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Thursday, October 4, 2012


It's 5 years and 4 days since we emigrated to New Zealand. That's 5 very long years when there's no shortbread.

Rewind to Monday ~ at the supermarket I noticed they now have packs of rice flour (ground rice to us Brits). Imagine my excitement.

Now everyone who bakes shortbread knows that this is the 'special' ingredient that adds the satisfying crunch and texture to the biscuit. When baked without ~ well that just isn't shortbread to me. It's too soft and cloying in the mouth.

I bought some after scrutinizing the label to make sure it didn't contain any gelatine or other suspect additions as is often the case.

So what did I make on Tuesday morning?

Here's my recipe:

115g soft butter (unsalted)
55g caster sugar 
A good pinch of salt
130g plain flour
40g ground rice/rice flour

1. Pre-heat the oven to 150C. Put the butter into a large mixing bowl, and beat with a wooden spoon until soft. Beat in the sugar and salt.
2. Sift over the flour and ground rice and mix to a smooth dough; it should come together nicely. If not add a little more butter.
3. Shape the dough into a log, about 2" in diameter. Roll in baking paper and chill for at least an hour.
4. Cut into slices just over 1 cm thick and place on a baking tray lined with paper. Leave a space as they will spread slightly. Bake for 25-30 minutes until they feel firm but are still very pale.
5. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes then transfer to a wire rack. Once cold they will last for a good few days in an airtight container, unless you eat them all quickly of course.
Makes about 24 biscuits.
I often add flavourings such as grated lemon rind, finely chopped preserved ginger, chopped dried cranberries with orange rind, lavender flowers, macadamia nuts or drizzle a little melted chocolate over the tops. But sometimes, like today, I just want them plain to remind myself of what I have been missing. 
I can predict what will happen next ~ in a few days the rice flour stock will be totally gone and will never get refilled. When you ask about it at the store they will say 'there's no call for it' even though there obviously is. I've noticed this happens a lot here. That's why I bought 6 bags. Now I'm off to eat shortbread.........


  1. Rice flour is much more readily available now that the awareness of gluten free cooking is increasing. I can get it at my local supermarket, Bin Inn and also at any good Asian grocery store.

    1. I got it in Countdown and that's the first time I've seen it. Hope they keep it in stock :-)