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Cinnamon Icebox Shortbread Cookies:Gluten-Free,Egg-Free

Can you believe we are already to Day 10 of our 12 Days of Gluten-Free Christmas Cookies, being hosted by Maggie, of She Let Them Eat Cake? This event is flying by…with some amazing recipes so far (links to the recipes from the entire event are at the end of this post)!  And we still have two more days to go. YAY!

Gluten-Free Christmas Cookies

Okay, quick! Think back to one of your favorite childhood holiday memories. Now make note of that memory. You will be quizzed on it later.

Although I have so many favorites, the first memories that come to my mind must have stood out the most.  I remember…

Holiday caroling with my Mother’s Master Singers group through our San Francisco neighborhoods.

Parties at our house with copious amounts of food.  Laughter. More singing.  And did I mention the food?

Christmas programs with the Sunday School at church.  My Mom directed most of them.

And cookies. More cookies than you can imagine.

I have vivid images of freshly baked cookies cooling on racks on the counter and cluttering every kitchen surface with their delectable temptings as my Mom prepared to package them up for family and friends.

And now…shockingly 😉, I have become more like my mother than I ever thought. My own counters are spilling over with cookies as we get ready to share with our neighbors and friends this holiday season.

What I find to be even more humorous is that my own boys have figured out the art of cookie thievery that my sister and I mastered 30 plus years ago. I can turn my back for no less than a moment and discover this….

Gluten-Free Shortbread Cookies

So today, for Day 10 of our 12 Days of Gluten-Free Christmas Cookies Event, I want to share my gluten-free adaption of one of my Mom’s holiday staples.

Cinnamon & Brown Sugar Icebox Shortbreads.

These were a mainstay in our cookie jar growing up and I think they are also the reason that my husband married me.  He was keen on the fact that this union would also mean an unlimited supply of these cookies. Prior to going gluten-free, he was absolutely addicted to them. He could clear off a plate of these in a blink. And finally, this year, I decided that I would surprise him and try to re-create them to be gluten-free.  I am not sure that he has quite given me the approval that they are as good as my mother’s gluten filled version, but we have all agreed unanimously that they are pretty darn stinkin’ good.

I actually have two methods of baking these, both using the same recipe, and both giving two totally different results.

One involves rolling them into logs, chilling for a few hours, then slicing into the rounds. This method produces the cookies that my husband so adores.

Gluten-Free Egg-Free Cinnamon Shortbread Cookies

The other involves pressing the dough into a cake pan and baking, then turning onto a cutting board and slicing into 12 triangles.  This method produces a very crunchy cookie that is PERFECT for dipping in coffee or hot cocoa.

Gluten-Free Egg-Free Icebox Cookies

Cinnamon & Brown Sugar Icebox Shortbreads

Gluten-Free, Egg-Free, and adaptable to be Dairy-Free and Nut-free


1/2 Cup Superfine Brown Rice Flour (I like Authentic Foods)

1/4 cup Almond Flour, such as Honeyville or Digestive Wellness (For Nut-Free: use Certified Gluten-Free Oat Flour)

1/4 cup Cornstarch

2 Tbsp Arrowroot Starch

1/4 tsp Xanthan Gum

1 tsp Ground Cinnamon

6 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened – Room Temperature (For Dairy-Free: use 3 Tbsp organic Spectrum Shortening with 3 Tbsp Earth Balanced Vegan Buttery Stick, softened)

1/3 cup Brown Sugar, packed

1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract

2 Tbsp Grade B Maple Syrup, preferably organic


1.  In medium bowl, whisk together brown rice flour, almond flour, cornstarch, arrowroot starch, xanthan gum, and cinnamon. Continue whisking until mixture is well combined and feels light.

2.  In food processor, cream butter (or Dairy-Free alternative).  Stop, scrape down sides, then add brown sugar.  Cream sugar and butter together until light and fluffy.  Then add vanilla and maple syrup.

3.  Slowly add in flour mixture to the wet ingredients. Scrape down sides once, then run food processor on medium speed until dough just starts to come together into a loose ball form. Remove from food processor.

