FODMAP Friendly Christmas Recipe – Shortbread Biscuits

Gluten free & low FODMAP shortbread - yum

It’s that time of year again! Crack out the tinsel, put on your Chrissy hats and get ready for temptation from all corners. Fa la la la luck. At times like this, I just have to remind myself what will happen if I tuck into a traditional mince tart and walk around with blinders on.

Christmas is my favourite time to bake. Not only do I get to make gingerbread (one of my favourite things, ever) or other types of biscuits (cookies), I get to spend time decorating them and generally being crafty. I love it but I was concerned that going wheat free would ruin my fun.

Fear not, though, as shortbread will come to your rescue. This recipe will produce buttery, crumbly, sweet biscuits that taste and look just like the real thing. Your family and/or co-workers will be none-the-wiser when it comes to your Christmas party contribution.

Oh and here’s a nifty trick – use this as a gluten free biscuit pastry base for any sweet tarts you’d like to make, just roll it out to 5 mm thick and blind bake for approx. 10 minutes at 190 C, until lightly golden. Easy!

FODMAP Notes

  1. Be sure that you use BOTH a gluten free flour blend (or spelt flour, if you can tolerate it) and white rice flour – both their properties are required in this recipe, so using 100% white rice flour wouldn’t give the best results.
  2. Use coconut oil instead of butter for a dairy free biscuit.

Low FODMAP and Gluten Free Shortbread

Makes approx. 30-40 biscuits, depending on size.

  • 1 cup dextrose or 3/4 cup castor sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups/300 g softened unsalted butter/coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup gluten free flour blend
  • 1/2 cup white rice flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup gluten free flour
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum or 1 tbsp. ground chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Sieve the sugar, 3/4 cup gluten free flour blend and 1/2 cup white rice flour into the bowl of your stand mixer and add in the butter, then beat on a low to medium speed until smooth.

Meanwhile, sieve the second cup each of gluten free flour blend and white rice flour, the xanthan gum (or ground chia seeds), baking powder and salt into a separate bowl.

When the wet mixture is smooth, scrape down the edges and add in the egg. Beat on medium until it is smooth once more, before adding in the rest of the dry ingredients and mixing thoroughly for 5 minutes. Wrap the mixture tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour before you want to bake them.

When you’re ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 190 C/375 F and line two or three baking trays with baking paper before rolling the dough out to approx. 2 cm (3/4 in) thickness. Cut the biscuits into 2 cm by 4 cm rectangles, or use your favourite cookie cutters to make fancier shapes and use a fork to poke holes, if you wish.

Shortbread

Bake for approx. 15 minutes, until the bottoms have browned slightly but the biscuits are still soft to the touch while warm – they will harden as they cool. I normally bake in shifts, with no more than two trays in my oven at the one time, or the heat will not circulate properly – if your oven has a fan mode, you might be able to back more at once. Just do whatever works best for your oven.

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Once the biscuits have cooled to room temperature, store them in airtight containers in the pantry for up to five days, until they are required. They do last longer but will taste a little stale – it’s best to serve them before the five day mark.

Enjoy them with a nice cup of tea and seasonal fruit – in Australia this would mean fresh summer berries, as the closest thing we have had to a white Christmas was an hail storm on Christmas morning 2006 that left a nice covering of white hail stones all over the ground. In Seattle, you might be lucky enough to get a white Christmas but they unfortunately don’t come with seasonal low FODMAP fruits – apples, anyone? – so we’d have to spread on some preserves like a strawberry freezer jam.

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Shortbread Pastry – FODMAP/Fructose Friendly & Gluten Free

Shortbread Pastry - Gluten Free and FODMAP, Fructose Friendly

If you’re after a pastry that is quick and easy to whip up and not *too* fiddly (compared to typical gluten free pastry), then look no further. This slightly sweet, buttery and delightfully crumbly pastry will do the trick.

These tart shells will keep (once baked) in an airtight container in the pantry for about five days, before they start to go stale, so they are great to make ahead and then fill on the day you are planning to serve them.

I highly recommend this lemon curd or this passion fruit cream cheese as a filling. This pastry would also suit any Christmas style baking, as shortbread is definitely seasonally appropriate! I am working on a fructose friendly fruit mince pie recipe as we speak, so stay tuned…

Notes:

  1. Be sure that you use BOTH a gluten free flour blend (or spelt flour, if you can tolerate it) and white rice flour – both their properties are required in this recipe, so using 100% white rice flour wouldn’t give the best results.
  2. Use coconut oil instead of butter for a dairy free biscuit.

Low FODMAP and Gluten Free Shortbread

Makes approx. 60 mini tartlet shells, or two 23 cm/9 in shells.

  • 1 cup dextrose or 3/4 cup castor sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups/300 g softened unsalted butter/coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup gluten free flour blend
  • 1/2 cup white rice flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup gluten free flour
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum or 1 tbsp. ground chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Sieve the sugar, 3/4 cup gluten free flour blend and 1/2 cup white rice flour into the bowl of your stand mixer and add in the butter, then beat on a low to medium speed until smooth.

