Vegan, Low Protein (PKU), Gluten Free and Dairy Free, Low Fructose
Total Protein Count: 7.2 g Protein
50 Serves = 0.1 g Protein per serve
It’s Christmas time again and we’ve been getting ready by baking cookies while listening to Christmas songs! We made these Shortbread Cookies at the same time as the Gingerbread Cookies, so a lot of my comments on coconut sugar can be found there.
With this recipe I experimented with agar agar powder. I knew about it as an egg alternative but had not yet used it. I loved it straight away and found that it works very well in baking. Most of the egg alternatives I have used always end up watery and don’t really bind the same way egg does. Agar agar is derived from algae and is gelatinous, so it binds in baking much the same way as gelatine.
The other ingredient that helps with binding is arrowroot flour (which is actually tapioca flour if you can’t find arrowroot). When combined with gluten-free flour, it helps to give the cookies a lightness that is otherwise missing from gluten-free products. It is also good for children as it is easily digested.
We had fun decorating the shortbread in different ways to create a white Christmas effect. The desiccated coconut dusting gave a slightly snowy effect, while the stencils were easily done to create a dramatic yet simple design.
Alternatively, I love using coconut cream mixed with a little rice malt syrup to make a low fructose frosting. Add a little food colouring to make the cookies more playful. The trick with the coconut cream is to NOT shake the can and leave it to chill overnight in the fridge. This separates the cream from the juice. When you’re ready to use it, scoop the top layer off (without spooning out the coconut juice at the bottom) and lightly mix with a sweetener like rice malt syrup. Then place the frosted cookies in the freezer for at least an hour (but it will keep overnight) for the icing to set.
Merry Christmas and happy baking!
2 cups / 500 g margarine, softened (see notes)
2 cup / 440 g coconut sugar (see notes)
2 Tbsp agar agar + 2 Tbsp water ; whip, chill and whip again (see notes)
4 cups / 510 g gluten-free flour, sifted (4 g protein)
2 cups / 255 g arrowroot flour
icing sugar, sifted for dusting
coconut cream + rice malt syrup (to taste)
coconut cream frosting + coconut desiccated
Pre-heat oven to 150º C / 300º F.
Place margarine and sugar in a bowl and mix until well combined, light and fluffy. An electric mixer works best.
Add agar agar to the mix until well combined.
Slowly and gently add the sifted gluten-free flour and arrowroot flour creating a doughy consistency.
Between two sheets of baking paper and a light dusting of extra flour, roll out the dough to 4-5mm thickness. Use a cookie cutter to cut out desired shapes. Places shapes on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
Bake for approximately 30 minutes until lightly brown. Remove and cool on a wire rack.
Suggestions to Serve:
Decorate with icing or low-fructose alternative such as coconut cream + rice malt syrup frosting.
Sprinkle desiccated coconut over the frosting for a Christmas snow effect.
Alternatively, dust icing sugar (or try desiccated coconut again) over a stencil to create a pattern. We used a wire rack for the crisscross.
– We use a sunflower margarine in our baking. The brand we use has 0g protein and is suitable for lactose-free diets. Check the protein content in your margarine if you are baking for a low-protein diet.
– Coconut sugar is high in fructose, making it not suitable for those on a FODMAP or fructose-free diet.
– Agar Agar is suitable as a vegan alternative to eggs. It works very well in baking as it gives a gelatin effect and binds very well. If you want to have protein, substitute with 2 eggs.