4.  Option 1 for Baking: Roll dough into 2 – 3 logs, 2 inches in diameter.  Wrap each log in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours/up to overnight. Once chilled, unwrap dough and slice into 1/4 inch thick rounds. Place on cookie sheet, keeping spaced evenly, and bake in oven preheated to 325 degrees for 7-9 minutes. They will not look done but will firm up nicely as they cool. Let sit for 2 – 3 minutes then transfer to wire rack to cool.  This method should make about 60 cookies.

5.  Chill the rest of the dough while each batch is cooking. You do not want the dough to warm up or they will spread.

6.  Option 2 for Baking: Press dough into a 9 inch round cake pan that has the bottom only lined with parchment paper. Take fork and poke dough at least 20 times evenly all over the surface.  Bake for 22-23 minutes in oven pre-heated to 325.  Let cool for no more than 5 minutes, then carefully and gently turn cookie round onto cutting board (hold hand on cookie as flipping so that it does not thump onto board and break). Slice cookies while still warm into 12 even triangles, like the picture above at the top with the missing wedge.

So… from our family to yours, we wish you all a VERY….

Gluten-Free Holidays

Now, tell me the memory that you thought of at the very beginning of this post….I cannot wait to hear what it is. And while you are busy trying to come up with your answer, feel free to peruse the other cookie recipes from this event so far:

Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free’s Pistachio-Cranberry Biscotti

Adventures of a Gluten-Free Mom’s Dairy-Free Fudge

Gluten-Free Life With Jen’s Chocolate Peppermint Wafer Cookies

The Mommy Bowl’s Peanut Butter Peck Cookies

She Let Them Eat Cake’s Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free Gingerbread

Cook It Allergy Free’s Maple Spice Cookies

Adventures of A Gluten-Free Mom’s Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free Cut Out Sugar Cookies

Simply Sugar & Gluten Free’s Carob Dipped Pecan Shortbread Cookies

Gluten Free Life with Jen’s Chocolate Cherry Oat Coconut Cookies

  1. On December 10, 2010 Maggie said

    Hey Kim – My memory is of Christmas Eve. My sister and I loved going to church (though that was the only time of year we ever wanted to go :). The lights and music were just so captivating. Then we would go home and get our Santa plate ready and open 1 present! It was so much fun. And so hard to stop at 1 present!
    These cookies are right up my alley. I think I will try them using option 2 – they look too nice that way! Thanks so much for doing such a great job on your posts and your cookies. It’s been so much fun! xo

    • On December 11, 2010 Cook It Allergy Free said

      I love your memory, Maggie! Christmas Eve Church service was/is always one of my favorites as well. And we would always get to open one present that night too. Such a tease!! LOL Thank you so much for sharing!

  2. On December 10, 2010 Jeanine said

    Oh, those cookies look good! Now I want want to dip in some coffee! 🙂

    As for the memory…there are a lot. But one that sticks out is our Christmas Eve programs at Church. We’d go through the program, willing the clock on the wall to move a little faster. One year, on our way home, we got stuck in some really bad snow drifts, and had to be pulled out. Another year, my wonderful Dad, who never wanted to go for a drive around town looking at Christmas lights, insisted on it after the Christmas eve program. We always opened all our presents on Christmas even, so these events were pure torture!

    • On December 11, 2010 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Jeanine, that is so cute that your Dad wanted to drive and look at Christmas lights, even if it was torture! LOL And how funny that you were so antsy during the church services. Thanks so much for sharing your memories. 😉

  3. On December 10, 2010 Jen Cafferty said

    Both versions of your cookies are beautiful! And your memories make the recipes look even tastier…thanks for sharing.

    • On December 11, 2010 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Thanks so much, Jen! Both versions of the cookies are good. Not even sure which one is better, but I do like how easy option 2 is. 😉

  4. On December 10, 2010 glutenfreeforgood said

    Los bizcochitos son maravillosos!

    Oh, I miss those really good, light, buttery, Mexican cookies. Bizcochitos. I might have to get Heidi working on this one (she is in the Land of Enchantment, after all)! My mom made those during the holidays and I loved them. Haven’t had them in ages. Can’t even remember the last time.

    “Pretty darn stinkin’ good” is a winner in my book. Love your little guys! Oh my gosh, how cute is that card!

    Great post. How you have time to do all this and take such amazing photos is beyond me, but I sure enjoy looking at all your goodies.


