The perfect cutout cookie recipe for any holiday, these simple Almond Flour Sugar Cookies are made with applesauce, maple syrup, and a naturally green frosting!
Rolling pin, cookie cutters, sugar sprinkles – holiday cookie season just got real.
If your family was anything like mine, growing up gingerbread cookies happened but sugar cookies HAPPENED. By the dozens on every horizontal surface in the kitchen and surrounding areas. Sugar cookies were the reason we dug out the cookie cutters shaped like snowflakes and mittens and trees and that owl that somehow snuck by as “Christmas-y”. Sugar cookies were the reason we mixed up frosting in multicolors and bought the BIG jar of sprinkles. Sugar cookies were the sweet thing we shared with everyone and even shipped to family that lived far away – festive bubble wrap and all.
But maybe my family is just weird.
Or maybe sugar cookies are the ultimate Christmas sweet that no one can NOT feel more cheery while making/eating. Molasses-haters, frosting-lovers, children, very fortunate pets – sugar cookies appeal to all. I think it’s the sprinkles.
Something about separating sprinkles by color and delicately placing them one by one (wait…you don’t do that?) really forces you to slow down too. If you identify at all as a type A/work too much/brain always running person 1) Hi friend! 2) I highly suggest cookie decorating therapy. It’s like an adult coloring book but with built-in snacks.
Never mind that I drove to 3 different stores to hunt down photo-perfect sprinkles. Let me reframe that: I SPENT AN HOUR AND A HALF BUYING SPRINKLES. The be-less-of-a-perfectionist thing is still a work in progress, okay. Sprinkling sugar is not the same thing as sprinkles.
Because sugar cookies are such an essential part of the holidays for me, this is not the first sugar cookie recipe I’ve shared. Last year I made these cute cutout stars with oat flour. So this year I thought I’d give grain-free cutout cookies a go. And get more colorfully festive with the frosting too.
The dough. I can’t think of a flour better suited to become a sugar cookie than almond flour. It’s so buttery moist all on it’s own that you don’t need oil or nut butter, applesauce works perfectly. It’s also naturally sweet, so a quarter cup of maple syrup is the only “sugar” in these sugar cookies.
I added almond extract this time, and while I wouldn’t go so far as to say game-changer I am enjoying that little something special it adds to the flavor.
Since I am impatient, there is no chilling nonsense needed with this dough. You can chill it for extra easy rolling/cutting, but not required. I do recommend rolling it out on a piece of wax paper to be sure it won’t stick to your surface (plus easier cleanup!), and a dusting of almond flour on top and underneath is a good idea too.
Pro tip! If you don’t have a cookie cutter, the outer ring of a mason jar lid works perfectly. Is there anything mason jars aren’t good for?
The frosting. Creamy white frosting without vegan butter or powdered sugar is an ongoing challenge. But this is my favorite frosting recipe to date: coconut butter + maple syrup + non-dairy milk. That’s it. It takes a little adjusting/adding more milk to get the consistency just right, but once you do it spreads and sets just like a classic cookie frosting should.
The thing about naturally colored red frosting – it’s usually pink.
The thing about naturally colored green frosting – it’s so easy to make with matcha! Which means it not only looks lovely but tastes lovely too.
So you can see why I chose green. One teaspoon of matcha powder makes for a beautiful shade of green, as long as you are using a high quality matcha. Otherwise it will be a brown-ish green – not fun, not festive. For lattes or frosting, I always use Encha matcha and have for years now. It is bright, never bitter (I don’t even sweeten my lattes!), and my absolute favorite.
If matcha isn’t your thing, leave the frosting white and add festively colored decorations like goji berries + pistachios or pomegranate + pumpkin seeds. Or shredded coconut makes for a great sprinkle stand-in, white or colorful.
Tell me, tell me. Which cookie is the classic in your family: gingerbread or sugar?
Or maybe something totally different – please share! I am unabashedly nosey when it comes to cookies.
Almond Flour Sugar Cookies
- Prep Time: 00:20
- Cook Time: 00:13
- Total Time: 33 minutes
- Yield: 12 1x
- Category: cookies
- Method: baking
- Cuisine: american
The perfect cutout cookie recipe for any holiday, these simple Almond Flour Sugar Cookies are made with applesauce, maple syrup, and a naturally green frosting!
