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Gluten Free Christmas Cookies and Candies are a huge part of what makes the holiday season so special and delicious. Just because you can’t eat wheat doesn’t mean you have to miss out on all of your favorite treats. See how to make a gluten free Christmas cookie platter and get all the candy cookie recipes you need to have it overflowing with sweets!
I spent years making dozens and dozens of Christmas cookies – mastering my recipes, perfecting my techniques. Learning I had to give up gluten changed all of that. But I didn’t want to miss out on one of the best parts of the holiday season – making, giving, and eating all of my favorite treats!
It just meant changing things up a bit!
Which cookies are gluten free?
You can find a gluten free version of pretty much any cookie you could possible want. They tend to fall into three basic categories:
- Flourless cookies – these cookies don’t use any grain flour, though some might have the addition of almond meal or possibly oats to give them some structure. Meringues, macarons, and even flourless peanut butter cookies are all traditional recipes that are naturally gluten free. But many more recipes have been reinvented without the need to add flour.
- Cookies Using a 1-to-1 Gluten Free Baking Flour Blend – many brands such as Bob’s Red Mill now make gluten free flour blends that contain the perfect blend of gluten free flours, starches, and xanthan gum that they work as a one-to-one swap for all-purpose flour in many cookie recipes.
- Cookies Made with Individual Gluten Free Flours – this can get a bit more tricky, but the challenge comes in more form trying to develop a new recipe versus following an existing gluten free cookie recipe. In this recipes, you’ll sift together a mixture of gluten free flours such as rice or oat flour, and starches such as potato or tapioca starch, and possible xanthan gum to achieve the perfect texture to your cookies.
You can find each of these different categories among the different groups of cookies – molded, drop, rolled or refrigerated, and bar cookies – in the list of recipes below.
And let’s not forget about Christmas candy! Candies and chocolates are a great addition to a collection of gluten free holiday treats since many, like chocolate bark, truffles, chocolate-covered goodies, and more are naturally made without gluten-ingredients.
How do you make a gluten free Christmas cookie platter?
Cookie platters have been part of my family’s holiday celebration for years, but lately, dessert boards have become all the rage along with the rise of charcuterie boards and snack boards.
They are simple to assemble, but a few simple steps and tips will make them look extra beautiful and abundant!
- Make a dip – this isn’t necessary, but a festive dip is a great centerpiece to a platter and makes digging into the cookies even more fun and delicious. Plus they are quick and simple to make. Try Peppermint Cheesecake Dip, Hot Cocoa Dip, or even just a bowl of whipped cream.
- Get a large platter or board – pictured here is a large slate cheese board, but you can use a wooden cutting board or a glass platter.
- Gather your treats – pull out all of your containers to see what you are working with. Place a bowl of your dip in the center of the platter.
- Work from largest to smallest – create piles of the different types of cookies, typically starting with the largest and working to the smallest. You will also want to mix the more colorful cookies in with the neutral or brown cookies.
- Fill in the gaps – candies, fudge, and chocolate bark are great for filling in the smaller spaces between the larger cookies. You can also add fruit like apple slices or strawberries for eating with the dip. And ingredients that you might add to variations on the cookies recipes, like coconut, peanut butter cups, chocolate chips, or candy canes can add small pops of color or bits of texture here and there.
Can you make gluten free cookies in advance?
This will vary by recipe, but there is usually an option to make at least some of all of your cookies at least partially in advance.
You can often make the cookie dough several hours or even a day in advance. Just cover it tightly and store it in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake. You may need to let it warm up slightly to be able to scoop, shape, or roll the dough.
Gluten free cookie dough can also oftentimes be frozen for up to two months either before or after you roll, shape, or cut the dough. Just thaw in the refrigerator and take out of the fridge shortly before baking.
Many cookies themselves also freeze well.
Can you freeze gluten free cookies?
Many can be frozen for up to about two months after baking and cooling. If it is a cookie that is decorated, covered in chocolate or frosting, or rolled in powdered sugar, you may want to consider doing that step after thawing the cookies.
When freezing gluten free cookies, I like to put them in a plastic freezer storage bag and press out all of the air before sealing.
Then place the bag inside a cookie tin or plastic storage container. This helps keep them from getting crushed and crumbly while you have them in the freezer because many gluten free cookies do have a tendency to be a bit more crumbly or tender than their traditional counterparts.
Now for the cookie and candy recipes
Gluten Free Molded Cookies
Molded cookies are typically made from a stiff dough that you will sometimes refrigerate until firm. It is then rolled or shaped into balls, crescents, bars, disks, or any other shape before baking. Sometimes before, during, or after baking, a filling is added to the cookie.
Gluten Free Drop Cookies
Drop cookies are made by dropping the cookie dough onto a baking sheet using two spoons or a cookie scoop. In this category you'll also find a few cookies that are piped onto a baking sheet using a piping bag. But you don't have to do any shaping or rolling of the dough. Just drop and bake.
Rolled and Refrigerator Cookies
Rolled and refrigerator cookies usually made from a fairly stiff dough. To make rolled cookies, you'll roll out the dough with a rolling pin and cut it with cookie cutters. To make refrigerator cookies, shape the dough into a log and then refrigerate until firm. Then slice and bake the cookies.
Gluten Free Bar Cookies
Bar cookies might be some of the easiest to make. Just press the dough into a pan and bake. Then cut into bars or squares after they are baked. This allows you to make a lot of cookies without much fuss.
More gluten free holiday recipes are available in my eBook bundle:
Chocolate bark is super simple to make and fun to customize. You can use one kind of chocolate, swirl two together, or add extracts or flavorings. Spread it all on a sheet pan then sprinkle on some toppings and let it harden. Break apart and enjoy.
Truffles and Fudge
Rich and chocolaty, nobody can resist fudge or truffles. And these chocolate candies are also customizable. Whether squares or balls, these are always a hit.
Other Candies and Treats
From chocolate-dipped treats to snack mixes, caramels to toffee, there are plenty more gluten free candies and other treats to enjoy for the holidays.