Paleo “Sugar” Cookies with Cinnamon Maple Frosting (plus options!)


With Christmas fast approaching, I wanted to give my wonderful readers an early present…a sneak preview of not one, but TWO recipes from my latest book, Paleo Indulgences!! 

That first Christmas after switching to a Paleo lifestyle, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to make sugar cookies with my daughters, which had been a tradition for almost a decade.  (Started with my oldest, before my youngest was even around!)  So I went to work to find a suitable sugar cookie cut-out with no gluten, grains, dairy, soy or cane sugar.  After a few attempts, we were oh-so-happy with the results!  The final recipe created a cookie that was so versatile, I could make a simple drop cookie out of it, or roll it into a log and slice the cookies if we were lazy that year, but best of all, we could  roll it out and use our beloved cookie cutters!!  Not only that, the cookies stay together nicely and don’t fall apart while we decorate them!  Our tradition was saved!

Now, I must confess, that I also make a small batch of my original Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs (with modifications) for my youngest, because she can’t have nuts, and a full coconut flour cookie, or one with ground seeds, just hasn’t passed our taste tests yet.  For this small batch, I use maple syrup instead of sugar, and coconut oil and palm shortening instead of non-dairy butter.  It’s not Paleo because of the GF grains, but it’s the best choice for us since nuts leave her feeling awful, and missing out on the tradition would leave her feeling even worse.  Nope, not on this Mama’s watch!

What are your family’s Holiday traditions, and how have you adapted them to fit your gluten free and/or Paleo lifestyle?  Whatever they are, I hope you enjoy this recipe with your family and create some wonderful memories along the way!

Paleo "Sugar" Cookies
Grain Free, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free*, Soy Free, Cane Sugar Free
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Dry Ingredients
  1. 1 C Almond flour
  2. ¼ C Coconut flour
  3. 2 TBSP Arrowroot starch
  4. ½ tsp baking soda
  5. 1/8 tsp sea salt
Wet ingredients
  1. 1 egg (*for an egg free option, you can use 1 TBSP flax meal mixed with 3 TBSP hot water)
  2. 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  3. ¼ tsp pure almond extract
  4. 1/3 C pure maple syrup
  5. 2 TBSP coconut oil, melted
  1. 1) Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. 2) In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.
  3. 3) Add wet ingredients to the dry, except for the coconut oil, and blend with a hand
  4. 4) With mixer on low, slowly add coconut oil to the bowl and mix well.
  5. 5) For a soft cookie, you can scoop and bake now for 11-13 minutes
  6. 6) For a crispier cookie, roll the dough in plastic wrap into a log. Place in the freezer 
for 2 hours (or more, until very firm). Remove and slice into ¼” slices. Place on parchment lined baking sheet and bake 13-15 minutes.
  7. 7) For cutouts, shape dough into a disc and refrigerate for 3 hours (or more). The longer you keep them in the fridge, the easier they are to work with.
  8. 8) Using a fine dusting of arrowroot powder to prevent sticking, dust two sheets of parchment paper and the dough. Roll dough between two sheets of parchment paper to about 1/4" thickness.
  9. 9) Remove top piece of parchment and cut out cookies with cookie cutters. *Tip* - dip your cookie cutters in some arrowroot or cocoa powder (for chocolate cookies) to keep them from sticking to the dough. Remove excess dough from around cutout shapes. *Tip* -  If your dough is still soft and not easy to peel off the parchment, knead a small amount of arrowroot starch (or cocoa powder for the chocolate cookies) into the dough until it's a little less sticky, then re-roll.
  10. 10) Place bottom sheet of parchment with cookie shapes (no scraping cookies and transferring to another sheet!) onto a baking sheet and bake 13-15 minutes or until edges are browned and center is firm to the touch.
  11. 11) Cool on baking sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely.
  12. 12) Frost with your favorite icing or my Cinnamon Maple Frosting!
  1. For chocolate sugar cookies, add in 2 TBSP organic unsweetened cocoa powder
Adapted from Paleo Indulgences
Adapted from Paleo Indulgences
The Healthy GF Life



