Shortbread biscuits are a favourite in my house and so this had to be something I could bake using gluten free ingredients. The shop bought shortbread biscuits are not bad but they simply are not the same as home made.
My first couple of attempts were very tasty but even when I chilled the mixture first, the biscuits spread uncontrollably and I was left with paper thin biscuits that crumbled as soon as you looked at them. My husband declared they were delicious but he was forced to eat them with a spoon out of a plastic pot. Not an ideal situation when taking a packed lunch.
I then set to work experimenting with my myriad of flours. The main problem with gluten free flours is that they do not absorb the fat in recipes. This results in crumbly greasy biscuits. Cornflour is lovely and light but tasteless whereas ground rice has absorbency but is more gritty so why not use equal quantities and get the best of both. I had seen a recipe that used maize meal and so I added some of this. This added a little texture and also colour. I knew that potato starch helps to bind things and so added a tablespoon of this. I have no idea if this is what stopped the shortbread crumbling, but have not had the nerve to try it without as yet.
Then there was the problem of the biscuits spreading. I got round this by making the shortbread in a tin. I lined the tin with baking parchment to make it easier to get the shortbread out without breaking it up. Finally I chilled it for half an hour and then left it in the tin until completely cold. The result as you can see is wonderful shortbread.
The first shortbread I made was plain vanilla, but the above is cherry and I will be trying other variations in the future. I took a piece, in a plastic pot, and carried to work and back for a couple of days and it stayed intact and so it was declared a complete success.