Buttery Lemon Shortbread with Christmas Cranberries
Who doesn't love a crispy biscuit with a cup of tea when you come off the beach on a summer's afternoon?
These tasty little morsels don't require much of an introduction, except to say a. they are scrumptious and b. they make a mighty fine gift; a "just a thought" gift for neighbours, such as my elderly neighbour Betty, who each week beats me to my rubbish bins. Betty became the recipient of these biscuits for her simple act of kindness which never goes unappreciated.
You will need:
2 cups almond meal*
1/3 cup rice malt syrup
1/3 cup dried cranberries (no added sugars or additives), finely chopped
3 tablespoons grass fed organic unsalted butter**
1 tablespoon tapioca flour (or arrowroot or potato starch)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
Rind of 1 lemon, finely grated
Preheat the oven to 150 degrees C. Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Roll the dough to 0.5cm thickness between two sheets of baking paper. Use cookie cutters to press fun Christmas shapes into the dough and then carefully transfer the shapes to the prepared baking tray. You will need to repeat this process a few times.
Place the shortbread into the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes. Keep a watchful eye, the almond meal in these biscuits makes them susceptible to burning. You may need to rotate the baking tray at approximately 8-10 minutes in if you have 'hot spots' in your oven.
Remove from oven once golden. Note that the shortbread will be a little soft and somewhat chewy looking, they will firm up as they cool.
* Make your own almond meal by placing blanched whole almonds into a high-powered food processor. If you make your own, be sure that the final result is smooth and not at all grainy.
** Salted grass fed butter may also be used if you have this on hand, simply adjust the salt in the recipe to taste. You may also like to experiment with using coconut oil instead of butter. If you do please do let us know how you go in the comments below.
The consensus is the dough is quite wet. Ours was too, we made our shortbread dough this way to ensure the cookies would be super moist and not too dry and crumbly. That said, an extra 1 tablespoon of tapioca flour dusted onto the baking sheets before you roll the dough out wouldn't go astray. You may also like to refrigerate the dough prior to rolling, to assist with it being a little more solid to work with. Refrigeration will make cutting the cookie shapes into the dough easier.
Also, coconut oil instead of grass fed butter appears to be a winner. Love the feedback everyone, keep it coming!