Cinnamon Maple Frosting
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  1. ½ C Palm Shortening
  2. 1/3 C pure maple syrup
  3. Pinch sea salt
  4. 1 tsp cinnamon
  5. 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  6. 2 TBSP Arrowroot starch
  7. 2 tsp Coconut flour (sifted)
  8. 2 TBSP Coconut oil, melted
  1. 1) In a medium bowl with a hand mixer, blend all ingredients except coconut oil until fully combined.
  2. 2) With mixer on low, slowly add in coconut oil.  Blend well and there are no lumps.
  3. 3) If frosting is a bit too soft, refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
The Healthy GF Life


Candy Cane Sugar Cookies

For a Holiday party variation, I bake small circles of the sugar cookies, both chocolate and vanilla.  After the cookies cool completely, melt dark chocolate, unsweetened dark chocolate and a little peppermint extract together and stir until smooth.  (The unsweetened chocolate helps cut the sugar a bit since I use less of the dark chocolate this way.)  Then drizzle the minty chocolate over the cookies.  Next, crush organic (read: no artificial colors, flavors or corn syrup) gluten free candy canes and sprinkle them on top!  They’ll be a hit at your next Christmas Cookie Exchange Party!


Oh, and one last suggestion…sometimes, when I’m in a Naughty List kinda mood, I like to dip half of a BIG sugar cookie in melted dark chocolate.  Yep.  I’ll just leave it at that.


  1. Can I use an egg replacement ? I’m allergic to eggs so…

    • Yes! I have experimented and replaced the egg with 1 TBSP flax meal mixed with 3 TBSP really hot water. Let it sit for a minute to “gel” and then use it like an egg. Worked great!

  2. These sound perfect! I will be making a few batches as gifts this year. If I start them tonight, and store them tightly in bags, do you think that they will still be fresh on Christmas day?

    I’m only a couple of months into eating gluten-free, healthy food. I know that the couple of loaves of bread I made didn’t stay fresh very long, so I thought I should check on these, too.

    Thank You! 🙂

    • Hi Jessica! These cookies stay fresh for a good 4 or so days, but I’d put them in an airtight container, not just bags. (I have the peppermint chocolate cookies in my fridge, and they’re still great after a week.) For plain sugar cookies, I’d keep them in an airtight container, but they’ll be soft and delicious for a few days. Hope that helps!


  3. Just made these today to replace our traditional Christmas cut-outs. They are excellent! I love the almond extract flavor and might try peppermint extract next time.

  4. Do you think replacing the shortening with butter work? I still include dairy in my diet

  5. Thank you so much for the great recipes. The cookies and frosting are both delicious (I used 1/2 honey instead of all maple syrup in cookies and it turned out great). I was in a hurry so I rolled the dough into logs and stuck them in the freezer until they were firm enough to cut.
    And for the frosting I used only 1/4 tsp cinnamon and added quite a bit of fresh orange zest and it was great.

    I’ll certainly make these again! The whole family loves them.

    Best wishes to you-

  6. Jennifer Fostet says:

    I love that you found a way to make sugar cookies happen. Making these at Christmas time is a tradition with my four kids and I that came from my grandmother. I can’t wait to try this!

  7. My son can’t have nuts and your link to the original sugar cookie recipe does not work. Can I have that recipe?

  8. The link to your original sugar cookies didn’t work for me…can you tell me how to locate that recipe, too? I may need it for some kiddos who can’t do almonds.

  9. We love this recipe, I have made it twice now. The second time I took a piece of clear wrap and placed it over the bottom of a glass to flatten the cookies out, it worked amazingly. Also mixing with an electric mixer makes the cookies much smoother than with a wisk. I also used butter instead of shortening in the frosting and found that melting the butter down, mixing the frosting and then chilling to a good consistency worked better than using soft butter. I couldn’t get everything to mix when it was just soft and it kept a very grainy texture the first time without the melting. This batch came out exceptionally good.


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