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Vegan Shortbread With Jam Jar Jess

Posted to Deliciously Unique by Jess on 20th August 2018

For this recipe we were lucky enough to be baking in Firefly, a traditional woodcutter's hut transformed into a luxury haven, hidden away in the heart of the Cornish countryside. The beautifully rustic interiors are built with natural materials, curious trinkets and an overwhelming sense of style and luxury. As we drove through the meandering back-roads and approached the property immersed in rural charm, it felt like we were on the set of a modern day Western!

I decided, this time, to make vegan shortbread. Not only are these little biscuits free from dairy and gluten, but free from refined sugar too! They’re really simple to make, and I definitely recommend making a double batch so that you can freeze some dough (or even better some pre-cut unbaked biscuits to have on reserve!) However, if they last long enough they will keep in an air tight jam jar in your kitchen for a week or two, no problem.

These shortbread are surprisingly easy, and unlike many of my recipes was a first time trial to make a vegan and gluten free biscuit in one go. Luckily I measured everything before hand as so many times I’ve cracked a recipe and forgotten to make note of how much I’ve used!

Ingredients

200ml soft coconut oil
200ml maple syrup
Pinch sea salt
Vanilla bean paste 
300g gluten free flour
100g ground almonds

Method

Begin by beating the coconut oil the same way you would cream butter for a biscuit recipe. I do this in my kitchen aid with the paddle attachment but you can easily do the same in a bowl with a wooden spoon, just ensure your coconut oil is nice and soft to start with. Next, stir in the maple syrup and vanilla bean paste until combined. Finally, add the flour, ground almond and sea salt and gently fold it all together or use the slow speed on your mixer. The sea salt is essential as it adds depth the same way salted butter would and alongside the vanilla it gives a delicious cookie dough flavour.

Once the mixture has all come together it will resemble a biscuit dough. Roll it into a sausage shape, then place in a airtight tub or cling wrap and put it into the fridge for a hour or two to firm up. 

When the dough is nicely chilled roll it out between two sheets of baking paper. This allows you to achieve a thin biscuit with a smooth and even finish without having to add more flour to stop them sticking. Work with half the dough at a time, leaving the rest in the fridge, as it’s easier to manage a smaller amount and it rolls out better when cool.

Once rolled to around 1/2 cm thick you can cut your desired shapes using a cookie cutter or free hand with a knife into classic shortbread rectangles.

Now for the fun part! Decorate your biscuits with any edible flowers and petals you have to hand. If you can’t get hold of any flowers you can always use herbs such as lavender or rosemary which look gorgeous and taste great.

In this recipe I used the flowers from the violas growing outside my kitchen window. I’m terrible at keeping even the hardiest of plants alive but these pretty blooms are thriving this year, each small plant producing around 20 flowers every couple of days! To ensure the flowers stick I flatten them slightly before placing on the biscuits, then gently squash them onto the surface. Dampening fingertips with cold water also helps them stick to the dough.

Bake in a preheated oven at 150C for 10-12 minutes. This low heat helps the flowers retain their colour and prevents them from scorching. Keep an eye on your biscuits as they are baking; as soon as they have they slightest colour on the edges, take them out to cool. They may seem uncooked at first, but will firm up once they have reached room temperature.

Enjoy as they are, with a cup of tea or, even better, with an earl grey cocktail!

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