    • On December 11, 2010 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Aww!! Thanks so much, Melissa! Good call on getting Heidi to try a gf version of Bizcochitos. I LOVE those. And I agree, that “pretty dar stinkin’ good” is a total winner when it comes to gluten free baking. Appreciate your kind words about the pics and my card.

  5. On December 10, 2010 Neva said

    One favorite memory is a friends christmas tree decorated with real candles. They were always lite for a short while on Christmas Eve. Very pretty, always on a real tree. The smell was devine.
    What a varity of recipes. Thanks for sharing

    • On December 11, 2010 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Hi Neva! Oh my goodness! A real tree decorated with candles? That sounds awesome!! Were you ever afraid that it would catch the tree on fire? I can only imagine how absolutely amazing that must have smelled. Thank you for sharing such a cool memory here! 😉

  6. On December 10, 2010 Pat @ Elegantly Glut said

    What beautiful Christmas cookies! They sound like a memory waiting to happen in my future 😉 Among my favorite past Christmas events was the Candlelight Service with my family, then coming home to exchange gifts. Cookies and eggnog were essential foodgroups for me in December.

    • On December 11, 2010 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Hi Pat! Candlelight services at Christmas are my absolutely favorite thing. In fact, I love those services so much that when we got married, I insisted on having a candelight service as well! And yes. Cookies and eggnog were/are just associated with Christmas for me. 😉 Thank you for sharing these memories!! 😉

  7. On December 10, 2010 Zoe said

    My favourite Christmas memory (that was the question, right?) is being with my family and opening the presents. 🙂 (When I was younger, that would memory would have also included putting out cookies and a glass of soy milk or eggnog for Santa and some carrots for the reindeer.) Also waking up early on Christmas morning and being the only one awake, waiting for the rest of the house to wake up so that we can open our presents.

    I love the shortbread recipe, Kim! It’s the first one I’ve seen, from what I can recall, that doesn’t use confectioners’ sugar. I go crazy thinking how to replace it, just because it’s SO dry, thus can be a bit harder to sub than regular sugar depending on how it’s used. I’ve only subbed it once (in a shortbread recipe, no less) and results were less than satisfactory. Anyway, must try yours now! I’ve seen so many good, tempting cookie recipes in this 12 Days of Christmas Cookie series.

    • On December 11, 2010 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Zoe, I was always the first one up on Christmas morning as well. I would sit by the heater just staring at my presents and willing the rest of the house to wake up. 😉
      And as far as the recipe, I am not a fan of confectioner’s sugar, so even though brown sugar adds a different element to the shortbread, these are super yummy (at least I think so, lol).

  8. On December 10, 2010 Shelly said

    My favorite Christmas memory from when I was a child, was my dad waking us to open Christmas presents Christmas presents! He was always so excited and each year got earlier and earlier! One year he woke as 4:00 in the morning!!!

    • On December 11, 2010 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Shelly, how funny that your Dad was so so excited about waking you up to open presents. LOL To wake you up at 4 am must have meant that “santa” was bringing something really good that year! 😉 I love that!!

  9. On December 10, 2010 Laurel said

    Ooh shortbread! I’ve been trying to figure out a way to make a healthier version as they are my husband’s absolutely favorite cookie but I always flinch at anything that requires an entire stick of butter or more. My first Christmas memory was when I was probably about 14 or 15 and I joined a neighborhood Christmas Caroling group. It’s also where I found out that whatever key I sing in it’s one only dogs can appreciate. Since then my husband, the musician, has told me that honestly I can sing, just in no key known to man. Thanks hon.
    Beautiful cookies and congrats to your boys for finding a way to trick a pro like yourself. LOL

    • On December 11, 2010 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Hi Laurel,
      While I cannot say that these are entirely healthy, they do not quite require an entire stick of butter, they do not use confectioner’s sugar, and there is some almond flour in them to up the protein factor. And ground cinnamon is supposed to be good for you, right? 😉
      Okay, your singing story just had my mom and i totally laughing! That is so so funny that you have a special key designated all to you! LOL Thank you for sharing your humorous memory. Love it!

  10. On December 10, 2010 nicola @ gfreemom said

    I’m with Maggie. I’m going to make option 2 with the kids over the Christmas break. These look delicious.

