Friday, December 7, 2012

Holiday Treat #5: Gluten Free Shortbread Cookies

This recipe is part of this year's Holiday Treat Extravaganza!  To see all the recipes, click on the page tab of the same name located at the top of the blog.  To submit a recipe or a request, send a message to

Shortbread is one of those iconic holiday cookies that everyone loves to eat.  It was also one of the first recipes that I converted to gluten free once my son was taken off gluten.  There are many ways to prepare shortbread, and everyone has their favourites.  I like mine cut into thicker bars, while my mom makes hers thinner and cut into triangular wedges.  It's also possible to create round or shaped shortbread cookies.
This recipe makes approx. 12 shortbread bars about 1/4-1/2 inch thick, or about 24 thinner bars or cookies.  The cooking time will vary.  For thicker bars, cook for approx. 45-50 min.  For cookies, 40 min. is about right.  Check periodically.  They are ready when edges begin to brown.


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.  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.  The photo shows how crumbly the dough can be, but when pressed together it should hold.     

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.  It's important to cut into bars before cooking to reduce the risk of crumbling after baked.   * See below for cookie cutter instructions.

6- Place into preheated oven uncovered.  For baking times, see above.

7- Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.  Run a knife along pre-cut edges and where the bars were cut pre-baking 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.

This year I dipped my cookies in melted chocolate

1 comment :

  1. Your gluten free shortbread bars look wonderful. I make GF sugar cookies but have not yet tried to convert my shortbread recipe to GF. Like you, I love vanilla in them!