Gluten-Free Shortbread

by Lauren | Celiac Teen on March 21, 2010

The undeniably intoxicating smell of butter vaporizing wafts out of the oven to waltz with your nostrils.  As your brain connects the pieces, your stomach starts to whimper.  Emerging from the oven, your fingers are willed to grab but you wait.  They must cool.  Just a little bit.

Shortbread stack

Eating these cookies, I wish that yum could be a more clear description.  I wish that when I said yum, you saw the look of satisfaction on my face, the release that it gives my shoulders, the not forced “mmm” sound as the cookie mingles with my taste buds.  That is what yum is.  That is what these are.

This recipe was the first one I tried from Blog Aid, or rather the first one I adapted (I created 2 of them after all ;D).  The original recipe was from Lottie + Doof but I made it gluten-free, obviously =D.  It’s simple, the dough could be a meal in itself and the finished cookies are exactly what you would want a shortbread to be.  Mine are a tad bit darker than a typical white shortbread, but that’s just because of the whole grain flours!

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.

Gluten-Free Shortbread
Adapted from Lottie + Doof.  Adapted by Lauren of Celiac Teen.
1/3 cup millet flour
1/4 cup sorghum flour
1/3 cup sweet rice flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 tsp xanthan gum
3/4 cup salted butter, softened
sugar, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (or not, if you’re out).

Whisk together dry ingredients.  Add butter and stir with a wooden spoon until a soft, smooth dough forms.  It does take a little while, but just keep stirring and a dough will emerge.

Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and space them 1-1/2 inches apart on the cookie sheet.  Using a glass or fork, flatten the balls into cookies.

Sprinkle with sugar if desired, then bake for 12 to 18 minutes until set but not yet browned.

Shortbread Ball

I’m not 100% sure that I made 1-inch balls, because I think in centimeters.  They were probably more like 2 cm rather than 1 inch.  You can always bake them a bit longer if they are a bit bigger.

Shortbread Flattened

I flattened some with my glass and squished some with the fork.  I also ate a couple of cookies worth of dough.  Butter + sugar + yummy flours = easy to eat =D.

Shortbread Cookies

All baked!  Let them cool.  Just a little bit.  
Then dig on in.
Take a couple, or have some with tea.  They’re rich without being overly so.  The whole grains take a touch of that richness away, allowing you to enjoy a couple!
Shortbread Bite
Buttery goodness.  The crumb is shortbready.  Just what one would hope for!
Speaking of Haiti efforts, the ebook I created for Haiti (A Hand For Haiti) is still available for sale.  It can cost anything from $10 up.  It has over 80 recipes from over 70 people packed into 90 pages.  All proceeds go to the Canadian Red Cross for Haiti relief.  You purchase the PDF file, then can print out whatever you wish; either all pages, just a couple or not at all if you prefer to work off your computer!
Have a happy week,

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Maria March 21, 2010 at 6:25 pm

I love the round shape! They look perfect!

Cathy @ ShowFoodChef March 21, 2010 at 7:34 pm

Not only do they look perfect, they look perfectly "YUM". And, the photos are just amazingly cozy and really sell the warmth and crumb of these. I'll be trying these within the next 24 hours, I'm not kidding.

Erica Lea March 21, 2010 at 7:44 pm

I really like your description – and your photos! Shortbread is not my favorite kind of cookie, but having them with tea sounds good!

Iris March 21, 2010 at 7:52 pm

I spent a semester on Scotland, and shortbread is one of my favorite desserts. There was a brand there (can't remember what it was called) that was the best shortbread I have ever had. None of the other brands compared, and I have a feeling that a gluten free version like this might actually get closer to that taste than the typical shortbread recipe. Now I just have to convince myself to go back to Chinatown for more sweet white rice flour.

Jenn March 21, 2010 at 7:56 pm

They look gorgeous Lauren!!

