Gluten free lemon poppy seed cookies are crispy packets of lemon flavor. They take a little extra fussing to make the filling but they are worth the time. The technique of making a refrigerator dough first means the cookies are a uniform size and have the mouth feel of regular cookie dough, without the trauma of wheat. If you are baking these for someone with a wheat allergy or celiac please protect your baking from cross contamination.
Cookies for gift giving and shipping in care packages
Cookies need to keep well and hold up to a bit of abuse in order to stay fresh and crisp in the box and to hold their shape in travel. Refrigerator cookies are a little sturdier than drop cookies and bar cookies for shipping long distances. They keep well and travel well. These lemon poppy seed cookies are the perfect cookie for gift giving and mailing. They hold their shape well and aren’t so tender that they crumble with rough handling.
Gift cookies – gluten-free
If you are like me, you have a few friends that must maintain a gluten-free diet. Holidays can be tough for them. They are so appreciative of the thoughtfulness of gluten-free baking just for them. But gluten-free baking in the past has resulted in cookies that are either crumbly — with the cookies barely keeping together — or else rubbery. It’s really hard to get cookies that both stay together and are crisp and flaky with gluten free flours. Baking gluten-free cookies is an art. So in today’s cookie recipe, I’ve adapted my own family refrigerator dough cookies to gluten-free baking, for that special friend of yours. Baking gluten-free shows how much you care.
Gluten free baking tips
Mr Joybilee has a wheat allergy. He must avoid all forms of wheat in even tiny amounts. My kitchen has been wheat free for the last 12 months. If you are baking for someone who must be gluten free because of a wheat allergy or because of celiac disease, it isn’t enough to just switch out the flour. You also need to avoid cross contamination.
Using parchment paper to line baking pans and thoroughly cleaning the mixer before using it with gluten free flours can go a long way to keeping your gluten free cookies safe from cross contamination.
I used Bob’s Redmill gluten free 1 to 1 baking flour in this recipe. This gluten-free flour contains sticky rice flour, brown rice flour, potato starch, sweet sorghum flour, tapioca flour and xanthan gum. The brown rice and the sorghum in this mix are both whole grain flours. The added gum helps everything stick together and makes this gluten-free flour behave very similarly to wheat flour. The sorghum flour gives these cookies the mouth feel of wheaten cookies. I didn’t think that was possible.
How this gluten-free flour is different:
Some minor differences between refrigerator cookie dough made with Bob’s Redmill gluten free 1 to 1 baking flour and Bob’s Redmill organic unbleached white flour:
I was happily surprised at how much this dough resembled regular wheaten cookie dough. There were some differences though:
The cookies took longer to bake – 15 minutes rather than 12 minutes.
The cookies didn’t spread as much as wheaten cookies in the oven and didn’t raise much.
The cookies needed a higher temperature, at my elevation, to brown – 375*F instead of 360*F. (I’m at 2,700 feet).
The cookies needed some mechanical help to crisp up – I poked holes in the cookies with a fork to increase the drying out of the dough during baking. This small change resulted in flaky, crisp gluten-free cookies.
The aroma of browning wheat flour is sadly missing from the baking process. Maybe my oven temperature needs to be higher to brown this flour.
None of these differences are insurmountable – especially when you’ve gone years without being able to eat normal cookies. Then this flour is a miracle!
Note if you are baking for someone with celiac and your kitchen sometimes uses regular wheat flour, please use pans that have never held wheaten doughs. Wheat proteins can get imbedded in pans and baking equipment. It only takes a crumb to seriously impact someone with celiac or with a severe wheat allergy. If in doubt, use a parchment paper liner to protect the gluten free baking from cross-contamination.
Some good points about Bob’s Redmill gluten-free baking flour:
It really is a 1 to 1 substitution. I was surprised by this. I’ve baked with homemade gluten free mixes in the past – usually some combination of finely ground sticky rice, finely ground brown rice, potato starch, and tapioca starch – sometimes with the addition of guar gum or xanthan gum to give the dough more structure. The results are nothing like baking with wheat. The bread turns out rubbery and flat on top. Cookies or crackers crumble and don’t hold together. But Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free flour is different.
