Give your shortbread a subtle Greek makeover this Christmas with the addition of Mastiha, an ancient Greek spice with an intoxicating aroma unique to the island of Chios. Helen Tzouganatos, recipe food developer, stylist, photographer and editor from Hungry and Fussy shares her delicious and gluten-free recipe.
"The taste of Mastiha transports me back to my childhood. I clearly recall the ritual of eating Mastiha fondant from a teaspoon when I was a little girl. I would scoop up sweet stretchy mastiha from mum’s fondant jar, dunk it in a glass of icy cold water and slowly lick it until it melted away on my tongue. Every 5 year old’s dream!
I wanted to capture the unique characteristics of Mastiha in my gluten-free shortbread biscuits this Christmas. There is nothing sweeter than a home-baked gift, so I have shaped my shortbread into stars to create the perfect Christmas treat for family and friends. Tie your stars together with natural twine and add a personalised tag for a rustic handmade touch. Merry Xmas and Happy Holidays!"
By Helen Tzouganatos
*Serves: 20 biscuits
- 125g softened butter, chopped
- ½ cup of sugar
- 1 egg
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1½ cups gluten-free plain flour
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp ground Mastiha*
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- *if you purchase Mastiha in crystal format grind to a powder.
- Preheat oven to 180C. Line a baking tray with baking paper or prepare a silicone mat.
- Beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
- Add egg and vanilla extract and beat until combined.
- Add dry ingredients and beat until combined.
- Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes, so it is easier to shape.
- Roll out dough between two sheets of baking paper and use a cookie cutter to cut the shortbread into the desired shape or slice into rectangular fingers if the dough is too sticky dust with extra flour.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly browned.
- Remove from oven and cool on the tray.
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