Happy National Shortbread Day!!  Really?  I just find these  National Food Holiday Lists fascinating.  Who puts these together?  Well – I’m not too proud to use these holiday lists to spark an idea.

I absolutely adore shortbread cookies.  The short texture, with all that butter makes me want to eat the whole sleeve.  My favorite store-bought version of those was Lorna Doones.  But, then I started thinking about my favorite airline – Delta.  (You’ll get the connection in a minute.)  It’s not my favorite airline because they have the most spacious seats or anything.  It’s truly only related to the fact that they give out those amazing cookies to everyone – not just the passengers in first class.  And, if you’re lucky, the person next you doesn’t want theirs (not truly likely) and you get TWO packs of Biscoff Cookies – which is the ultimate version of a shortbread cookie.

And, it doesn’t end there.  Because Lotus, the company that makes Biscoff, then turned it into the best Cookie Spread ever.  Of course, Trader Joe’s has their version of it, Speculoos Cookie Butter, which seems to have a cult-like following.

So, what is all the fuss about? Oh My Goodness – first of all the texture is divine.  The high ratio of butter to flour in this cookie makes, what bakers refer to, as a ‘short’ dough.  Basically the fat interferes with the protein structure so it can’t become elastic.  Of course, in gluten free doughs, there is no gluten to form an elastic structure, but you get some of that from the xanthan.  So, what you get is this perfectly flaky, crisp cookie.

Next comes the flavor.  I’ve heard some refer to the spices in this cookie as similar to a ginger snap.  But, there is no ginger in speculoos.  The spice that reminds people of ginger snaps is cardamom – a common ginger snap ingredient.  If you want more info on this, the world’s third most expensive spice, take a look at what I had to say about it in this prior post here.  So, the cardamom combined with lots of quality cinnamon and cloves is what gives this cookie it’s unique spice personality.

So, my end goal here is to make divinely decadent Speculoos Cookie Butter, but first things first.  We need to make the Speculoos.  I started by going to my “go to” Pastry Book that I’ve used since I went to culinary school – Professional Baking by Wayne Gisslen.  I have the Sixth Edition.  Not sure if there’s a later one.  But, all I know is that every recipe in this book simply works.  Unlike some that I’ve bought from well-known people where not many do.  So, his recipe for Speculoos is close to classic shortbread, but he has one departure – it includes an egg.  Hmmm?

Then I went to another of my favorite classic books – The Fannie Farmer Baking Book by Marion Cunningham.  Also a must have book in your library of books.  Well, her book doesn’t have speculoos, but it does contain several different versions of shortbread.  I settled on her recipe called Shortenin’ Bread because it contains brown sugar and Biscoff has a caramel hint to it.  So, I had to see what the difference between the two was.

So, I converted both recipes to gluten free.  And, after two batches of each with some tweaks, I have to say that each of them is great and you can’t go wrong with either.    The Fannie Farmer version allows all the spices to come through, whereas the Wayne Gisslen version contains confectioner’s sugar and that cornstarch in the confectioner’s sugar seems to slightly  mask the flavor of the spices. That could be solved by increasing each of the spices a bit, but I ran out of time to try it one more time – National Shortbread Day is fast approaching, after all.  I’d recommend you make it the way it’s listed first and see what you think before increasing spices though.

I’m going to list both recipes.  You might want to go with the Fannie Farmer version (Version 2) since it doesn’t contain egg.  But, as I said, both of them are fabulous.

Deb Farina

Yields 48

Gluten Free Speculoos (aka Biscoff) Cookies

Speculoos, Speculaas – This Dutch spiced shortbread is traditionally served just before the St. Nicholas feast in Belgium and the Netherlands. This was made famous by Lotus brand Biscoff – delicious!

30 minPrep Time

20 minCook Time

50 minTotal Time

 

 

Ingredients

Version 1
    • 1/2 pound (8 ounces) Butter, unsalted, room temperature
    • 1 and 1/2 cups (6.5 ounces) Confectioner’s Sugar
    • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) granulated sugar
    • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
    • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
    • 1.25 ounces (1 small) whole egg (this is less than 1 large egg which usually weighs 2 ounces)
    • 1-1/2 teaspoon guar gum or 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
    • 2 and 1/2 cups (11 ounces) GF Farina All Purpose Flour Blend
Version 2
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) butter, unsalted, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (4.25 ounces) light brown sugar
  • 2 and 1/4 cups (9.9 ounces) Gluten Free Farina All Purpose Flour Mix
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons guar gum or 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 and 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom

Instructions

Version 1
    1. Preheat oven to 400F.
    2. Place butter, confectioner’s sugar and granulated sugar in bowl of electric mixer. Mix on low until combined. Do not whip until light.
    3. Add lemon zest and spices.
    4. Add egg and mix just until combined.
    5. Measure gum and flour into a separate bowl and stir to combine.
    6. Add to butter mixture. Mix 1 to 2 minutes until mixture comes together.
    7. Remove mixture from bowl and wrap in plastic wrap. Let rest at room temperature 5 minutes before rolling.
    8. Divide dough in half and roll out between 2 pieces of parchment to a 1/4″ thickness.
    9. Use cookie cutter to cut shapes and place on parchment-lined cookie sheet 1/2 to 1 inch apart.
    10. With the tines of a fork, pierce each cookie 3 times allowing the tines of the fork to touch the sheet tray.
    11. Bake 15 to 20 minutes until cookies are browned.
    12. Let rest on cookie sheet 2 to 3 minutes before moving to cooling rack.
    13. Store in sealed container. Can keep at room temperature for 3 to 5 days. For longer storage, freeze for up to 6 months.
Version 2
  1. Cream Butter and brown sugar in bowl of electric mixer.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, xanthan, lemon zest and spices.
  3. Add to butter mixture. Mix 1 to 2 minutes until mixture comes together.
  4. Remove mixture from bowl and wrap in plastic wrap. Let rest at room temperature 5 minutes before rolling.
  5. Divide dough in half and roll out between 2 pieces of parchment to a 1/4″ thickness.
  6. Use cookie cutter to cut shapes and place on parchment-lined cookie sheet 1/2 to 1 inch apart.
  7. With the tines of a fork, pierce each cookie 3 times allowing the tines of the fork to touch the sheet tray.
  8. Bake 15 to 20 minutes until cookies are browned.
  9. Let rest on cookie sheet 2 to 3 minutes before moving to cooling rack.
  10. Store in sealed container. Can keep at room temperature for 3 to 5 days. For longer storage, freeze for up to 6 months.
7.8.1.2
171

http://glutenfreefarina.com/2016/01/06/gluten-free-speculoos-aka-biscoff-cookies/

So, I have my favorite – Version 2.  I would love to hear from you as to which one you tried and how you liked it.

 

And, now I just can’t wait until next week where we tackle the C.o.o.k.i.e.  B.u.t.t.e.r!!!  I’ve seen quite a few different versions of this as well, but, here’s a hint where I’m headed – Organic Coconut Butter.  I love that stuff and can eat it right out of the jar.  It’s embarrassing.

Until next week, Mangia!  Mangia!  xoxo

 

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