The addition of sorghum in this flour is genius and gives the perfect chewy, wheat-like texture .
The cookie dough held together perfectly even before baking. The sliced refrigerator cookies didn’t crumble. The finished cookie held together, too.
This cookie would make perfect gluten-free crumbs for a cheese cake crust, or a cream pie crust for those that are on a gluten free diet.
This cookie makes a great base for other treats – cream filled cookies, bar cookies, ice cream sandwiches.
If you live in an area with low humidity add 1/4 cup less flour to the recipe. The dough will seem soft, but it will firm up in the fridge, as the flour absorbs moisture from the other ingredients.
How to avoid cross contamination with gluten flours
- Before you bake for your gluten-free friends thoroughly wash all cookie trays, mixing bowls, and preparation utensils, including your cooling rack so that there is no accidental gluten contamination of the dough.
- If you use a mixer to make wheaten doughs, consider mixing gluten-free batters by hand, in a glass bowl, to minimize the flour spray that happens naturally when flours meet the electric mixer blades. This will avoid accidental contamination of the dough.
- Ensure that the gluten-free cookies remain gluten free from preparation through baking, and right through to packaging, by scrupulous cleanliness and keeping all gluten flours, breads, and equipment away from the work area.
- Only bake gluten free cookies on the day that you will bake gluten-free. Don’t try to save time by baking both gluten-free and wheaten cookies in the same baking session. Complete the packaging of your gluten-free treats before you open your wheaten flour to bake regular cookies.
- If you intend to package gluten free cookies in the same parcel as regular cookies or other wheaten snacks, package your gluten-free treats first and keep them sealed in their own packaging for shipment.
- Use popcorn and tissue paper to cushion and protect cookies in transit. Popcorn is gluten-free.
- Consider including the recipe with the cookies so that your gift recipient can make another batch. You can print it out from my website to give with your gift.
Making refrigerator or icebox cookies
Refrigerator cookies are a make ahead cookie dough. You can make your cookie dough several days ahead and then slice and bake as you like. This dough keeps well in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for 3 months. Thaw it slightly before you slice to bake it.
Slice the cookies as thinly as possible and lay on a buttered cookie sheet to bake. Your lemon poppy seed cookies will be crisp and flaky, with a wonderful texture, even with gluten-free flour.
Gluten-Free Poppy Seed Cream Cookies
- Prep Time: 30 min.
- Cook Time: 15 min.
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 24 1x
This is a delicious, lemony, gluten-free cookie with the texture that your gluten free friend has been missing. Crispy and flaky with the mouth-freel of wheaten cookies, these cookies are perfect for shipping and gifting. Make them plain as lemon poppy seed cookies, or put two cookies together with a lemon cream centre for Lemon Poppy Seed Cream Cookies.
- Cookie Ingredients
- 1 cup butter, creamed
- 1 cup of organic sugar
- 2 tbsp. flax jelly*
- 3 eggs
- 2 tbsp. lemon peel/zest, organic
- 2 tsp. lemon extract
- ½ cup poppy seeds
- 2 1/2 cups Gluten Free flour, Bob’s Redmill
- 1 tsp baking powder
Cream Centre Ingredients
- ¼ cup butter, softened
- 2 tsp. lemon extract
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- ½ tsp. India Tree Natural Dye Food Colouring
- 1 to 1 ½ cups icing sugar
- Cream butter and sugar.
- * Make flax jelly: In a separate bowl add 3 tbsp flax seed plus ½ cup of boiling water. Allow it to sit for 3 minutes. Beat with a fork until foamy and viscose. Strain out the clear viscose liquid. This is the flax jelly. Take 2 tbsp. of the flax jelly and add to the creamed sugar and butter mixture.
- Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.
- Add lemon peel and lemon extract and beat for 1 minute.
