Recipe: Fancy gluten-free citrus shortbread

It’s another Christmas baking post! Actually, it’s the last of the Christmas baking posts, so let’s hope that by the time this post rolls around, I’ll have actually thought of some other things to blog about and this won’t wind up being the last post before another long hiatus…

Remember those fancy rolling pins? (How could you forget those fancy rolling pins? I know I can’t forget them. Would we like to take bets on how many fancy rolling pins I will own by February?) Well, since most of my gluten -free cookies for Christmas were very simple, I wanted to make at least one batch that were fancy, and these were those, as they say.

I kept these very simple, just flavoured with a little citrus zest. They are a basic shortbread recipe, just using my gluten-free flour mix as the base. And I know it’s annoying to go to make a recipe and to have to start by making another one, but honestly, if you are planning to make gluten-free baked goods on any sort of regular basis, it’s well worth your while just having a batch of all-purpose gluten-free flour mix in the house. Mine is handy because it swaps one-for-one with ordinary flour in just about every recipe I’ve tried it in (the exception is that while I’ve used it for vegan cupcakes etc, I find the crumb is a bit fragile when you don’t have eggs around to help support it. It’s not completely unfeasible, but I don’t recommend it if you have a good alternative).

Again, the tricky part is dealing with the rolling pin – these make quite a dry, delicate dough, so sticking is less of a problem than fall-apart-ishness. Having said that, they are worth the annoyance and you do get quite a good number out of the recipe and they keep well.

Your shopping list

2 cups gluten-free flour mix
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
100 g sugar
45 g icing sugar
130 g butter, cold
zest of one lime
zest of one lemon
zest of one orange
1 egg

Put all the dry ingredients into a food processor and whizz them around briefly to combine.

Add the butter and zests, and pulse until you have a nice crumbly mixture.

Add the egg, and pulse until you have a dough. You might make your life easier by adding a tablespoon of ice water. In retrospect, I wish I’d done that.

Gather the dough into a ball, and roll out to 7mm between two sheets of baking paper. Refrigerate for half an hour.

Remove from the refrigerator and dust biscuit dough and embossed rolling pin with flour.

Roll the pin over the dough, pressing down firmly and praying to whatever gods are listening that it will neither stick nor fall apart.

Cut into shapes and move veeeeeeery carefully onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Refrigerate for 15 minutes before baking.

Repeat the double rolling out process until you have used up all the dough. You may find you need to refrigerate the dough more than once during this process.

Preheat the oven to 180°C, and bake biscuits for ~ 12 minutes, or until just turning golden at the edges.

Cool on baking tray for five minutes before even attempting to move them onto a wire rack.

Lots of gluten-free goodies!


Honestly, this is a fractious little recipe, and I wouldn’t mess with it. You could omit the citrus and add vanilla, or cinnamon, or you could maybe swap out some of the flour for cocoa, but beyond that, I wouldn’t risk it.

This recipe is gluten-free and nut-free; you could use a dairy-free margarine to make it dairy free, but it would want to be one that actually tastes good, since a lot of the flavour comes from the butter.

Since this is the last of the Christmas posts, here’s a photo of me with a small sampling of the biscuits I made for Christmas Day. And yes, my dress has reindeer on it.
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