Making New Holiday Traditions: An Icebox Cookie Recipe Free of the Top Eight Allergens


Ice Box CookiesEmily Hendrix ~ One of our family traditions is to bake and bake and bake and make candy and bake, and then give all of these yummy goodies to our friends and neighbors in the week or two before Christmas. Some of the things we bake invariably get consumed at home (unfortunately too many by me!) and some are taken to holiday parties and so on.

With all of the baking going on, I started thinking, wouldn't it be great if there was an allergy-safe icebox cookie dough recipe? Icebox cookies are those cookie doughs that you make one dough and then use it in different ways to make different kinds of cookies out of it.

So after some experimentation, I came up with a versatile icebox cookie recipe that is free of the top eight allergens! Included below is the basic cookie dough formula plus directions for making cookie cutouts, pinwheel cookies (and fillings), and chocolate cookie cut-outs. But don't feel limited by my ideas alone, get creative …

Icebox Cookie Dough

This recipe is Vegan, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free (with certified gluten-free oat flour or oats, ground into oat flour), Tree Nut-Free, Peanut-Free, Wheat-Free, and Soy-Free.

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 shortening (I used Spectrum Organic All Vegetable Shortening, made from palm oil)
  • 2 cups oat flour
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • up to 3 tbsp. rice milk

Using a mixer, mix the shortening and sugar, adding vanilla partway through. When these are thoroughly mixed, add the oat flour, baking soda, and salt and mix well. The mixture will be relatively crumbly at this point. Preferably with the mixer running, add the rice milk a little at a time, mixing for at least 15 seconds between additions (other wise you won't be able to tell when you've got the right amount of rice milk in the dough). When the dough forms a ball, it is ready to roll out for baking. If you are going to be refrigerating your dough before using it, you may want to add a little more rice milk since food often loses moisture in the refrigerator.

At this point, there are several directions you can go.

Cookie Cutouts
Roll out the dough, half a recipe at a time, on a floured, non-stick surface. Cut it with cookie cutters. You can add sprinkles before baking, or you can bake and cool the cookies and decorate with frosting and sprinkles. Bake at 375 for 7-8 minutes. (Cookies baked a little longer will be more crispy, and those baked for less time will be more chewy.) For great frosting recipes, check out my book, Sophie Safe Cooking (

Pinwheel Cookies
Working with half a recipe at a time, roll Icebox Cookie Dough out to form a square, probably about 6 to 8 inches across. The dough should be between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick. Spread a filling over the dough, staying about 1/2 inch from one edge. Roll up the cookie dough and filling, starting with the side opposite the edge with no filling.

If the cookie dough is hard to roll up, there are a couple of things you can try. First, roll on a floured surface. If you don't have to work to get the dough off of your rolling surface, that will simplify things a lot. Second, place a sheet of waxed paper or something else that's flexible (such as a Silpat) on your rolling surface. You can still flour it, and then you can also use the waxed paper to help you roll up the cookie dough. Lift and push the waxed paper, separating the cookie dough from the paper and rolling as you go. The other thing to consider is that if the dough is too dry, it will crack as you roll it (that's what happened the first time I tried it!). If this is the case, make a note that you need more rice milk next time, and add extra milk to the dough that you still have in reserve.

After you have rolled up you cookies, refrigerate the dough until it is firm enough to handle with ease (1-2 hours). If you refrigerate the dough overnight, or if it seems too hard after refrigerating, allow it to sit at room temperature for a little while before you slice and bake it. Using a very sharp knife, slice the dough into 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick slices. Place them on a cookie sheet, 2 inches apart, and bake at 350 for 8 minutes.

Pinwheel Cookie Fillings
There are lots of different fillings you can try, and I'm sure you'll come up with your own ideas, too. Here are a couple that I think are great!

  • Chocolate: melt about 1/4 cup chocolate chips. Allow them to cool slightly, and then spread them on the rolled dough. After refrigerating, slice and bake as directed. If you like your cookies hot, beware of both the temperature and messiness of the chocolate filling!
  • Cinnamon Sugar: shake cinnamon sugar all over rolled cookie dough, refrigerate, slice and bake as directed.
  • Cranberry: Mix 1/2 cup finely chopped cranberries, 3 tbsp. sugar, and
    2 tsp. orange zest and spread over the rolled dough. Refrigerate, slice, and bake as directed.

Chocolate Cookie Cutouts:
When mixing up your dough, you can make chocolate cookies if you like. Instead of using 2 cups of oat flour, use 1 3/4 cups oat flour and 1/4 cup cocoa powder. You can still use all of the same variations. Delicious!

Article, recipe, and photos by Emily Hendrix, author of Sophie Safe Cooking: A Collection of Family Friendly Recipes that are Free of Milk, Eggs, Wheat, Soy, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Fish and Shellfish. Emily recently created the Sophie Safe Food Guide, a database of grocery items that is searchable by allergen. You can read more about Emily's book, online guide, and discover her blog at the Sophie Safe Cooking Website.

About Author

Alisa is the founder of, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

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