Just when I think that there’s no time for cookies, I remember shortbread.
It may be the only cookie you ever need. Go classic with minimalist bars, roll it into balls and dab with jam for thumbprints, use it as a bar cookie base for just about any topping you can dream of (I can fantasize endlessly on this topic), or play with endless add-in possibilities and permutations including spices, extracts, chopped chocolates, zests, nuts and seeds.
Thank you, shortbread, for all that you do.
And thank you, British Isles, for this brilliant, baking invention.
This dandy version has Scottish flair, relying on oats that have been ground to a fine flour, plus a bit of rice flour (the latter is the secret to yielding a crisp-tender texture). You can buy ready-made oat flour, or grind your own in a high-speed blender, handheld coffee grinder, or food processor. It will take about 1-1/3 to 1-1/2 cups of rolled oats to yield 1 cup of fine oat flour. So long as you use certified gluten-free oats, that makes this recipe your go-to gluten-free cookie, especially considering all of the options mentioned above.
The remaining ingredients–brown sugar, butter, salt, and rice flour (you can sub either cornstarch or potato starch)– are more than likely on hand. Which means you can make these anytime (an equally delightful and dangerous characteristic).
No need to unearth the stand-mixer for these cookies; simply cream the butter and sugar with a wooden spoon. (I’ve completed the calculations: you burn enough calories from 1 to 2 minutes of hand-mixing to equal one–perhaps two– cookies.)
As you nibble away on your finished results, don;t forget that you are doing your body some serious good. Oats are fiber-wonderful, true, but they also contain a range of antioxidants and plant chemicals that help keep the heart and arteries healthy, such as avenanthramides (a plant chemical with antibiotic properties), saponins and vitamin E. Boom.
My general observation is that kids love these cookies as much as adults; my particular experience indicates that these are favorites with both my 9-year-old and my husband alike.
- 3 cups oat flour (see note about grinding your own)
- ½ cup white rice flour (see note about other options)
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup packed dark brown sugar or coconut palm sugar
- Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, allowing paper to overhang on the sides (for removal of the shortbread).
- In a medium bowl whisk together the oat flour, rice flour and salt.
- In a large bowl, cream together (I used a wooden spoon) the butter and sugar until blended and somewhat fluffy. Add the flour mixture, stirring until combined (it may look slightly crumbly).
- Press dough evenly and firmly into prepared pan. Prick with a fork. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour or up to 1 day.
- Preheat oven to 325F.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes until shortbread is cooked through and pale golden. Cool completely in pan.
- Using paper overhang, carefully remove shortbread from pan; place on cutting board. Cut into 4 quarters; cut each quarter in half, then in half again, making 16 rectangles total.
*You can grind your own oat flour in a high-speed blender, food processor, or blade (not burr) coffee grinder. It will take about 1-1/2 to 1-1/2 cups of rolled oats to yield 1 cup of oat flour.