A yummy Paleo Shortbread recipe made with cassava flour. The fibre in cassava flour feeds the good bacteria in your gut making this recipe good for your health. This flour is a great option for people with nut or coconut allergies. You can find out more about cassava flour HERE.
After receiving feedback from my taste testers, ranging in age from teens to their 80s, the result was that they loved the taste and the texture. There was a suggestion I make it thicker however after baking several variations I found keeping it thinner gave it a much better texture. The outcome being the shortbread was crisper and chewier in the centre. Other modifications of the recipe crumbled and lost the chewy centre.
In case you were thinking of altering the depth of the shortbread remember that gluten-free flour like cassava can be tricky due to losing the glue (gluten) that holds your baking together. This recipe has been tried and tested for you so you can simply bake and enjoy.
* Please click on the green icon next to the ingredients listed below for extra details and helpful information.
Preheat oven to 160c (fan-forced). Line a 27 x 17cm rectangular slice tin with baking paper.
Add the cassava flour, arrowroot, gelatin, baking soda and salt to a medium bowl and stir to combine all the dry ingredients together well.
Place the melted ghee, maple syrup and vanilla into a large bowl and stir well.
Spoon half of the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and stir well to incorporate then add the remaining flour and combine thoroughly. Knead the mixture with your hands for 10 seconds to create a smooth dough.
Transfer the dough into the prepared tin and press down while spreading out evenly with your fingers. The mixture will seem a bit oily on the surface but cassava flour needs the extra moisture. Place a small sheet of baking paper over the surface and run your hands over it while pressing down to create a smooth top. Discard the paper.
Use a knife with a pointed end to score lines into the mixture (approximately halfway through). Score the long side of your tin into three equal portions then turn and score to make 8 rows approximately 3cm apart, creating 24 pieces. Optional, poke a fork twice into each piece (for decoration only).
Bake for 25 minutes. The shortbread doesn't change in colour once baked but will feel firmer and will crispen up further once cooled (don't overcook or the shortbread may be dry, cassava is a fibrous flour). Allow to completely cool in the tin, then use a knife to cut through the scored marks before removing. The shortbread cuts apart easily.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. Suitable to freeze for up to 3 months.
Cassava flour has been a staple food around the world for centuries. It's native to South America and is presently grown as an annual crop in tropical regions. Cassava is a vegetable and the whole tubular root is peeled, dried and ground down to create a flour (it's not the heavily processed tapioca flour/starch which is only the extracted starch). Cassava flour has a mild flavour, is off-white/cream in colour and is slightly lighter than regular wheat flour but is more absorbent. One cup of all-purpose flour = 2/3 - 3/4 cup of cassava flour, start with less and see how your recipe adapts. I find it's a little like coconut flour in the way that it soaks up liquid and needs an extra egg for binding (all my recipes have been triple-tested). It has the ability to brown and produce a crust when used in baked goods, which often doesn't occur when using gluten-free flours. This paleo flour is free from grains, gluten, soy, nuts, additives and fillers. It's a perfect flour for those doing an autoimmune protocol diet, for nut-free baking, anyone with food allergies or intolerances. Cassava flour is high in potassium and vitamin C, it also contains calcium, vitamin A, folate, magnesium, iron, plus resistant starch, which can improve gut health. The shelf-life of cassava flour is typically much longer than other flours. It can be kept for up to two years and possibly longer if stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark location. Purchase from health food stores or online.
Check out DISCOUNT details: You can purchase online direct from an Australian producer, "Three Spades" (threespades.com.au). Three Spades have been very generous to the JOYful Table followers and have given us a 15% discount on their cassava flour. Use the code JOYFUL15 when purchasing 2 x 2kg bags (4kg or more), add the code when going through the checkout process. Another good brand is Otto's that can be purchased online from iherb.com
Arrowroot is a herb, the roots are cultivated for its starch properties. It is used in my recipes as a thickener and I also like combining it with almond meal to produce a much lighter texture, more like a gluten flour. I find the starch helps to bind the ingredients together. You can substitute tapioca flour, which is made from the dried roots of the cassava plant. Tapioca can be used in baking, it has a slightly sweet flavour. However, I do not recommend thickening with tapioca, as it has a stretchy, gummy texture. Supermarkets only sell in very small containers, which is not cost effective. Purchase from baking specialty stores, health food stores or online. ( When substituting for cornflour in recipes, 2 teaspoons arrowroot = 1 tablespoon cornflour/starch).
Ensure you use unflavoured grass-fed gelatin in my recipes. ‘Great Lakes’ is a good brand, it's made from Kosher grass-fed beef. When using gelatin to thicken desserts, use the Great Lakes red carton. The green carton (which is cold water-soluble and does not thicken) I use to add to smoothies and drinks for extra protein. Another brand I like is Zint which I purchase online from iherb. Gelatin is pure collagen protein, which is good for bone and joint care. It is also excellent for skin, hair and nails (helps the wrinkles from the inside).
Also known as Bicarbonate of Soda or Sodium Bicarbonate and is used as a rising agent in baking, it contains no gluten or grains. I use Bob's Red Mill baking soda as I find it rises better than other brands I've tried.
Organic unbleached, unrefined organic Celtic sea salt or pink Himalayan salt is my salt of choice as these contain healthy minerals and trace elements that our body needs. Regular table salt has been bleached, refined and processed leaving minimal health benefits. If you choose to use regular table salt in my recipes you will need to reduce the quantity or the end result will be to salty.
Ghee is a lactose-free ancient superfood. It is made by slow cooking and clarifying butter to remove the milk solids and lactose, it's pure butter fat. You can get the flavour of butter in your cooking without the dairy (please don't consume if you have an allergy to ghee). My favourite brands are Organic Valley Purity Farms or Puresoul grass-fed. It is also very easy to make yourself. Ghee has a high smoke point 485F/250C.
Maple syrup is an earthy, sweet tasting amber liquid that is produced by boiling down the sap of maple trees. Use organic 100% maple syrup which is a natural food sweetener, not a flavoured maple syrup. Pure maple syrup contains a decent amount of some minerals, especially manganese and zinc, some traces of potassium and calcium but it does contain a whole bunch of sugar. I try to reduced the amount of sweetness in each recipe to the lowest possible without compromising taste. Feel free to adjust to your liking. I use maple syrup in place of raw honey when I don't want the strong honey flavour coming through in a recipe. I have paleo cookies and desserts in my cookbook made from whole food ingredients with natural sugars but please don’t overindulge. Use as a treat only for special occasions.
Use an organic vanilla extract (not an essence) or vanilla powder. Vanilla makes a big difference to the flavour of a recipe, I recommend keeping to the quantities I have stated in a recipe. I prefer Madagascar pure vanilla extract manufactured by ‘Simply Organic’ and for powder, Vanillamax 100% pure, finely ground Madagascar vanilla beans produced by Bulletproof.