{No} Sugar Cookies w/ Royal Icing

Sugar cookies were always a part of my family’s Christmas tradition, growing-up. Not just baking them, but also decorating them. We had so much fun cutting them out in all kinds of holiday-themed shapes, and then putting our unique flare on them with all different colors of sugary icing. The flavor and texture was just out of this world!

Truly, nothing tastes more like Christmas, to me, than these cookies. Since my family has always been vegetarian, Christmas dinner wasn’t about ham or anything like that. We always had tofu pot pie, but that was what we had at Thanksgiving, too. Tofu pot pie is probably my favorite dish my mother made during my childhood, but it’s what Thanksgiving tastes like; not so much Christmas. These cookies, though… these cookies were what Christmas was all about.

Baking and decorating Christmas cookies was always a time when our family could swarm the dining room or kitchen island and laugh and feel merry. No matter what ages we all were, my brothers and I could put aside our sibling tensions for a few hours and playful poke fun at each others’ frosting skills and distasteful color preferences.

Being the artist in the family, as well as the bonafide black sheep, cookie decorating was my time to show off. Unlike my brothers, there were no black and green striped stars or blue Santas with rainbow sprinkles on my side of the table.

That’s not to say my piping skills are anything more than amateur, though. As you can see above I could benefit from logging a few hours of practice, still. Alas, until now I have had no motivation to practice, since I would not be caught dead eating the sugar cookies or icing from childhood. Back then I wasn’t sick so the 80/20 rule that works for everyone else, worked just fine for me, as well.

One time a year, it was completely fine and normal, and dare I say healthy for me to indulge in some sugar cookies. Now, though, my 80/20 rule cannot account for the damage such an indulgence would result in.

Instead, I am going to share with you my new version of the old Christmas cookies with icing. These guys are completely sugar-free, paleo-inspired, (aside from ghee in the cookies) they are dairy-free, and they fit well into a ketogenic eating pattern w/ less than 5 net carbs per serving. And, no, a serving is not just one cookie… it’s TWO!

Ingredients

Cookies

  • 2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Paleo Pastry Flour
  • 1/3 cup Lakanto Gold Granulated Monk Fruit Sweetener
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup ghee or coconut oil
  • 1/8-1/4 cup IMO syrup (I use Fiberyum brand because it’s sourced from tapioca which makes it Paleo-compliant. Other brands are sourced from corn)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Icing

  • 3 cups powdered/confectioners style xylitol (I made my own by using a coffee grinder to finely grind granulated birch xylitol, then added 1/8-1/4 cup Fiberyum IMO powder and 1/8 cup arrowroot. If you do this, make sure your xylitol is all really finely ground. If it’s not ground finely enough, the icing will look granulated.)
  • 1/4 of a lemon (juice only)
  • 2 large egg whites

Directions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 320 degrees. Melt the ghee or coconut oil and pour over the pastry flour in medium bowl. Add all other ingredients and mix well.
  2. On a parchment paper lined cutting board, roll dough into ball. Then place a second sheet of parchment paper over the dough and smoosh flat until only 1/4″ thick.
  3. Cut the cookie dough out into shapes. You can get creative and use cookie cutters or you can do like I did and use the rim of drinking glass to cut out circles.
  4. Place the cookies on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and bake for about 10 min or until golden brown.
  5. Remove from heat and cool completely before icing.
  6. In a small-medium glass bowl use a hand mixer to beat the egg whites on low until frothy.
  7. Add in the lemon juice, then 1/4 cup of the powdered xylitol mixture.
  8. Increase the speed to high and slowly add the remaining amount of the powdered xylitol.
  9. Mix on high for about 5 minutes until stiff peaks form.
  10. Separate the icing into as many bowls as different colors you would like.
  11. I used India Tree natural food coloring to make a light blue, and then I used plain white as well, so I only had two bags of icing.
    1. note: pastel colors are your best bet when using this kind of food coloring. I tried to make a red, but it turned out hot pink and too thin to do anything with.
  12. Then, using a spoon, transfer the icing into plastic storage bags and squeeze the icing all the way almost to the tip of one corner.
  13. Cut a tiny whole the size of the tip of a felt pen out of the corner.
  14. Pipe your icing in whatever design you desire!
  15. Store in the refrigerator or eat them all right then and there.

*Raw egg whites are not suitable for consumption by the elderly or those with compromised immune systems. To make this recipe without egg whites, you can use meringue powder; although, that would make them not Paleo. You can also try mixing the icing in a glass bowl of a double broiler and on low-medium heat slowly beat the eggs adding the sweetener little by little. The lemon juice does help to stabilize the egg whites, and so would cream of tartar.

**If you want to opt for a low lectin version of this recipe, use my original recipe for {No} Sugar Cookies, which is yucca based, instead of a nut-based flour. It will be slightly higher in net carbs, but still grain-free, and just as easy to make. For holiday cookie purposes, I would omit the maple extract in this recipe. These cookies will also have a more delicate, light texture compared to the version with the Paleo pastry flour.

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