From my humble corner of the web to yours, I hope these buttery and light gluten-free 3 ingredient shortbread cookies wrap you in all kinds of warmth and cheer in these uncertain times.
My household is erring on the side of caution and diligently following social distancing. But being cooped up is starting to get to some of us (read: me). So, I thought, why not bake something that adds cheer and pleasant flavours to life.
Gluten-free shortbread cookies were the obvious answer. All the ingredients were right there in the pantry, so I didn’t even need a grocery store stop! But as ever, I gave the recipe an extra Tasha twist.
Thinking what can you do with a classic shortbread cookie recipe? At the most, chuck in some vanilla extract to give it an upgrade? Well, let me tell you that you can do more*. Much more**.
How to Make 3 ingredient Gluten-Free Shortbread Cookies?
The basic shortbread cookie recipe uses just three ingredients. The butter that makes it melt in the mouth. The icing sugar that gives the deceptively simple cookies a sweet touch. And flour, that offers the nutty and utterly delicious hint.
Start with softened, salted buttered and whip in icing sugar until the mixture is fluffy. The key is not to use melted butter, not cold butter, but just softened butter. And if you have unsalted butter lying at home, simply add salt to the dough.
Next throw in vanilla bean paste and almond extract. If you don’t have vanilla bean paste, extract works just as well. The almond extract is more* part of my recipe. It is a totally optional step, but it does give the shortbread cookies an oomph.
Last to go in is the flour to form a buttery dough. As you know, I gave all-purpose flour the pink-slip some time ago. Amaranth flour has been the go-to option since I had a bunch of it sitting in my pantry. You can use any flour you prefer.
What’s the difference?
Besides the fact that amaranth is gluten-free, it is the texture. Shortbread cookies made of all-purpose flour have a smooth feel to them. With amaranth, you get a lovely texture that just adds to the tad soft, nutty feel.
Baking the shortbread cookies
Use your hands to pull the dough together gently and form a pliable dough. Divide it into two, wrap it in foil and then plonk it in the fridge. Once the dough hardens slightly, roll it out between two sheets of parchment / baking /wax paper.
The sheets are a necessary saviour because gluten-free dough is very crumbly. The paper keeps it together and stops you from messing the prep area with oodles of flour flying everywhere. To cut the cookies, use a cookie cutter or a bottle cap – take your pick. Then let the oven do the work.
Gluten-free shortbread cookies bake really fast but are very fragile when piping hot. They will crumble if you remove them from the tray straight out of the oven. So, let them cool for a bit and then prettify.
Serving the 3 ingredient gluten-free shortbread cookies
The straightforward combination of flour, sugar and butter makes them pretty simple to bake. That doesn’t mean your hands are tied, though.
The basic recipe whips up a sort-of blank canvas that you can garnish to your heart’s content. Especially when there’s lemon glaze and edible flowers to be had! This is much more** part of my recipe.
To make a thick glaze, mix the icing sugar with lemon juice. Put half a teaspoon of it right in the middle of the cookie and then place a delicate edible flower on top.
Do not, I repeat, do not try to bake the shortbread cookies with the flowers. That way lies disaster. I and the charred flowers littering my kitchen floor can attest to it.
Why decorate with the flowers, in the first case?
The added zing of lemon and the floral note pair exceptionally well with the buttery soft shortbread cookies. When you serve them with a cup of tea, it is like a garden on your plate – full of the joys of spring. Also, it helped that I had a boxful of beautiful organic, fresh from a farm, edible flowers lying in my fridge.
If you don’t have fresh edible flowers available, you can sprinkle some dried rose petals or dried lavender on top. Some lemon zest on top of the glaze will look very pretty and add tons of flavor. Just plain glaze works well as does just the plain cookie.
A dip in melted chocolate is an appealing thought, right?!
These tender, buttery, melt in your mouth cookies are very very addictive. Decorated or not, these have a tendency to disappear rather quickly!
Two extra variations for you:
Shortbread cookies are masterpieces for the cookie-jar, which is why I love to have them at hand always. When you’ve had your heart’s fill with these floral shortbread ones and are hankering for good old chocolate, give the Gluten-free Mocha Shortbread Cookies a shot. For a lovely dose of good cheer, you can also try the Almond Buckwheat Linzer Cookies.
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