    I have so many fond memories of this time of year. Making decorations for the tree with my mom and then hanging them was one of my favorite things. We used to make beautifully intricate foil stars and little baby jesus’s with hazelnut heads inside walnut shells – super cute.

    • On December 11, 2010 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Nicola, I love your memories of making decorations with your mom. My Mom and I used to do the same, and I always just loved that time. Your decorations sound absolutely beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful memories!!

  11. On December 11, 2010 InTolerantChef said

    Waiting with my sister for it to be light enough to open our stockings on the end of the bed. And you must understand where we lived in Queensland Australia it would get light about 4.30 am, so it must have been realllllly early! The shortbread sounds lovely, I would bake it in the cake pan so I could dunk it in my tea.

    • On December 11, 2010 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Hi Intolerant Chef! Wow! 4:30 sounds REALLY early! LOL But what a fun memory. I can just feel your excitement! I have similar memories too!! Although, where we lived it did not get light until 7 or so, so we had to wait a really long time for it to be light enough!! LOL

  12. On December 12, 2010 Saundra said

    Shortbread cookies — I do love them. But I guess I love most cookies, unfortunately. Thanks for sharing your recipe. We always made lots of cookies with my mom while I was growing up. Cutout sugar cookies were always a favorite. We also had a “share your talents” on Christmas Eve after reading the Christmas story. Any talent was open. My dad would play his accordion — which he did only once a year.

    • On December 12, 2010 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Hi Saundra! I so totally love that idea of the “share your talents” on Christmas Eve. I think we are going to totally copy that now since all of the kids and their cousins are getting older and some actually have some talents. Even more I love that your Dad would play his accordion on that one night! Thanks so much for sharing this with me!

  13. On December 12, 2010 Nisrine | Dinners & said

    Wonderful gift ideas and GLUTEN FREE!! I love them all!

  14. On December 12, 2010 Shirley @ gfe said

    Love both versions, Kim, but I’m sure I’d be perfectly happy with the triangular ones. Which brown rice flour do you use? I want to restock, but really want to be sure I’m getting a good one, a safe one given the recent study on cross contamination of grains. Or do you grind your own?

    Christmas memories … oh so many, I’m one of the ones who would get my sister up in the middle of the night to see what Santa had brought us. I was just too excited! LOL I can still visualize us, the tree, and many of the gifts. I also remember going to see the “real Santa” an hour away and have a photo (wish I had a scanner!) of me with him. I was maybe 6 or 7 and still scared of Santa though. I am shown standing beside him (no way I was going to sit in his lap) with a very serious expression. An adult memory … Son was into “machines” as he called them … all those hand-propelled Tonka toys and then later bulldozers, etc. that required lots of batteries. One Christmas at 10:55 pm as we were getting stuff ready, I realized that I didn’t have batteries for this “machine” from Santa. We live in a rural area and all there are few stores and they are not open 24/7 like big city areas. So I started calling around and found two convenience stores that were closing in 5 minutes, so no luck there. Finally, I called a combination convenience store/restaurant/dive about 20 minutes away. It was open all night and had the batteries I needed. On the way, I passed lots of other folks out late at night on Christmas Eve, even a few with Christmas trees on top. Came home and popped the batteries in and all was good. Such relief. 🙂


    • On December 12, 2010 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Shirley, I have ground my own rice before, but I just cannot get it to be the texture of the Authentic Foods Superfine one. We have not had problems with any cross contamination yet of that particular brand. And Kurt is especially sensitive to contamination so he is helpful in telling me how he feels after eating certain things. I annoy the crud out of him sometimes since I am always asking him how one thing or another made him feel. LOL

      And as for your memories, Shirley, I would do the same exact thing. I would MAKE my sister wake up while it was still pitch black and we would run downstairs to count our presents (sounds really selfish now) and see which of us had more (although “santa” was no dummy and made sure that there was always the exact number for both of us, LOL). Then we would go back to bed and lay awake until the sun had JUST started to come up.

      And I can just picture you frantically running around trying to find batteries for the “machines” for your son. How frantic but totally sweet and I am so happy for you (and that sweet boy who was thrilled that his machines were working on Christmas morning). We have not run into that yet since Scottsdale definitely has it’s share of late night convenience shopping.

      THank you for sharing these memories!!!

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