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LaurieNYC

Gluten-Free Shortbread?

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This is my first Christmas being Gluten Free thanks to Celiac and the Christmas baking tradition is taking a hit!

We've been trying to replicate my Grandmother's shortbread recipe. We tried to substitute all-purpose flour for really good gluten-free flour (Cup 4 Cup) but they aren

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This is my first Christmas being Gluten Free thanks to Celiac and the Christmas baking tradition is taking a hit!

We've been trying to replicate my Grandmother's shortbread recipe. We tried to substitute all-purpose flour for really good gluten-free flour (Cup 4 Cup) but they arent tasting quite right

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Yes, this is tricky. I've been trying to perfect a gluten-free version of the recipe handed down to me by a Scottish friend. I found out that using guar gum, rather than xanthan gum, worked best. I also use very fine sugar.

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Cup4Cup is a flour blend . . . and if I'm not mistaken, it already has the xanthan gum added so subbing in the guar gum wouldn't work unless the OP switches to a different flour mix.

I'm just going to throw a word of caution out there. Bean flours seem to be a love 'em or hate 'em kind of thing. I personally don't care for them. Some people do. I think they have a strong aftertaste and for something like shortbread where there really aren't many ingredients, I would think the bean flour flavor would really dominate.

My experience with the already made flour blends . . . first of all, I like to add my own xanthan gum because some things I do (gravy, fried chicken, etc) don't require the xanthan gum. Second, I think most flour blends with rice flour in them tend to give you a grittier texture because the rice flour isn't ground fine enough. I make my own flour blend (using Annalise Roberts recipe) that uses the Authentic Foods SuperFine Brown Rice flour. It's expensive flour but I can get it locally so at least I don't have to pay shipping for it. Also, I get my white rice flour from Asian markets. It's way cheaper and also a finer grind than the Bob's Red Mill at the local Whole Foods. Some people grind their own, I don't know if they can produce a finer grind than the Bob's Red Mill or not as I have no experience with that.

As far as the shortbread itself, are you using powdered sugar (many recipes call for that)? I would let the dough sit for 30 minutes or so (in the fridge) to let the ingredients . . . I don't know . . . dissolve? Could be in my head, but I feel like I get a better cookie when I do that. Gluten free cookies tend to spread more. You can stop this by adding additional flour or by refrigerating and if you are having problems with crumbling, maybe cut back on the flour ever-so-slightly and refrigerate.

Don't know if that would work for you . . . it's something I would try.

I will say this, as I have been baking gluten free for four years now. I can pretty much say that I never got it right the first time. Usually (but not always), it was still a decent product (cookie, muffin, whatever). I constantly make notes on my recipes. I've been working on one of my grandmother's cookie recipes. Everytime I make it, I tweak a little. If the tweak improved the product, I note it on the recipe so that I will do it the next time. Most people (aka my family) probably wouldn't even notice the difference from one batch to the next. Sometimes, the tweaks are just for the way it handles or cooks, sometimes for texture or taste.

Good Luck.

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Is there any liquid in the recipe, or just butter? If there is any liquid, what I try to do with rice flour is mix in the liquid, or mix everything together (including liquid) and let it sit for at least 10 or maybe 15 minutes or so, before I bake it. I figured that out when I was mixing spelt and rice flour together for brownies, and discovered the rice flour was gritty, like uncooked rice. I added the rice flour because it cost less than the spelt!

Since going with totally gluten-free / rice flour mix ingredients, I had one batch of cookies that was a little gritty, but everything else has been ok, using that principle. If your shortbread doesn't have any liquid, perhaps you can add a few tablespoons to it, mix it in and let it sit before you mix in the butter, etc. ?

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Is there any liquid in the recipe, or just butter? If there is any liquid, what I try to do with rice flour is mix in the liquid, or mix everything together (including liquid) and let it sit for at least 10 or maybe 15 minutes or so, before I bake it. I figured that out when I was mixing spelt and rice flour together for brownies, and discovered the rice flour was gritty, like uncooked rice. I added the rice flour because it cost less than the spelt!

Since going with totally gluten-free / rice flour mix ingredients, I had one batch of cookies that was a little gritty, but everything else has been ok, using that principle. If your shortbread doesn't have any liquid, perhaps you can add a few tablespoons to it, mix it in and let it sit before you mix in the butter, etc. ?

Hopefully you are not now using spelt as it is a form of wheat and something we have to avoid.

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Thanks everyone...great comments! We're experimenting tonight so I'll post the results!

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Hopefully you are not now using spelt as it is a form of wheat and something we have to avoid.

Correct, no more spelt (or other gluten-y grains) for me!

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Thanks everyone...great comments! We're experimenting tonight so I'll post the results!

Sometimes it's the fats. Sometimes it's less, sometimes it's more. I've found using all butter is NOT the best converting most recipes. Sometimes shortening helps keep shape during baking. Maybe go half and half.

I wonder if coconut milk or flour would be good in shortbread?

I also think most gluten-free flour blends (especially rice) have zero flavor. Double the vanilla or other extract. You may need more sugar. Extra eggs usually don't hurt for richness.

Here's a great post on making shortbreads. Read her stuff for the technique. http://glutenfreegirl.com/gluten-free-shortbread/

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Pricklypear,

That recipe you provided is almost exactly the one I use myself! I took the recipe from my dear Scottish friend and then incorporated the ingredients from my favorite shortbread cookies from Australia (they use 100% butter, and the brand is called "Butterfingers"). After just a couple of tries, they came out great! Thanks for sharing this recipe (actually, there are three provided at the link, but the first one is the one that I've used personally).

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Pricklypear,

That recipe you provided is almost exactly the one I use myself! I took the recipe from my dear Scottish friend and then incorporated the ingredients from my favorite shortbread cookies from Australia (they use 100% butter, and the brand is called "Butterfingers"). After just a couple of tries, they came out great! Thanks for sharing this recipe (actually, there are three provided at the link, but the first one is the one that I've used personally).

I'm glad it worked!

My dad was wanting shortbread for bourbon balls (don't ask - he hates coconut) so I was thinking I have to make some.

Rolling my eyes....

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