- 2 1/2 cups (280g) almond flour*
- 1/4 cup (90g) maple syrup
- 1/4 cup (70g) unsweetened applesauce
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp almond extract (optional)
- 3/4 cup (195g) coconut butter (melted)
- 1/4 cup (90g) maple syrup
- 1/4–1/2 cup non-dairy milk (I used almond)
- 1 tsp Encha Latte Grade Matcha Powder
- Optional: sprinkles for decorating (or try goji berries, pistachios, pomegranate seeds, pumpkin seeds, or shredded coconut for natural “sprinkles”)
- Combine all the cookie ingredients in a mixing bowl. Mix to form a ball of dough. (You can chill the dough here for easier rolling, but it is not necessary.)
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Cover your work surface with a sheet of wax or parchment paper and lightly dust with almond flour.
- Roll out the dough to approximately 1/4 inch thickness adding more flour on top as necessary so the rolling pin (or glass bottle if you don’t have one!) doesn’t stick.
- Cut out the cookies into any shape you like, trying to keep them as close as possible to make the most of the dough.
- Use a spatula to transfer the cookies to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Collect the dough scraps. Re-roll and cut out as many cookies as you can fit.
- Bake for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Remove from the oven and cool completely before frosting.
- For the frosting, stir together the melted coconut butter, maple syrup, matcha, and 1/4 cup of milk. Keep adding milk slowly until it becomes smooth and spreadable. It will thicken as it cools, so make right before using.
- Spread the frosting onto the cookies, top with sprinkles, and chill to allow the frosting to set.
- Enjoy! They will last in the fridge for 4-5 days but need to remain cold or the frosting will melt.
*For an oat flour option, try THIS recipe instead.
Keywords: christmas, baking, vegan, paleo, matcha, easy, frosting, holiday
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OMG! This is my favorite 2017 holiday recipe from any blogger thus far! I love how modern and simple these are, yet still super festive. You just got me super excited to immediately find my cookie cutters and sprinkles and decorate cookies ALL DAY. I literally just pulled my chocolate birthday cake out of the oven (using your latest choc cupcake recipe, yet again!) but now I’m thinking – damn – I could have just made sugar cookies!!!! Anyway, thanks again for another incredible recipe =)
CAKE!! What an exciting moment, how did it turn out? Perfect I hope, and I hope you have a marvelous birthday celebration too <3 Haha nah cake is classic, plus there's still time for cookies later in the month 🙂 Maybe share some of the sprinkle love with that beautiful cake too. Thank you for sharing in the festive cookie excitement, I think this may have been my favorite one to make of the year too!
Unless you have more patience than I do, you will quickly find yourself reaching for wheat flour to dust this dough, parchment paper and roller. The paste that is produced from this recipe has neither the body nor texture nor adhesion properties required of a rolling dough. I refrigerated the dough overnight, dusted with almond flour and could not keep it from clinging to any surface.
The dough does have a great flavor. I chose to work the dough into drop cookies using a small, metal mellon baller. This may be a case of trying to push a product into a realm it doesn’t fit well in.
I love that these cookies have no added fat. I have reduced my cholesterol by lowering my fat intake to the point where my doctor was astonished. Since the almond flour is so high in fat (though better fat than earth balance or an oil) I wonder if the flour could be cut in half using whole wheat pastry or something else?
Hi Angela! Yep, almond flour is still quite high in fat which is why these work and still come our really moist and tender without adding any oil/butter. But I do think half wheat or AP flour could work, although I cannot guarantee the amount will be the same since wheat flour is much more drying than almond. I’d recommend starting with 1 1/4 cup almond and 3/4 cup wheat and then add more wheat slowly until you have a moist but roll-able dough. Too much and the cookies will turn out dry after baking. Good luck!
Natalie, I would like to use less maple syrup. Can I, and how much Swerve could I add to reduce the maple and add to the crunchiness of the cookie? Is it possible?
Hi Nechama! They are not an overly sweet cookie to begin with, just fyi. But I have never baked with Swerve so I do not know how it will affect the texture. You will have to experiment and be sure to add more applesauce to make up for the loss of liquid if you reduce the maple syrup too. Good luck!
Springerle cookies were my favorite Christmas cookie growing up. With a light anise flavor, hard and crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside and an imprinted picture in the dough. Perfect for dunking in hot tea. I’ve never made them as an adult because of the large use of eggs.
