This recipe came about because of a lazy Sunday afternoon. Our Sundays are usually busy with football (soccer) games with our youngest and then finishing off chores, like ironing….cringe!! We had a very early game that morning and I seemed to be ultra organised (which is a rarity for me). The washing and ironing were up-to-date and I had soup already simmering away for dinner. So I was able to sit and relax on the couch with an old vintage cookbook to get some inspiration for the coming week.
I love reading any cookbook, but old vintage cookbooks are my favourite, as they have so much character. The book I was reading was called Perfect Cooking by Marguerite Patten and was published back in 1972. Inside the front and back covers are cartoon style pictures. The front of the book has cookery terms and the back of the book has a section about how to put a recipe right. It has lots of handy hints from how to deal with a cake or pastry which is burnt, fixing curdled mayonnaise, how to fix biscuits or small cakes which spread out too much as they bake, what to do when a sauce, soup or stew is too salty and many more handy tips. I think every cookbook should have a page like this!
How we eat has changed so much from then to now. As I was flicking through the baking section of this book, I came across wonderful vintage style cakes and biscuits. I love some of the names, Orange Laurel Rings, Zebra Biscuits and the beautifully decorated Primrose Cakes just to name a few. The biscuit that caught my eye was in the recipes for special occasions, the Viennese Orange Shortbreads. They looked and sounded delicious, but my biscuits look different to those in the book. I chose to pipe roses, because that is what I am most comfortable and accurate in piping.
There was a bit of trial and error to get the texture just right. I was initially trying to make this recipe egg-free. However, I just wasn’t able to achieve a soft, melting moment style shortbread and they were lightly crisp, and slightly chewy, instead. So after many attempts trying to make them egg free, and not having them work out, I decided to go back to the drawing board and restart recipe, this time using an egg in the mix. After a few attempts of changing the ratios of the flours and butter, I was so please to have finally achieved the soft melting moment texture. They hold together well and have a slightly crumbly texture, just like shortbread.
I hope you enjoy these biscuits as much as my friends and family do.
Recipe Update: I have reduced the xanthan gum by ¼ teaspoon, and this resulted in a lighter and crisper biscuit. I also reduced the butter in the orange filling by 10g (0.4 ounces or 2 teaspoons) to create a slightly thicker cream. The oven temperature has been increased from 130C to 160C. And the final change made was to simplify the shape of the biscuits, from roses to large stars.
For accurate cup measurements, I sift the potato starch and the icing sugar before measuring, so that there are no lumps/clumps. It is imperative you use superfine white rice flour in this recipe, so that there will not be any gritty texture, and all cup measurements are firmly packed.
Makes 13 cream filled biscuits
128g (4.5 ounces or 1 cup) superfine white rice flour
42g (1.5 ounces or ⅓ cup plus 1 teaspoon) corn starch
33g (1.2 ounces or 3 tablespoons) potato starch
32g (1.1 ounces or ¼ cup) tapioca starch
¼ teaspoon (1.25ml) xanthan gum
¼ teaspoon (1.25ml) salt
224g (7.9 ounces or 1 cup) gluten and dairy free butter
72g (2.6 ounces or ½ cup) pure icing sugar, sifted (I use this brand)
1 large egg, at room temperature
Finely grated zest from 1 large orange
180g (6.3 ounces or 1¼ cups) pure icing sugar, sifted (I use this brand)
56g (2.0 ounces or ¼ cup) gluten and dairy free butter
Finely grated zest from 1 large orange
Icing sugar for dusting over biscuits
Preheat the oven to 160C and line 2 trays with baking paper or parchment. I traced around a 6cm cookie cutter leaving approximately 2-2½cm spaces between each circle. Flip the paper over and place on the tray.
Sift together the dry ingredients and set aside.
Using a handheld mixer, cream the butter and sifted icing sugar together until light and fluffy, which takes a couple of minutes.
Next, add the egg and orange zest, continuing to beat until thoroughly combined.
Add the dry ingredients in 3 batches, mixing on a low speed until combined, before adding more flour. The biscuit dough should be quite thick, but soft enough to pipe.
I have very basic piping skills so, to make the piping easier, I spoon about half of the dough into a piping bag fitted with a ½cm star nozzle. I find this makes it a lot easier to maintain a firm grip on the bag. To ensure uniform shaped biscuits, hold the piping bag in a vertical position and pipe at an even height above your tray. Begin piping in the middle of the circle, and using firm even pressure, start squeezing the biscuit dough to almost fill the circle…Don’t worry about the stars looking perfect. After all, they are homemade.
Bake for 20 minutes, and then allow them to cool on the trays for 5 minutes before carefully transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. Now pair similar shape and size stars together.
To make the filling, use a handheld mixer to cream the icing sugar and butter together, before stirring through the orange zest.
Spoon the icing into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm star nozzle, and pipe a generous amount of orange cream in the middle of half the biscuits. Now gently sandwich the biscuits together.
When they are all done, use a fine mesh sieve to lightly dust over the tops of the biscuits with icing sugar.
Then let them stand for about an hour to allow the cream to firm up before serving.
Recipe by: The Gluten & Dairy Free Bakehouse
Note: all recipe oven temperatures shown are for a fan forced electric oven. Please refer to the below guide to help you adjust your oven accordingly. This recipe is shown in bold.
Oven Temperatures Chart
130C = 110C fan = 250F = Gas mark 1
150C = 130C fan = 300F = Gas mark 2
160C = 140C fan = 320F = Gas mark 3
180C = 160C fan = 350F = Gas mark 4
190C = 170C fan = 375F = Gas mark 5
200C = 180C fan = 400F = Gas mark 6
220C = 200C fan = 425F = Gas mark 7
230C = 210C fan = 450F = Gas mark 8