- Add poppy seeds. Allow the poppy seeds to swell for 30 minutes.
- Add gluten-free flour and baking powder.
- Allow to sit for 30 minutes to allow the flour to absorb liquid.
- Form into logs and wrap in parchment paper. Refrigerate for overnight or up to 1 week.
How to bake
- Preheat oven to 375*F.
- Remove from the refrigerator.
- Slice as thinly as possible into cookie rounds.
- Place one inch apart on greased cookie sheet.
- Prick cookies with a fork several times. This helps the cookies crisp up.
- Bake at 375*F for 15 minutes or until cookies are golden brown.
- Remove from the oven. Allow to cool for 2 or 3 minutes on the baking sheet.
- Transfer cookies to cooling rack to finish cooling completely. Cookies will be crisp and chewy.
- With this gluten free cookie, you don’t need to wait for the cookie sheet to cool before putting the next rounds of dough on the baking sheet for baking. A hot cookie sheet will help the cookies spread thinner, making for a crisper finished cookie.
- Blend butter and sugar together until smooth.
- Add lemon extract, lemon juice, and food colouring.
- Blend until smooth.
- Makes enough icing for 2 – 3 dozen cookies.
- You’ll want to use a spatula to get every bit of the icing out of the bowl.
- Place 1 tsp of icing in the centre of each cookie, with a spatula, moving icing in a circular motion.
- Cap with second cookie.
- Set aside and wait for the cream filling to firm up before packaging.
- Package in an gift bag, tying tightly closed, so that the cookies stay fresh and crisp.
- These cookies are crispy and flaky. They are great alone or with the cream centre. Make some of each.
Bob’s Red Mill gluten Free 1 to 1 baking flour
I was very surprised at how easy Bob’s Red Mill gluten free 1 to 1 baking flour was to use in this recipe. I’ve mixed my own gluten-free flours, I’ve bought other premade mixes, as well, but there is always something lacking. That mouth – feel that wheaten doughs have. But I was very happy with the results of this flour. (I’d tell you if I wasn’t). These are truly satisfying gluten-free cookies thanks to Bob’s Red Mill gluten free flour. They have the mouth free of regular cookies and the sweet crunch that is missing from the plates of those who must eschew wheat, barley, and rye.
India Tree natural dye food colouring
The India Tree natural dye food colouring gives them that exceptional wow factor that makes the cookies stand out in a gift box. I really liked working with the India Tree natural dye food colouring. I love that they are made with real food like beet juice and turmeric, not chemicals. While the colours are more muted than chemical dyes, that’s what I like about them. Just like naturally dyed cloth is muted, with many different shades of colour, so these food colours have many shades ready to enhance your baking.
Every kitchen needs a spatula, in fact several spatulas in different sizes and shapes. The GIR Ultimate spatula is made from silicone. I love that. I’ve melted so many rubber spatulas and vinyl spatulas by using them on a hot surface. But sometimes you have to use a spatula on a hot surface. This is one spatula that won’t be damaged if you do. Yay! This size is perfect for cleaning out a mason jar or scraping a bowl to get the last bits of dough or icing onto your pan. With a spatula, you can get one extra cookie or a half a muffin extra, because the batter doesn’t get left in the bowl. And I think you already know how wonderful it is to be given the gift of the batter bowl and a spatula, after the cookies are in the oven. Need I say more?
Pure Grace Farms says
These cookies look like they would melt in my mouth. Lovely!
Sheila @ Life, Love, and Good Food says
Chris, these cookies look amazing! I love lemon poppy seed muffins, so I know I’d really enjoy these, too!
Chris, this is such a wonderful comprehensive guide to gluten free gift baking! You not only provided a delicious sounding gluten free recipe ( lemon and poppy seeds are so good together!) ,but also clear guidelines for safely baking and packaging gluten free baked gifts. My daughter is gluten sensitive. I’ll use your baking tips when I try this and other gluten free recipes!
Joybilee Farm says
Thanks for your kind words, Wendy. I appreciate your feedback.