Your cookies are so beautiful. I love the color, the sprinkles and the way they break open. You can tell they will be moist and yummy. Thanks for another cookie idea! I’ve been hesitant about using almond flour because I’ve never tried it before, but these will be my first try, definitely!
Oh my goodness, those sound like a marvelous little treat! I love the flavor of anise, I wish it was more popular here, but a simple spiced cookie with that perfect balance of textures sounds marvelous. You are giving me ideas😊 But you could definitely try adapting these to recreate something similar without the egg, maybe more flour and bake them a bit longer to get that crunchier outside. Thank you for sharing❤️ Oh yes, definitely give almond flour a go! I have fallen in love with it in baking, it’s my favorite flour at this point. Really moist and buttery, and you don’t need much sweetener with it which I like to. Happy holiday baking to you!
I feel like these cookies just encompass everything that makes your blog so wonderful!! So perfectly pretty, fun, and most importantly, delicious. Seriously, Natalie, these are STUNNING! My family was definitely team gingerbread cookie as far as traditions go, but the whole experience of sugar cookies is too fun to be left out during this time of year. LOVE your creativity and all the options for both the frosting and decorative toppings 🙂 love love love, hope you’re having a fabulous Christmas season so far!
They were so much fun to make, I sort of wish every day/recipe called for colorful frosting and sprinkles 🙂 I may have to squeeze in another cut out cookie before christmas for just that reason. You family has good tastes, I think my mom’s cinnamon aversion and the fact that she was the primary baker means sugar won in my house but I adore both so much! Thanks for the kind words Sara <3 Happy friday and I hope you have some fun weekend baking plans ahead too!
These cookies look almond-tastic! The frosting is such a pretty, festive shade of green. Like TofuAnnie, I’ve never used almond flour. It sounds like I’m missing out! Perhaps oddly, I don’t remember my family being a member of Team Gingerbread or Team Sugar Cookie during the holidays. Well, do spritz cookies count as sugar cookies? The spritz cookie “gun” certainly came out every year to create red, green and white cookies in shapes like trees and stars. There was quite a cookie variety in my house at Christmas time when I was a kid: Mexican wedding cakes (my personal fave), chocolatey ‘n oaty no bake cookies, peanut butter blossoms, those holly berry cookies made with cornflakes, melted marshmallows and cinnamon red hots and I can’t forget the Nanaimo bars. My tastebuds are feeling all nostalgic! 🙂
Spritz cookies!! Oh I have such a fond memory of doing those for christmas one year, the little gun and lots of tiny sugar sprinkles if i remember correctly. I think the dough is quite similar to sugar cookies, perhaps somewhere in between sugar and shortbread. Oh my goodness, you are making me want to come to your house and bake a batch of each–you had quite a delicious assortment! Even though a little less traditional/classy, cereal based treats are some of my faves haha. Thank you for sharing the memories Victoria, and mexican wedding cookies are actually on my lists so we’ll see if i get to them in time 🙂
The Vegan 8 says
Oh girl, these are soooo pretty with the green frosting! Like, for real! They are so unique with the NATURAL green color and I love, love that you used matcha. What an amazing idea and use for it. Who knew it would make this beautiful shade?? And of course this ingredient list is perfect…almond flour, maple syrup, vanilla…my taste buds are quite perked up reading that, hahaha. I swear almond flour makes the best cookies ever. It is funny though because every brand is different and some will make fabulous cookies and the very next brand will make gritty or flat as hell cookies. I really wish they were all the same! I think I’ve tried every brand under the sun, lol. Anyways, oh gosh, favorite cookie?? Are you kidding me…I could never pick one. That is the problem with being a cookie monster creating fanatic, I love all kinds for all different reasons. I never discriminate against a cookie. Although, if I have to pick between gingersnap or sugar cookie, I would pick gingersnap. I Love spices sooo much, so that will always win. But sugar cookie have a special place in my heart, and mouth, too!
