Visiting my mother for the weekend is the perfect occasion to adapt and bake her Orange Shortbread…Dairy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Orange Shortbread.
My mother’s Orange Shortbread is my childhood favourite holiday cookie.
I looked forward to the day she would bake it each year!
The combination of orange and light brown sugar slightly browned so as to give it that toasted caramelized flavour…divine! Makes my mouth water just thinking about it!
My mother would bake her Orange Shortbread only at Christmas time. It was often baked and then wrapped up and gifted to friends…much to my chagrin!
In fact, to tease me, she has one sitting on the counter, all wrapped up and ready to be delivered to a family friend.
A special one would be made for those occasions when friends stopped in for tea. I would savour each bite…slowly eating away at a slice, saving the best till last…the toasty edge!
Butter enthusiasts would cringe at the thought of replacing butter in a shortbread! Sacrilege…they would say!
Well, what if you have a dairy allergy? What is a shortbread lover to do?
Not to worry…one simply replaces the butter with an Earth Balance vegan spread.
Dairy and Soy allergy? It’s your lucky day…Earth Balance has a dairy and soy free vegan spread available too.
In fact, I was hoping to make this Orange Shortbread, dairy and soy free. I wanted to gift it to our family friend’s son who has a dairy and soy allergy. Unfortunately, there is not a store in my mom’s home town that sells it. Back home, my Foodland sells it. (Kicking myself for not purchasing it ahead of time) Upon calling the nearest Foodland in town, they were willing to look into getting it in for me. Good to know, however, I needed it pronto.
Know that this recipe can be adapted to be both dairy and soy free. Ask your local grocery store…in my experience, I have found most grocery stores willing to bring in products that their customers request.
This recipe hails from an oldy but goody recipe book that my mother has been referring to for years…Hamlyn All Colour Cook Book. Flipping through it this weekend, brought back many childhood memories of recipes I would covet. Don’t be surprised to find me adapting more recipes from this treasure!
Dairy (Soy) Free Orange Shortbread
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rice flour
4 tbsp light brown sugar
1/2 cup Earth Balance (Soy Free for a soy free version)
grated zest of 1 orange
granulated sugar for sprinkling
In a large bowl, cream Earth Balance.
Add sugar and cream until light and fluffy.
Stir in the orange rind.
In another bowl, combine the two flours.
Love my mother’s Pyrex bowls she received as a shower gift in 1963!
She still has the set of three…in perfect shape! They bring back so many childhood baking memories!
Add the flour a tablespoon at a time to the creamed mixture.
Stir flour in until combined.
Roll dough into a ball and place on a parchment lined or silicone pad lined cookie sheet.
Roll dough into a 8 inch circle, pinching the edges and prick the shortbread with a fork.
Cut through into 12 sections with the back of a knife and sprinkle with granulated sugar.
Let chill in refrigerator for 15 minutes.
Bake at 335 F for 35 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool on baking tray for 10 minutes before cooling on cooling rack.
Enjoy with a spot of tea…or a slice of orange!
Tip: Dairy Free Orange Shortbread can be frozen.
Tip 2: Lee Valley sells a Scottish Shortbread Mold and a Snowflake Mold that could be used for this dough. Frankly, I prefer the more homemade, rustic look and the memories that come with it. Besides, it’s something to look forward to using next year with another adapted shortbread recipe!
Tip 3: When baking at my mother’s, I leave a few ‘safe’ baking items behind just for such an occasion when I need to make an allergen free baked good. The silicone mat and rolling pin are only used by me and kept aside from my mother’s kitchen utensils. (I keep a stash of my baking gear in the basement)
The bamboo spoons, bowls, utensils and the cooling racks can all be sanitized in the dishwasher for safe use. I highly recommend bamboo spoons. They are resilient to constant water exposure and will outlast any wooden spoon…worth the investment!
P.S. Do you have a holiday favourite cookie that brings back childhood memories?
P.P.S. To follow tradition…this Dairy Free Orange Shortbread is going to be gifted…I am giving it to a family that is trying to eliminate dairy from their diet. A nice treat for the holidays for them to share with family and friends.