Meanwhile, sieve the second cup each of gluten free flour blend and white rice flour, the xanthan gum (or ground chia seeds), baking powder and salt into a separate bowl.

When the wet mixture is smooth, scrape down the edges and add in the egg. Beat on medium until it is smooth once more, before adding in the rest of the dry ingredients and mixing thoroughly for 5 minutes. Wrap the mixture tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour before you want to bake them.

When you’re ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 190 C/375 F and then generously flour your work area. Break the dough into 6 and sandwich it between two layers of wax paper. Roll it out to about 4 mm thick (for small tarts) or 6 mm thick (for full-sized tarts) and gently transfer it to your chosen tart pan/pie dish.

Baking:

  • To blind bake these miniature shells, cook at 190 C until lightly golden – this should take about 10-12 minutes; I normally set the timer for 10 minutes and then watch it for the next two. Cook larger shells for approx. 15 minutes, but keep an eye on them.
  • To bake with a filling in, blind bake for 3 minutes, then use the pastry according to the recipe you are following.

Gluten Free Shortbread Pastry Collage

If you baked your pastry with the filling inside, the tarts will be done when they are removed from the oven. Serve them as instructed.

If your pastry was blind baked until completely cooked, let them cool to room temperature and store in an airtight container for up to five days and fill them with the topping of your choice when required.

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From left to right: lemon curd, chocolate hazelnut and passion fruit cream cheese – all are delicious, though the lemon curd is my favourite. Enjoy!

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Spelt Shortbread Pastry – FODMAP & Fructose Friendly

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After discovering that I could tolerate spelt pasta, I looked into buying the flour to use in recipes in place of gluten free flours, for both price and performance reasons – although I have figured out my own gluten free flour blend, because I don’t want to push myself too much with spelt and rye flour in case I go too far. At approximately $3/lb the white spelt flour (Vita Spelt) from Amazon is much cheaper than pre-made gluten free flours, although the average of the flours that I bought to try out my own gluten free flour blend was about $2.50/lb, much better than King Arthur gluten free flour’s price of $7/lb!

After researching online, it appears that spelt tends to perform the same as wheat in most circumstances (breads might be a little tricky as spelt has different gluten than modern wheat) but a shortbread pastry shouldn’t pose a problem so I fructose friendlied up a shortbread pastry recipe from my Beechworth Bakery cookbook, Secrets of the Beechworth Bakery. My book is about ten years old, so I’m not sure what recipes are in the current edition. But if you can have spelt or are proficient at making normal recipes gluten free, I highly recommend it. If nothing else, it is an enjoyable read as the recipes are mixed up with some humorous stories.

Notes:

  1. Spelt is an ancient form of wheat, called Triticum aestivum subsp. spelta. It contains gluten, although the ratio of gliadin:glutenin is higher than that in normal wheat. It behaves in much the same way as modern wheat does in baking.
  2. Spelt contains gluten, so it is not suitable for those with coeliacs disease.
  3. Spelt does contain fructans, although less than modern wheat. It isn’t tolerated by every fructose malabsorber but there are quite a few out there, myself included luckily, who can eat it without issue in varying amounts. Unfortunately it is something you will have to test for yourself.
  4. I increased the ratio of rice flour to spelt in this recipe to lower the fructan content even more.
  5. If you can’t find white spelt flour, just buy whole spelt flour and sift out the whole grain bits.

Shortbread Pastry

Makes 80 mini tart shells that are approx. 4-5 cm in diameter.

  • 1 cup dextrose or 3/4 cup castor sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups/300 g softened unsalted butter/coconut butter
  • 3/4 cup white spelt flour
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Sieve the sugar, 3/4 cup spelt flour and 1/2 cup rice flour into the bowl of your stand mixer and add in the butter, then beat on a low to medium speed until smooth.

Meanwhile, sieve the second cup each of spelt and rice flour, the xanthan gum, baking powder and salt into a separate bowl.

When the wet mixture is smooth, scrape down the edges and add in the egg. Beat on medium until it is smooth once more, before adding in the rest of the dry ingredients and mixing thoroughly for 5 minutes.

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Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour before rolling it out for use.

Preheat your oven to 190 C/375 F. Roll out the pastry dough; the thickness that you roll it out to will be determined by the diameter of your pie dish. For these mini tarts I kept it at about 3 mm thick but for a bigger tart I would probably go up to 5 mm thick. Grease your tart dish of choice and then carefully lay the pastry down.

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Blind bake the pastry (with baking paper and pie weights/uncooked rice). These small tart shells were perfect after 9 minutes in the oven but a larger tart shell might need a minute or two longer. As this is a biscuit pastry, you don’t want the shells to be completely firm when they come out of the oven or they will be like rocks when they have cooled. If they are slightly soft to the touch then they will cool down to be deliciously crumbly.

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Fill your tart shells with some delicious fillings. The photo below includes my fruit and custard, chocolate hazelnut and passion fruit blueberry fillings. The passion fruit filling is my personal favourite.

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