Evelyne @ CheapEthnicEatz March 21, 2010 at 10:23 pm

Shortbread is divine…reminds me of trips to the UK. They look scrumptious.

Heather March 22, 2010 at 12:19 am

Sounds delish! Plus super cool, new flours to try. What is xanthum gum? I know it's a Vegan food thing. SO many recipes seem to call for it. I've never used it tho. Looking forward to trying it out. :)

Lauren March 22, 2010 at 2:46 am

@Heather Xanthan gum is a binder. It's gluten-free and you can find it at your health food store =D.

WendyGK March 22, 2010 at 11:26 am

Shortbread, my favorite. I will have to try these and all the other recipes in your e-book. Just got it and it's amazing. I don't know where I was when you put it out in February?? Since I got off Twitter I'm out of the loop. :)

kellypea March 23, 2010 at 12:34 am

Yum — shortbread! It will get my attention any time. I do have the rice flour, but not the others. My regular market finally got xanthan gum and I just about fell over when I saw the cost, then wondered if the price had been boosted because they deemed it a specialty item. Any ideas since it's not something I keep in my pantry?

Lauren March 23, 2010 at 1:33 am

@kellypea Xanthan gum binds it and can be replaced 1 for 1 with guar gum, but if you don't have any, you could leave it out. Your finished product may just be a bit more crumbly.

Isabelle March 23, 2010 at 12:37 pm

Mmm these shortbread look gorgeous! Love your photos!

Valérie March 23, 2010 at 3:43 pm

These are so cute! I love shortbread, it has such an… honest flavour (I don't know how else to put it).

Juliana March 23, 2010 at 8:55 pm

Lauren, nice cookies, would love to have them with a cup of tea :-)

Gina March 24, 2010 at 6:28 am

I've tried shortbread gluten-free, and never got it to come out quite right. Thanks for the recipe. I'll be sure to try it and let you know how it turns out!

bake in paris March 24, 2010 at 8:08 am

I saw "yum" everywhere in this blog, not just in this particular post…. hmmm the fact is, who could resist these tempting shortbread? :-)

Sawadee from bangkok,

gfe--gluten free easily March 25, 2010 at 6:26 pm

So lovely, Lauren. I just love shortbread. I'm thinking I can sub my rice flour mix for the total of sorghum and cornstarch (as it already contains cornstarch). I'll let you know, but I need my own stack of those cookies. 😉


freetofeast March 31, 2010 at 8:55 pm

Wow! These look incredible!

Do you think coconut flour would work as a substitute for all the flours? And I can't have cornstarch or xantham gum. Do you know of any substitutes for these?


Jen April 2, 2010 at 3:27 am

I just found a recipe for Samoas Girl Scout cookies–now I have a gluten free short bread recipe for the cookie part I'll have to make them!

Lauren April 3, 2010 at 8:26 pm

@freetofeast I'm not sure. I've never worked with coconut flour, but you could definitely give it a go!

Sue December 1, 2010 at 2:35 pm

My husband would love these cookies. Sorry if I missed it in your post, did you use a cookie scoop? If so, what size scoop makes 1 inch balls?

Lauren | Celiac Teen December 1, 2010 at 9:44 pm

Hi Sue! No, I don’t use a cookie scoop, though I’m sure you could if you wished. Just a spoon and my hands, eyeballing it.

Dia December 2, 2010 at 10:37 am

Yum! Looking for the ‘perfect’ cookie to take to our Gluten Free Friends Cookie exchange this weekend … these look delightful!
I often add 1/4 C coconut flour in a recipe that calls for ~ 2 C flour total – it is high in soluble fibre, so you need to add a bit more moisture. I would use about 2 T in this recipe, substituting it for part another flour.
Carob powder is another binder, & nice in recipes that call for chocolate (either in addition or on its own), as it will make the final product darker. It is also sweet, so you can reduce sugar in a recipe containing Carob (which is ground from a seed from the legume family, so naturally gluten free).

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