Retro Recipe: Deviant Christmas Sugar Cookies *Reimagined* from a Vintage 1929 Recipe

As I mentioned in a previous post I'm operating on a limited budget right now so I'll be baking Christmas presents: boxes filled with my own baked goodies. They will include my usual real, artifice-free healthier versions, because I care, with one exception: I want to include some Christmas sugar cookies with full-out fakery on top, specifically red and green dusting sugars in addition to refined white sugar in the cookies. Why?! Because I care.

I know the recipients like it and don't have the same concerns that I do. I don't hand out raisins to kids when they come trick-or-treating at Halloween. They get candy! It's the same idea with Christmas giving.

My recipe is still gluten-free because I need to sample the finished products, plus I want to offer the internet a vintage gluten-free option that does not use white rice flour or Xanthan gum which is a name for bacteria gum. Yum?! No. You can read more here at the bottom of the page.

My inspiration comes from 1929. The original recipe:

My own gluten-free version of this vintage sugar cookie:

1 cup whole grain oat flour
3/4 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup non-GMO, non-hydrogenated shortening
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons heavy cream

In a bowl, sift the oat flour with the baking powder before mixing it with the potato starch and tapioca flour. In a separate bowl cream the shortening and sugar before adding the eggs, well-beaten. Add the flour about a half cup at a time and beat together with an electric mixer until it's smooth. With a spoon finish mixing it together until you have a nice dough. Dust a cutting board or other surface with some potato starch and roll out with a rolling pin.

Cut out the cookies with holiday-themed or plain round cookie cutters before adding the dusting sugar (which, of course, is totally optional.)

I went through a few different batches in the oven until I got them just right! I had success with baking them on a very well-greased cookie sheet in a preheated 375° oven for only about 5-6 minutes. When they were in longer they became fragile and crumbled when I picked them up. Let the cookies cool completely before removing them from the sheet. You may have different results with baking temperature and times since actual oven temps vary from one another.

I ate a couple of the cookies after the initial sampling. I'm very happy with how they turned out because I think they are reasonable impostors for gluten-containing sugar cookies with some supermarket holiday spirit sprinkled on. So my cookies are fakes of fakery?!

Then again, I guess NOT! I saw this this morning in my local supermarket. What is up with this literally over-the-top fakery bakery stuff?? (Purple beads?? Smurf blue goo??)


  1. Your cookies look wonderful Averyl! I can't wait to follow your recipe. I only need to stop by the store for a couple of ingredients and good to go. Thank you for the info. on Xanthan gum. Here I was thinking it was some healthy alternative! I had been using it from time to time. I really need to do my homework more. It's going in the trash. I'm so excited about making something they did in 1929. It just makes me feel a little connected to that time. Fun! Wish we all could go in a field trip back in time together - just for a week to see food, people, places, homes, clothes, etc. My day dreaming. And thank you Avery for refining the recipe with your trials. You saved us some time. BTW, you are giving one of the BEST gifts ever - good and yummy food, made with love, and made better for your health = the best! That junk at the store makes me mad. donna

    1. Thank you, Donna! I hope it turns out well for you!

      I used to think Xanthan gum was extracted from plant stems, or some kind of plant starch. I was surprised as well! I used to get mad at the junk in the stores when I felt it had a hold on me, which it did. Now I see it as motivation to keep cooking.

  2. I LOVE the picture of your simple but beautiful sugar cookies including the plate they are on. :) And I have that exact Christmas tree cookie cutter plus a few other ones. I've had them since my daughter was little. And thanks for the info on xantham gum. Yuck!! I usually read the ingredients lists and I always thought that was harmless.

    Those bakery "creations" are disgusting!! They don't even look appetizing. Yeesh.

    1. Aw, that's sweet that you still have that cookie cutter!

      You're welcome re Xanthan gum. See, many of us have been duped!

  3. My daughter and I are making these cookies right now for a party tonight. She is celiac so this is perfect. Also, we added in1/4 tsp nutmeg and 1/2 lemon rind zest. The flavor is very nice, especially with the oat flour. I will be adding this one to my recipes. Thank you, Longtime Lurker aka Sonja

  4. Ok, so I should have waited until cookies were out of the oven and cooled. They are really good. It reminds me of shortbread. They are a bit crumbly and so with the rest of the dough, I added 1/4 tsp pectin and about 1/4 tsp psyllium husk powder. We'll see if that helps make them a bit less crumbly...still really good. I ate a good amount and used up a lot of my allowance today on the cookies. Yikes! Thanks, Sonja

    1. So glad to hear how they turned out! YES, I noticed that it makes a huge difference when you don't let them cool first along with baking times. When I got the temp/time right with my oven (again, they all vary) the cookies don't crumble when I pick them up and bite into them, but they are just a little crumbly. Try shortening the baking time maybe along with your added ingredients (thanks for the tip!)

    2. One other thing-- if they are still crumbly, you can consider doing what I did with the first batch I made. I broke them up and placed them in a holiday themed cookie gift bucket that my housemate took to work to share. (They are kind of like my taste testers!) They still enjoyed them, so maybe just call them Sonja's Cookie Crumbles, like you planned it that way. ;)

  5. Cookie update: I just baked the rest of the batch. The pectin and psyllium husk seems to take care of the crumbles. Still delicious. Sonja

    1. Excellent! Nice work. I'd have never thought of adding those two ingredients. Thanks for the follow-up.


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