Gluten and Dairy Free Shortbread

Yesterday I was one of several cooks helping make dinner for the 60+ guests at the St Andrews Society of the Netherlands Burns Ceilidh. After a meal of “haggis, neeps and tatties”, we were planning to have Scottish shortbread with our coffee, so I decided to make a gluten and dairy-free version too.

My recipe is based on this recipe from Doves Farm, although I’ve found their temperature too hot and I needed to turn the oven down slightly. Also because butter plays a key role in the flavour of the biscuit, I have added an extra flavour, preserved ginger, to distract the palate from the inadequacies of margarine.

I’ve found in pastry and cookies, it is better to use a dedicated baking margarine if possible for a more buttery flavour and texture. Stork is the best option I have found but it isn’t available here so I have to import it from the UK. When my stocks of Stork run out, BlueBand Cake & Koekjes is the best local alternative, but it does have a small amount of milk in it – so it isn’t suitable for everyone.

Gluten and Dairy-Free Shortbread


  • 4 pieces of preserved stem ginger in syrup
  • 200g Gluten Free plain flour
  • 75g caster sugar
  • ¼ tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp water
  • 150g margarine


Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC (375F)

Grease an 8″ (20cm) round cake tin and line the base. (I use my sponge cake tin.)

Take the ginger pieces out of the syrup and put them in a blender or food processor and pulse to chop finely.

Add the flour, caster sugar, salt and baking powder to the ginger and pulse again to mix thoroughly.

Add the water and butter and blitz in the food processor until it forms a dough.

Press the dough into the base of the tin. Score the dough into 12 pieces and prick over with a fork.

Bake for 20 minutes at 180ºC , then remove from the oven and re-score the lines with a sharp knife. Re-prick the dough with a fork in the same places as previously.

Bake for a further 20 minutes.

Allow to cool for 20 minutes before turning out of the tin.

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