I was so worried the frosting was going to come out…moss (aka puke lol) green but it actually was a lovely shade. A litter easter-y maybe. Thank goodness for high quality matcha even though it pained me a bit to take from my latte stash 🙂 Oh really? I’ve never had that issue with almond flour, but I guess I only ever use the Bob’s Red Mill or now TJ’s since it’s the cheapest I can find. Aww pancake cookies, how sad. Sprinkles can only save them so much haha. Mmm yes, gingersnap for me too. But I actually found myself devouring these leftovers faster than the ginger molasses ones…I blame almond flour 🙂
Ellen Lederman says
Natalie, in addition to these cookies looking and sounding so fantastic, I am amazed at how thorough your instructions are! I would scan your post and think “yes, but…”—that I do have a rolling pin but haven’t used it forever and aren’t sure where it is….but there you are advising about the alternative of a glass bottle. Another “yes, but…” about not having a cookie cutter…and then I see you’ve covered that as well. Still another “yes, but…” since I don’t have matcha and don’t always love the taste, but then you deal with that. I can do the frosting with pomegranates and pepitas! I CAN do this. I can make holiday cookies that meet my nutritional criteria!
Not exactly a “yes, but…” but more an exploratory question. Would you classify these as crisp or soft? So many recipes these days seem to be for soft-baked cookies. They are good, but often strike me more like little cakes and I am definitely craving a crisp cookie. I seem to remember sugar cookies as being crispy, but you mention how moist these are…
Haha well I certainly try to think of as many potential troubleshooting tips as possible as I write the post. Sometimes having a minimally stocked kitchen myself is a good thing. I just can’t justify spending on cookie cutters I will only use once a year and store the other 11 months. But YES–the pomegranate pepita option will be beautiful! I am thinking I need to do another batch that way before christmas myself (really I just want more cookies lol).
So these are definitely a soft cookie. The day you make them they will have slightly crisp edges but still a soft center. That’s the texture the sugar cookies I grew up with always were, crispy makes me think more of a shortbread. Crispy-ness is also a result of the combo of butter + sugar, so the minimal sweetener and healthier butter alternative like applesauce will rarely make for a crisp cookie. Hope that makes sense and happy baking to you!
Nisha / @rainbowplantlife says
I can’t believe you made sugar cookies out of almond flour that came out so perfectly and look like the original! You are such a talented baker 🙂 And the matcha icing is beyond gorgeous! So elegant and stunning, Natalie! I love the tip to use a mason jar lid instead of a cookie cutter!
I swear almond flour was MADE for sugar cookies–it’s buttery and a little sweet and also the exact right color😊 Although when I was baking with my mom growing up and we made them by the hundreds that would’ve been soooo expensive so good thing i didn’t discover this fact until much later lol. Now if only mason jar lids came shaped like snowflakes…🤔
These look so amazing! In my family we are more the gingerbread type for the holidays. Any idea how i could add molasses and spices to this recipe?
No need, because I just posted a gingerbread version 🙂 https://www.feastingonfruit.com/gingerbread-cutout-cookies/
Wondering if using coconut flour would result In a good cookie…these are amazing, btw, and your instructions are fab! Gonna try with coconut flour and let you know how it goes!
Coconut flour will not work here unfortunately. Without the help of a starch like tapioca or arrowroot it is way too dry/crumbly to be able to roll out like this, and the amount would be quite different as well. I recommend sticking with almond flour 🙂
Melissa Pratt says
These look amazing, as do all your recipes! Trying tonight.
Is there a substitute for the coconut butter in the frosting?
Hi Mel! The coconut butter is pretty essential for the frosting to set up properly, you could try cashew butter but it won’t harden and be as glaze-like. There are recipes out there for coconut oil glaze if you do a google search, but usually they require more ingredients and personally I never like the texture as much. Sorry!
That helps a lot. Thanks! I really enjoy your blog, recipes and YouTube. Keep’em coming!!
Thanks for the support Mel!
These cookies look really delicious and festive! And I love the background music to the video lol! I just wanted to know if these cookies are chewy? For example, like those frosted chewy sugar cookies that they sell in grocery store bakeries? Also will these cookies tend to turn slightly more brown underneath? Thank You!
Hi Chandni! Thanks for watching 🙂 Yes, they are soft and chewy–very similar to those grocery store ones especially when freshly baked. They do brown on the bottoms and get just a little crispy around the edges, although you could try cooking them a little less time if you don’t want the crispy-ness. Hope that helps!
