Christmas Spiced Mini Shortbread Bites

 

vegan Christmas shortbread

I love the warm spices of Christmas, the gentle cosy hug of cinnamon, ginger and mixed spice. Not only do they make the house smell of Christmas while baking but they also make me feel like everything is right with the world. Well maybe that’s a bit much, but there’s definitely something emotionally warming with the subtle winters spices.

Since shortbread is such a great carrier of flavour and makes really yummy little biscuits I thought some spiced shortbread would go down a treat. I’ve made these extra Christmassy with red sprinkles and cut into bite sized morsels. They little sweet bites are perfect as a little snack with coffee, drinks or tea, or even as a homemade present. I think even Father Christmas might even like a few when he visits on Christmas Eve 🙂

egg-free, nut-free spiced shortbread

Christmas Spiced Mini Shortbread Bites

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

Christmas Spiced shortbread, dairy-free, egg-free

makes about 20

225g plain flour

75g soft brown sugar

150g dairy-free margarine

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp mixed spice

1/4 tsp salt

Christmassy sprinkles [optional]

  1. Heat the oven to 160 degrees centigrade/Gas mark 3
  2. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment – Stir the sugar, spices and salt into the flour.
  3. Rub in the margarine with your fingertips (you need a light tough with shortbread). Squeeze together to form a crumbly dough.
  4. Roll out and then cover with the sprinkles. Roll out a little more and stamp out or cut out shapes. Place on the baking sheets and bake for 15 minutes.
  5. Cool on a wire rack.

dairy-free Christmas shortbread

Mango Chutney Crackers

mango chutney crackers, dairy-free

I don’t know where this idea came from, it just pretty much popped into my head when I was thinking of making my curried lentil soup the other day. Seemed logical to make something that would compliment the soup I was making, to match the spices. Something crisp and crunchy to go with smooth soup.

So I present these cracker shortbreads flavoured with sweet tangy mango chutney and cumin seeds. Not sure why I’ve never used mango chutney in any other cooking. They also make a nice cracker to serve with cheese (dairy-free or not, depending on your preferences and needs) or with a dip.

Mango Chutney Crackers

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

mango chutney crackers, vegan

Makes about 12

1 cup flour

1 1/2 tbsps dairy free margarine

2 tbsps mango chutney

1/2 tsp curry powder

Pinch of salt

Cumin seeds to sprinkle

  1. Rub the margarine into the flour, curry powder and salt until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  2. Add the mango chutney and gently bring together to form a soft dough
  3. Roll out and cut out shapes, sprinkle with cumin seeds.

chutney crackers4. Place on a lined baking sheet and bake at 180 degrees for 12 minutes 

egg-free chutney crackers

 

Brown Sugar Shortbread

IMG_5420 January needn’t be all austerity. A sweet treat now and then livens up any healthy eating plan; in fact I most crave sweet things when I’m trying to avoid them! These little shortbread cookies are ideal, you could almost convince yourself they’re a health food! 😉 The brown sugar ticks the avoid refined sugars box, shortbread is also less sweet than most baked goods ticking the worthy box and the fact they’re homemade ticks the avoid processed foods box. Perfect! By all means sprinkle the top with a little caster sugar to finish if you prefer not to use the roll out icing, but I just had to use my snowflake cutter before it got packed away in the Christmas box and they do look rather pretty!

Brown Sugar Shortbread (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan) IMG_5418   makes about 20

  • 225g plain flour
  • 75g soft brown sugar
  • 150g dairy-free spread
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Roll out icing or 1-2 tbsp caster sugar to finish

– Heat the oven to 160 degrees centigrade/Gas mark 3 – Line 2 baking sheets with parchment – Stir the sugar and salt into the flour – Rub in the spread with your fingertips (you need a light tough with shortbread) – Squeeze together to form a crumbly dough – Roll out and stamp out or cut out shapes – Place on the baking sheets – Bake for 15 minutes, then rotate the sheets and bake for a further 10 ( keep a close eye on them so they don’t burn) – Cool on a wire rack – If using caster sugar to decorate, sprinkle on whilst they’re still hot – If using roll out icing, wait until they’re cool and then attach it with a a paint of watery icing IMG_5419 IMG_5417

Passionfruit Shortbread

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You’re going to notice a distinctly fruity theme in my recipes over the next few weeks – all the early summer fruits are irresistible at the moment, so I’ve been buying tons of the beauties and they have to feature heavily in my recipes. Whilst English summer fruits will predominantly feature, sometimes I can’t ignore a tropical fruit. These passion fruits were so delightfully wrinkled and crinkled, screaming out their nectar-like sweetness, that they quickly found a home in my shopping basket.

