Saturday, November 19, 2011

Recipe: Gluten Free Shortbread Cookies

I've been working all week on tweaking the shortbread cookie recipe that fell a bit short last week in my shortbread taste test.  Click HERE to see the results of a taste test between 4 kinds of gluten free shortbread cookies.  I wanted to have an original recipe to pass down to my son, so that he can enjoy shortbread during the holidays the way I did growing up.  I think I've succeeded!  The batch I made last night is almost gone, and I've only had one (maybe two). 

This recipe makes a traditional, flaky shortbread with a hint of vanilla flavour.  I know that it's a keeper because I have been thinking all night about variations I can do with this recipe.  For me, I'll use this as the basic recipe that can be modified to make a variety of different shortbread cookies. 

This recipe makes approx. 12 shortbread bars about 1/4-1/2 inch thick, or about 24 thinner cookies.  


1 1/3 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup gluten free all purpose flour (not baking mix)
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. xanthan gum
3/4 cup powdered sugar (icing sugar)
1- 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract (I like my cookies really vanilla-y, so I use 2)
3/4 cup butter (I use Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks because my son can't have real butter.  If using unsalted regular butter, add a pinch of kosher salt to recipe.)

Preheat oven to 300F.  I use an 8x8 non-stick brownie pan with edges.  My mom uses a cake pan. 

1- Mix rice flour, all-purpose flour, cornstarch, baking powder and xanthan gum in a bowl.  Stir until completely mixed.

2- In a separate mixing bowl, cream butter, sugar and vanilla (and salt, if adding). 

3- Add dry mix to butter and sugar in small batches, mixing as you go.  Mix until completely incorporated.  It should form a ball if pressed together, but it won't automatically make a dough while mixing. 

4- Gather into a ball, kneading just long enough for the dough to stick together.  Press dough into baking pan until it is evenly distributed and pushed right into the sides. 

5- Cut into desired bar sizes, and prick holes into each bar with a fork.  Chill for 10 minutes before placing in oven to bake.  * See below for cookie cutter instructions.

6- Place into preheated oven uncovered.  Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until edges are golden and cookies are cooked through. 

7- Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.  Run a knife along pre-cut edges and then allow to cool completely before removing from pan.

*If making cookies with a cookie cutter, place dough on a sheet of parchment paper and cover with plastic wrap.  Roll out dough and use cookie cutters to create desired shapes.  Place cookies on a cookie sheet, and check cookies after 25-30 minutes.  

If you want them a little less dry, they could probably handle up to another 1/4 cup of butter.  I like mine borderline dry but not crumbly, so 3/4 cup works for me.

My husband and son have been gobbling these up all day.  I'm looking forward to trying these out in different incarnations- adding cinnamon instead of vanilla, maybe some cocoa powder, or cranberries and orange....mmmmm.  I've always loved holiday baking, and now I can love doing it gluten free!

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