Hey Natalie, Thanks so much! I made these for Christmas yesterday and they were amazing and so chewy! I chilled the dough because I was having a hard time rolling it out but it worked out perfectly. I also made your cut-out gingerbread cookies that you posted this year and those were SO DELICIOUS! That was actually my first time eating gingerbread cookies too… it’s really hard to find eggless ready made cookies honestly. I loved how crispy they were outside and chewy from the inside! And all of that from just almond flour… amazing and healthy! Keep up the great work 🙂
You are awesome–I truly appreciate the feedback on both cookies and am really happy both were a success! It never hurts to chill the dough first, especially for more delicate cookie cutter shapes. Ah first gingerbread cookie experience? How fun, and hopefully not the last 🙂 Thanks for the support and happy new year to you!
I am sooooo going to make these cookies. However, I’m going to make a royal icing topping with powdered xylitol instead – then they won’t need to be refrigerated. Yum!
Oh wow that sounds like an awesome frosting idea, they will be beautiful 🙂 Enjoy!
Thank you! Looking forward to more awesome recipes in the new year 🙂
Could I possibly substitute the maple syrup with coconut sugar or rice malt syrup?
You can swap in any kind of liquid sweetener instead of the maple syrup, although I’m not sure rice malt syrup is as sweet so you may want to bump it up to 1/3 cup and add a little more flour. If you wanted to use coconut sugar you would need to add more applesauce as well so the dough is moist enough. I would recommend 1/4 cup coconut sugar and an extra 1/4 cup (so 1/2 cup total) applesauce 🙂
Hi Natalie! I’m going to try this recipe this weekend and it will be my first experiment with almond flour)) Quick question – can I use freshly blended apple instead of apple sauce?
Oooh I’m so excited for you to give almond flour a shot, it can be a little tricky but is probably my favorite flour🤗 Applesauce is cooked down so a lot of the moisture evaporates unlike just a blended apple, so I don’t recommend that swap here it will throw off the texture and make the dough hard to roll/work with. Sorry!
Ok, thank you for the feedback! Then maybe I just to the sauce by myself by cooking an apple)
Thank you again for your wonderful recipes!
And I’m going to try almond sugar cookies as well :))
Oh sorry, I was reading the banana muffins recipe in parallel, I want to try them both)) But for the cookies, maybe I could use coconut milk instead of apple sauce (sorry if it sounds crazy :))
You can absolutely make your own homemade applesauce! There are lots of recipes out there if you just google “unsweetened applesauce recipe”. For the cookies, I don’t think coconut milk will work the same. You could use coconut butter perhaps, or some sort of nut butter. Or you could try non-dairy yogurt. Those are the best substitutes I can think of. Hope that helps!
Christina Z says
Always a win to find a healthy and easy cookie. Making these kept my five year old busy for quite some time. With only my help to measure ingredients and roll out with out sticking to surfaces.
I gave her some tiny pampered chef cookie cutters and let her do the rest!
Delicious results !
Aww that sounds like the cutest baking day ever☺️ I am so happy you guys tried and enjoyed them, thanks for the feedback Christina!
I want to make this recipe but where I live, it’s hard to find the coconut butter. Do you think I can use powder sugar instead??
This glaze recipe doesn’t work without the coconut butter, but maybe try this glaze recipe instead: http://kblog.lunchboxbunch.com/2016/12/vegan-gingerbread-cake-with-vanilla.html
I made these last night for a cookie decorating party and they were delicious! My almond meal/flour contained skins so I think the texture was a little different than intended, but that was obviously my own error. They were really yummy and I didn’t miss the gluten at all. I only wish the cookies were just a touch sweeter, I added a hair more maple syrup but that made the dough sticky.
I am SO happy you liked them! And actually I bet a almond flour without the skins would make them taste sweeter too, or a little bit of coconut sugar would help without adding too much moisture. Thanks for the feedback Marlene 🙂
Baked it, easy and delicious as usual!
Thank you for sharing!
Perfect! I am so so happy you liked these, Lina😊
Could I replace almond flour with all purpose flour for this recipe?
They are not one for one subs so the amount would be different and I can’t tell you how much it would be for AP without testing it unfortunately. So I’d recommend just finding an AP flour recipe, sorry!
These Almond Flour Sugar Cookies seems delicious , can’t wait to try these yummy ones !!! Thanks for sharing with us.
They are so simple but so delicious Samantha, I hope you try and love them🤗