As passionfruit is such a sublime flavour I thought it should be allowed to shine through. Here I’ve enhanced a basic shortbread recipe with passion fruit pulp to stunning effect, you really wouldn’t imagine what a flavour punch the pulp provides. By all means leave the seeds in if you fancy a bit of crunch, I opted to sieve them out as I knew they’d be more popular in this house that way.

Tip: It is essential to have a light touch with short bread and not overwork it – you want delicate crumbly biscuits not tough tooth breakers!

By the way is it just me, or do empty passionfruit skins looks like sea urchins!

Passionfruit Shortbread (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

 

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makes about 20

  • 1/2 cup/115g dairy-free spread
  • 1/3 cup/75g caster sugar
  • 1 cup/ 125g plain flour
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 2 passion fruits, pulp sieved or not, depending on taste
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar

– Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade/gas mark 4
– Cream together the spread and sugar
– Sift in the flour and cornflour, add the passionfruit pulp and gently bring together to a very soft and sticky dough. Do NOT overwork!
– Rest in the fridge for at least half an hour
– On a well floured surface, roll out and cut desired shapes
– Place on a lined baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, until starting to turn golden
– Remove from the oven and immediately dust with the remaining caster sugar.
– Transfer to a wire rack to continue cooling.
– Store in an airtight container.

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Millionaires’ Shortbread

Millionaires’ shortbread seems to be a staple coffee shop sweet treat, and it’s certainly a tempting one with its crumbly shortbread base, gooey caramel and dark chocolate. I understand its roots are Australian and it’s been around since the 1970s at least. I thought it was about time to make a dairy free version. These caramel squares worked superbly well using oat cream and dairy-free spread rather than the usual dairy ingredients.

This is a good traybake shortbread to have in your repertoire as it’s good for sharing, easily cut into squares for packed lunches or picnics and keeps well.

Millionaires’ Shortbread (dairy-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

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makes about 12 bars

  • 225g plain flour
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 150g dairy-free spread
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup oat cream (or soya cream)
  • 2 tbsps Demerera sugar
  • 1/3 cup golden syrup
  • 2 tbsps dairy-free spread
  • 100g dairy-free dark chocolate

– Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade/gas mark 4
– Line a 9 inch square baking dish with parchment
– Stir the sugar into the flour
– Rub in the spread and vanilla until the dough comes together into a crumbly mass
– Press the dough into the baking dish
– Bake for about 20 minutes until the shortbread starts to turn golden at the edges.
– Meanwhile, make the caramel
– In a saucepan, melt together the sugars, syrup and cream
– Stir in the spread, then bring to a bubbling simmer
– Simmer until the caramel is almost hard ball stage (drop a drizzle into a bowl of cold water and if the caramel forms a squishy ball when pressed together its ready)
– Pour over the shortbread and leave to cool
– Once set, melt the chocolate I a microwave or over a Bain Marie. Spread over the cooled caramel layer and leave to set. If desired sprinkle the chocolate with flakes of fleur de sel for a salted caramel effect.
– Cut into small bars

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Strawberry Shortbread and Strawberry Shortcake

June is peak strawberry season in the UK. We visited an amazing ‘pick your own’ yesterday. The plants were dripping with strawberries, but most were not yet ripe due to our rather poor spring. However, we still came back with a bounty of berries needing to be used straight away. This variation on classic shortbread includes little bursts of strawberry flavour in the form of freeze-dried berry pieces. A perfect summery variation 🙂

When combined with whipped dairy-free cream and fresh strawberries, these make a cracking  strawberry shortcake dessert.

Strawberry Shortbread (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, soya-free, vegetarian and vegan)

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makes approx. 12

  • 225g plain flour
  • 75g golden caster sugar
  • 150g dairy-free margarine (I used Pure sunflower)
  • 1 vanilla pod (I left it out as didn’t have one, but it’s much nicer with)
  • 50g granulated sugar, to sprinkle
  • 1/2 cup freeze-dried strawberries

– Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade/Gas Mark 4

– Line a baking sheet with parchment

– Sift the flour into a bowl and stir in the sugar and vanilla

– Add the dairy-free spread and rub in with fingers. Once it starts to combine, bring together to form a soft dough. Mix in the strawberry pieces.

– On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1cm thickness.

– Cut into even sized shapes.

– Place on the lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Then turn the baking sheet round and bake for another 10 minutes.

– Once the shortbread is golden brown remove from oven. Leaving it on the baking sheet, dust with the granulated sugar. Cool on the baking sheet.

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Strawberry Shortcake (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

per dessert

  • 2 strawberry shortbreads
  • whipped dairy-free cream (Soyatoo makes an excellent one, available in a rice milk and coconut milk versions too)
  • fresh strawberries

– Place a shortbread on a plate

– Decorate the top with strawberries and then dollop on plenty of cream

– Sandwich on another shortbread

– Decorate with more more cream and strawberries

– Serve straight away

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