Valentine’s cookies with all the fun & none of the allergens
One of our daughter’s best friends is a celiac and allergic to red dye. So for a fun Valentine’s Day activity, we decided to make these delicious and super easy cookies that are gluten free, red dye free, and also dairy free as an extra bonus.
Making gluten free, dairy free chocolate chip sugar cookies
As a working mom, I love my time saving shortcuts when I can find them. My first time saver for this recipe is to use King Arthur Flour Gluten Free Sugar Cookie Mix. This mix is truly delicious. It’s also non-GMO verified, made with whole grain oat flour, easy to roll out, free of artificial preservatives, and certified gluten free. King Arthur Flour makes a number of other gluten free mixes and flours, and all that we’ve tried are excellent.
It’s easy to make these Valentine cookies dairy free. Simply select vegan plant butter to add to the mix, such as Miyoko’s Organic Vegan Butter.
Beat together the mix, 1 stick of softened non-dairy plant butter, 1 egg, and 1 tsp vanilla extract. As an optional step (inspired by our daughter), mix in 1/2 cup chocolate chips. Chocolate chips may not be a typical addition to sugar cookies, but we think they taste good enough to justify breaking with tradition. Our favorite allergy-friendly chips are Enjoy Life Foods.
Divide the dough in half, form into 1″ thick disks, wrap, and refrigerate for 2 hours (or up to overnight). Flour both sides of the dough with gluten free flour. Roll to desired thickness: 1/4″ for chewier cookies and 1/8″ for crispier cookies. Cut into hearts or your desired shape. We don’t have heart-shaped cookie cutters, but we have heart-shaped measuring cups that worked just fine!
Transfer cookies to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 12 – 16 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let cool on a rack.
Making dye-free, dairy free buttercream frosting
To make the buttercream frosting, first soften a stick of nondairy plant butter.
Cream the butter using a mixer, then slowly mix in 2 cups powdered sugar (confectioners’ sugar), about ½ cup at time. Mix in 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and a splash of unsweetened almond milk. Our frosting needed about 1 Tbsp of almond milk, but you can add more a little at a time until you reach the desired consistency. This frosting tastes so good, it will be difficult to keep little fingers (or your own!) away from the bowl.
Coloring your frosting without red dye requires stirring in one simple ingredient – beet juice! Here’s where my second time saving tip comes in. To make this step extremely quick and simple, open a package of Love Beets ready-to-eat cooked beets and instantly get all the juice you’ll need. As a bonus, you’ll have some yummy beets to use in a salad or other meal later.
If you can’t find Love Beets in your store, here are a few other options:
- Wash, trim, and chop a beet and put it in a juicer.
- Use beetroot powder and mix with a bit of water before adding to the frosting.
- Look for ready made beet juice on Amazon or in your health food store.
The more beet juice you add, the darker the color. Our daughter and her friend wanted three different colors of frosting, so we divided the frosting into three separate bowls. We kept one bowl white, made one bowl of frosting light pink, and made one bowl a darker pink.
Be sure your cookies are completely cool before frosting. The frosting gets thinner the more juice you add to it, so to keep the frosting firm, store cookies in the fridge.
These cookies were an absolute hit. They were simple, easy, and fun to make, and they were so delicious that the whole batch didn’t last longer than a few days. I hope you and your family enjoy them, and have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!
Valentine Cookies (Dairy Free, Dye Free)
- 1 box King Arthur Flour Gluten Free Sugar Cookie Mix
- 2 sticks (16 Tbsp) vegan plant butter, softened, divided
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips optional
- 2 cups powdered sugar confectioners' sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Splash unsweetened almond milk
- Beet juice
- FOR COOKIES: Beat together the mix, 1 stick (8 Tbsp) softened plant butter, egg, and vanilla extract. Mix in chocolate chips.
- Divide the dough in half, form into 1" thick disks, wrap, and refrigerate for 2 hours (or up to overnight).
- Flour both sides of the dough with gluten free flour. Roll to desired thickness: 1/4" for chewier cookies and 1/8" for crispier cookies.
- Cut into hearts or your desired shape.
- Transfer cookies to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 12 - 16 minutes, or until lightly browned.
- Cool cookies completely before frosting.
- FOR FROSTING: Cream 1 stick (8 Tbsp) butter using a mixer, then slowly mix in powdered sugar (confectioners’ sugar), about ½ cup at time. Mix in vanilla extract and splashes of unsweetened almond milk until you reach the desired consistency.
- Add drops of beet juice to the frosting to add color. The more beet juice you add, the darker the color.
- To keep the frosting firm, store cookies in the fridge.