Dairy-free living has gained significant popularity in recent years, driven by various dietary choices, ethical concerns, and health considerations. Thankfully, modern culinary creativity has provided us with a plethora of dairy-free alternatives to classic ingredients, making it possible to enjoy old favourites like shortbread without dairy.
Dairy-Free Shortbread Ingredients
The key to crafting dairy-free shortbread lies in selecting suitable dairy substitutes. Instead of butter, you’ll use dairy-free margarine or plant-based butter alternatives. There are also a variety of plant-based milk options, such as almond, soy, oat, or coconut milk, that can replace dairy milk in your recipe. These substitutes work harmoniously to replicate the buttery richness and crumbly texture of traditional shortbread.
Dairy-Free Shortbread Recipe
Let’s dive into creating your batch of dairy-free shortbread cookies:
- 1 cup dairy-free margarine or plant-based butter substitute, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar (make sure it’s dairy-free)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- A pinch of salt (optional)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional)
- Preheat Your Oven: Begin by preheating your oven to 325°F (160°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Cream the Dairy-Free Butter and Sugar: In a large mixing bowl, cream together the softened dairy-free margarine or plant-based butter substitute and powdered sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. This usually takes about 2-3 minutes of mixing with an electric mixer.
- Add Flavour (Optional): Incorporate the pure vanilla extract into the creamed mixture. Mix until well combined. This step is optional but adds a delightful fragrance and flavour to your cookies.
- Incorporate Dry Ingredients: Gradually add the all-purpose flour and a pinch of salt (if you prefer a hint of saltiness) to the mixture. Mix until the dough just comes together. Be careful not to overmix; you want a crumbly, sandy texture.
- Shape the Dough: Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead it a few times until it forms a cohesive ball.
- Form the Cookies: Roll out the dough to about 1/2 inch (1.27 cm) thickness. Use cookie cutters to cut out your desired shapes or simply cut the dough into squares or rectangles.
- Bake to Perfection: Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for approximately 15-18 minutes, or until the edges become slightly firm and they no longer look wet on top.
- Cool and Enjoy: Remove the dairy-free shortbread cookies from the oven and let them cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Dairy-free shortbread cookies are a testament to culinary innovation, showing that dietary restrictions need not hinder your enjoyment of beloved classics. These cookies offer the same buttery richness and crumbly texture that have made shortbread a timeless treat.