The holidays turn me into a baking fiend, it’s true. All I want to do is listen to Vince Guaraldi’s A Charlie Brown Christmas, dance “Peanuts-style” and make treats for friends and family—it makes me happy in the simplest way.
I worked out a recipe last weekend for assorted Oat Flour Shortbreads (I couldn’t decide on just one flavor combo, so I made four) but I wasn’t so sure I’d be able to share it with YU before the holidays were here—it’s a busy time for all of us and these posts take time! But I’ve been thinking about New Year’s Resolutions lately, and how instead of making explicit goals for 2013, that I would like to choose a handful of feelings I’d like to experience more and more and more in the new year. Kinda like more “Peanuts-style happy”…
I like the idea of asking myself here and there (not in a militant, unrealistic sense) as I go throughout the day, “…am I doing what makes me truly happy?” And if I’m not, to adjust what I am doing so I can find joy in it. Pronto. If I’m working towards a deadline and I’m frustrated with the pressure, or from staring at the computer screen for hours, take a tea break. If I wake up and don’t feel like running, then put on my favorite music or podcast and go for a long walk instead. This approach leaves room for a variety of changes to be made in a more connected and thoughtful way because, either I’m experiencing a certain feeling, or I’m not. It’s not about the task, it’s about the feeling. I’ll share more about my thoughts regarding this approach in the New Year, but this “will I have time to post this shortbread recipe” dilemma falls into this new approach.
I reached out to you all on Facebook asking if you wanted me to share this recipe sooner than later, and as usual, your enthusiasm rocked, so yes. Here it is. The saying is so true—if it’s important to you, you will find time, if not, you will find an excuse. Sharing with YU makes me “Peanuts-happy.” It’s simple. So here goes.
Rolling pin or sturdy, smooth drinking glass
Unbleached parchment paper
Coffee grinder (optional)
2 1/2″-3″ circle cookie cutter (optional)
Glass nesting bowls
Sifter or fine mesh metal strainer
Try to buy everything organic. Here’s why.
1 3/4 cup brown rice flour
1 3/4 cup gluten-free oat flour (make sure you find truly gluten-free if you have a sensitivity)
3/4 tsp fine ground sea salt
1 tsp arrowroot
3/4 cup sucanat
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp coconut oil (room temp and soft)
1 tsp vanilla
Sugar-free apricot jam
1/8 tsp ground cardamom
Toasted Almond & Orange
2 tbsp raw almonds
1 tsp orange zest
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 cup dried cherries, chopped into tiny pieces
1/4 cup dairy-free vegan chocolate bar, chopped into tiny pieces
Let’s get started.
If you have a coffee grinder use it to grind your sucanat into a fine powder.
You can also borrow a coffee grinder from a friend, or skip this step altogether. Just know that the ground sucanat makes a more smooth, cracker-like traditional shortbread, and un-ground will have a tad more crunch and rustic texture (see the Naturally Dyed Sugar Cookie post for a pic of unground sucanat).
Now, sift together brown rice flour, oat flour, salt, arrowroot and sucanat.
Preheat oven to 350°F. While you prepare dough, chop and toast your almonds on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 5-7 minutes. Set aside to cool.
In a small bowl, fold together coconut oil and vanilla.
Using hands, work the coconut oil mixture into the sifted dry ingredients until a dough forms. As you work the dough, the coconut oil will heat up and everything should bind together well.
Divide dough into four equal size balls.
Let’s start with Apricot Thumbprints: Take one ball of dough and pinch off enough to roll a 1″ ball. Place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and, using your thumb, press into the dough to create a pool for jam. Repeat until dough is ready for jam.
Using a spoon, fill your pool with apricot jam.
Place in the oven (set a timer) to bake for 10 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet and cool (I usually slide the parchment off the cookie sheet onto a countertop or table). While you are baking, you can move onto the next cookie flavor.
Cocoa Cherry Shortbread: Chop your dried cherries into teeny tiny pieces—like nibs.
Now, place a ball of dough into a bowl and add cocoa. Using hands, work it into the dough completely.
Then work in cherry pieces. Lay out a piece of parchment and place the dough on top. Place another piece of parchment on top of dough and roll out to about 1/4″ thick. Peel back top parchment and use your Chef’s knife to cut and shape a rectangle. Press Chef’s knife down into unbaked dough to create vertical and horizontal lines/shapes (I like rectangles) for your cookies.
Bake in the oven for 10 minutes and remove from cookie sheet to cool. Use knife to trace the pre-cut lines, and free your cookie shapes.
Chopped Chocolate Shortbread: Chop up your chocolate bar into small pieces.
Work them into a ball of dough, and roll out using the parchment-on-top-of-dough technique listed above. Use your Chef’s knife to form a rectangle—cut in shapes (I like squares for these). Add some detail with a fork. Bake for 10 minutes, remove from cookie sheet to cool.
Prepare your zest, and make sure toasted almonds are in nice, small pieces. Work them into the last ball of dough.
Use the parchment-on-top-of-dough technique listed above to roll out dough and use a small, round cookie cutter (or a shot glass like I did) to cut circles. Using an offset spatula or butter knife, lift out shapes and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Keep rolling out scraps of dough until you use it all up. Bake for 10 minutes, remove from cookie sheet to cool.
Pretty Toasted Almond & Orange Shortbread…
… rich, Cocoa & Cherry Shortbread…
… lovely Apricot Thumbprint Shortbread…
… and sweet Chopped Chocolate Shortbread make for great giftin’! Find a cute vintage tin (line with parchment) and make someone happy with healthy treat options this season.
Store in an airtight glass container in the fridge or in a cool place out of the sun for up to one week.
Have a lovely, “Peanuts-happy” holiday everyone!
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Do you like this recipe?
Be a doll and Tweet about it, Pin it and/or share it on Facebook (I bet some folks out there in the world will be thankful YU did).
Sharing rules, and I sure do appreciate it.
And because I love YU…
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