waxed paper; divide evenly into two portions. Form each half into a log that is about 2" in diameter and about 12" in length. (It doesn't have to be very precise.) Wrap well and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.
- To bake, adjust oven racks to be able to bake two sheets at a time. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Working in batches, unwrap the dough. Mix together coarse or raw sugar and remaining ½ teaspoon nutmeg. Brush with a little of the lightly beaten egg white over the top and sides of the dough. Sprinkle with the nutmeg sugar. Turn dough over and brush remaining side and sprinkle with more of the nutmeg sugar. Gently press the sugar into the dough if it's not sticking very well.
- Using a sharp, thin paring knife, cut the dough into rounds that are about ¼" thick. Arrange on the prepared baking sheets leaving a little room between the cookies. They will not spread very much. Repeat with remaining dough.
- Place one baking sheet on each of the oven racks. Bake for 8 minutes, then switch the pans from top to bottom. This will ensure even baking. Bake for another 7-8 minutes or until cookies are lightly golden and look set in the middle. It's better to err on the side of baking them longer or they won't be crisp.
- Allow cookies to cool completely on baking sheets. Remove and place in an airtight container. Will keep for several weeks.
-100% palm shortening or non-hydrogenated shortening (blend of several oils) can be substituted. The dough will be slightly firmer. If it's not sticking together or feels too dry, add a little bit of cool water until it's soft and pliable. (I don't recommend other brands of shortening, but they will certainly work too.)
-Vegan margarine (like Earth Balance Buttery Sticks, Melt, or others) can be used. Due to the higher water content, the dough may be a little more sticky. If too sticky, add more Pamela's Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour a tablespoon at a time until it reaches the right consistency.
-Other sweeteners can be substituted, but the texture and color of the baked cookies will differ. If using coconut sugar, place it into a blender to finely grind it so it mixes more easily into the butter.
-I'm wary to suggest using chia or flax eggs here because the cookies will come out gummy.
-1/2 teaspoon rum or brandy extract plus enough water to make 2 tablespoons can be substituted for the rum.
-Dough can be prepared and frozen, wrapped well in parchment, then aluminum foil or placed in a freezer-safe container for several months.