This is a GF variation on a Rachel Allen recipe which produces shortbread biscuits to die for. If you don’t fancy these flavours, see the footnotes for loads of options for your own creativity.
The dough should be made in advance and stored in the fridge or freezer until ready for baking.
Makes: 36+ biscuits depending on size
(to halve the recipe, use a small egg, 35-40g)
- 290g gluten-free flour
- 1 tsp gluten-free baking powder (only if your GF flour is plain, not self-raising)
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 150g unsalted butter, cubed and softened
- 110g sugar (golden caster, ideally; but white caster will do)
- 1 large egg (65-70g when weighed in its shell), beaten
- 1 small orange (around 175g), 1/2 of grated zest only
- Icing sugar, for dusting
- 2 baking trays
- Baking/parchment paper to line both trays, plus additional for rolling
- 1 large and 1 medium mixing bowls
- An electric mixer (hand-held or stand) if not creaming butter/sugar by hand
- A sieve
- A cooling rack
- Line both baking trays with paper. Cut an additional piece of paper about 15″ square.
- Put the flour, baking powder (if using), and spices into a medium bowl, and mix with a fork. Get a sieve ready.
- Whisk the butter and sugar in a large bowl on medium-low speed until creamy. Add the beaten egg and orange zest, and mix manually with vigour until it’s well combined.
- Sift the dry ingredients into the wet, and stir manually just until fully combined.
(Although this is gluten-free and therefore over-mixing shouldn’t be a problem, this is still traditional shortbread – so mix until it’s just fully come together into a dough.)
- Put the dough onto your paper square, and massage/roll with your hands into a smooth log about 12″ long. Roll the paper tightly over the log to cover it, twist the ends like a Christmas cracker, then put the dough into the fridge to firm up for at least 1 hour. (This will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for 3 months in a sealed plastic bag.)
I divided the recipe and made 2 differently-flavoured doughs, and my cylinders weren’t perfect. Doesn’t matter for the final result, as per the main recipe picture. Just squidge with your fingers to make better rounds once sliced.
- When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 180 C (160 C fan-assisted).
- Roll the dough log free from the paper, cut into 1/4″ slices, and place the rounds on the lined baking trays 5 x 3. (When baked from chilled, they hold their shape and don’t spread.) If you have more discs than will fit, put them back in the fridge.
- Bake for 10-11 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove the trays from the oven and leave for 5 minutes for the biscuits to firm up, before removing them to a cooling rack. If you have remaining discs, let the trays cool for 5 more minutes before loading up again.
- Once fully cooled, dust with icing sugar.
Alternate Flavour Suggestions
– Lime zest, 1/2 tsp coffee extract, and a good grating of fresh nutmeg
– Lemon zest, with a smattering of finely chopped fresh lemon thyme and/or basil leaves, and 1/4 tsp ground ginger
– No zest; cherry and almond extract (1/2 tsp each), plus desiccated coconut nibs to decorate instead of the icing sugar (sprinkle over when the biscuits are just out of the oven, so they stick)
– Orange zest, 1 tsp vanilla extract, and 1/8 tsp ground cardamom (3-4 green pods, seeds ground)
– Lemon zest, with 1/2 tsp crushed lavender and 1 tsp finely chopped fresh mint (if you have edible-grade, i.e. culinary dried lavender)
If you like nuts, try my Walnut & Cardamom Shortbread biscuits.
This is the perfect recipe to get your gel food colouring out! I plumped for red with lime zest & ginger, and green with lemon zest & cinnamon. (Add colouring to the creamed butter/sugar with the beaten egg.) My tasters heartily approved the cross-match of colour and flavour.
GF Chocolate Shortbread
If you want chocolate shortbread cookies, try this other recipe of mine.