Monday, 3 February 2014

Gluten Free Shortbread

There is the smallest chance I may have mentioned before how much I like shortbread, how much of a role shortbread play in our family. With the chocolate shortbread, I had to convince my mum that it would work but one taste and she knew I was right. With the apricot and walnut shortbread I knew I was taking a risk but I think the chunks of fruit and nut worked wonderfully. The brown sugar shortbread added a hint of caramel which I was always going to love and the ginger iced shortbread has proven itself several times over now. You'd think that de-glutenising shortbread would be a no-brainer - no gliadin and glutenin to form and develop the gluten would make it extra short, perfect. Yet the mass producing factories have had it all wrong. My coeliac housemate should know. She has sorely missed good tasting shortbread for ages.

I have tried making gluten free shortbread once before using the method where you chill a log of dough then slice off discs to bake because I thought that would sop it crumbling, along with the egg I added for structure. I don't know what I was thinking. I should have kept it simple, stuck to the true recipe. All it needed was a little xanthan gum - try it and you'll see. Lauren was over the moon when she saw the box of biscuits waiting for her on the table when she got back from a weekend away though said box didn't last long at all.

Personally I thought the dough behaved quite well. The only minor oddity was that it puffed up a lot during baking. With regular shortbread I know that is usually a sign the oven is at too high a temperature or the butter and sugar has been creamed too much but neither of those were an issue here. Whatever caused it, it settled back down and pretty soon it was baked, cooled and cut like a dream.



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Gluten Free Shortbread
A recipe that couldn't be any more classic adapted to bring as much enjoyment to those who can't eat gluten.
Ingredients
  • 4oz softened butter
  • 2oz caster sugar
  • 6oz gluten free flour
  • 1 generous tsp xanthan gum
Instructions
1. Set your oven to 170 C/150 C fan and grease a 8" sandwich cake tin or loose bottomed flan tin.2. Cream the butter and sugar together until combined (not light and fluffy like for a cake). Sift in the flour and xanthan gum and mix in. 3. Bring the dough together into a ball, kneading slightly if necessary. Press into the tin and smooth out until level. Mark into pieces and press holes in with a fork.4. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 mins until lightly browned. If it puffs up, gently press back down and lower the oven temperature by 10-20 degrees. 5. Cool on a wire rack then turn out of the tin and cut into pieces.
This months Four Seasons Food challenge is 'Food from the heart' and as I really wanted my housemate to have something she enjoyed and couldn't get in the shops to her liking then I think these count. Anneli from Delicieux is hosting this month, alternating with Louise from Eat Your Veg.

For the same reason, I'm sharing this shortbread with Treat Petite where the theme this month is 'Loved Ones'. No matter how much we drive each other mad, Lauren and I are still good housemates and furthermore, making from scratch something that a gluten free loved one has had to go without is a good way to show you care I think. Stuart from Cakeyboi has the reigns this month, alternating with Kat from The Baking Explorer

9 comments:

  1. Ah, wish I'd seen this last week - just had my mum staying for the weekend and she would've loved these! What Gluten free flour did you use? I was thinking that Rice flour might work well? Thanks though... Yum!

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    1. Ah what a shame! I should've got the post up sooner but things have been so stressy lately I've found it difficult. It was Glutafin's multipurpose white mix I used because I had some free but I imagine (though I'm not absolutely certain) that it would be expensive to buy separately. I've had good results baking with M&S own brand gluten free flour though which is a decent price. I've never used rice flour on its own before but if you do give it a go I'd love to know how it turns out using it on its own =)

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  2. Sounds to me like you are an expert at shortcake of all sorts! This batch looks lovely, perfectly golden and crumbly. What a lucky housemate you have and what a lovely thought to make special biscuits. Thanks for entering them into Four Seasons Food. x

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    1. Haha, I wish I could call myself and expert but I think I just talk about it a lot!

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  3. No wonder your housemate was thrilled Laura, what a lovely thing to do. I haven't tried using xanthan gum - not even sure I know where to get it.

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    1. A lot of supermarkets have it now in the 'free from' section with the gluten free flours and things. Also, you could try the likes of Holland & Barrett - I've never looked there myself but I know they stock other gluten free things =)

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  4. Thanks for entering your shortbread Laura. So sorry I haven't contributed to the biscuit barrel this month - time has gotten away from me! Hopefully March!

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    1. No worries I completely understand. I've missed out on some challenges this month too but fingers crossed for next month for both of us =)

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