These Primal Perfect Shortbread biscuits are wonderful with a cup of tea but when I was making them I transported myself in my mind to a quintessential Best of British afternoon tea party, where they could be rightfully celebrated dolled up with the first strawberries of the season and cream. No doubt this idea will manifest as a future recipe on Primal Plate!
For now, they are a simple pleasure to share and enjoy without spiralling into a sugar and starch overload. Classic shortbread contains just three ingredients: flour, white sugar and butter. Grains and refined sugar are both strictly off-limits for low carbers, so I’ve fiddled and diddled around with various ingredients (good quality butter is still compulsory!) and I think that this Primal Perfect Shortbread comes very close to the real thing.
True, it is much darker in colour than the pale gold of Scottish shortbread due to the coconut palm sugar (my shortbread is only that pale gold before it goes into the oven!) but at the same time it’s this coconut sugar that gives a slight gritty texture, synonymous with shortbread recipes that suggest adding polenta for extra crunch. Also, coconut sugar combined with my ‘secret’ ingredient Ndali vanilla essence makes for a truly scrumptious butterscotch flavour to this shortbread, which in our house has proven to be quite addictive.
You might think, judging by the recipes I’ve posted to date, I have a sweet tooth, which in fact I don’t. What I want to demonstrate is that eating no grains, no refined sugar and low carb foods does not mean missing out. Nor does it mean that if you indulge yourself sensibly, you’re going to get fat or sick.
I get a buzz from sharing these delicious, nutritionally sound, low-carb versions of everyone’s favourite foods, knowing that they are the key to effortless weight loss and better health. Equally, I like to confound expectations that something, somehow, must get lost in translation if you’re eating low-carb, relatively high fat food (no hydrogenated/trans fats here please!) and baking without flour and refined sugar!
In my view, you can forget about Walkers because nothing comes close to a real-food version of plain home-baked shortbread. Not too naughty, just very, very nice.
Primal Perfect Shortbread Recipe (V) (Makes 12 pieces)
90g (3 oz) salted butter (if you’re not using salted, add a pinch of salt)
160g (6 oz) ground almonds
40g (1½ oz) raw coconut palm sugar
25g (1oz) organic coconut flour
15g (½ oz) arrowroot powder
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to 130℃/ 250℉/ Gas mark ½
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over a low heat.
In a medium bowl, mix together the ground almonds, coconut sugar, coconut flour, arrowroot and baking powders (and pinch of salt, if using).
Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the melted butter and vanilla essence. Stir thoroughly so everything is mixed together really well. Then using your hand, squash it together into a soft, cohesive dough.
Lay a sheet of non-stick baking parchment on top of a baking tray then put the dough directly on top of the paper and pat it down flat.
Continue to pat or lightly roll it out until it’s an even 1 cm thick round circle (I use an 8 inch cake tin liner placed under the parchment paper to get the right size and shape and a piece of cling film laid on top to save my hands or the rolling pin getting too greased up) - if the dough splits or tears just press it back together with your fingers but don’t overwork it, the less you handle it, the better.
Once it’s the shape you want, use the prongs of a fork to mark the outside edge and score lines across the shortbread so it can be broken into individual biscuits later. Rest the dough by chilling in the fridge for 15 minutes.
Put the baking tray in the oven and cook for about an hour.
Let it cool completely before serving. These biscuits will be delicious for several days stored in an airtight tin or container, though I suggest you hide the tin if you want them to last that long!
I make the coconut sugar a little bit finer for this recipe by grinding it down in a pestle and mortar. If you don't have one of these you could try passing the sugar through a coarse metal sieve instead.
Carbohydrate 6g Protein 3g - per biscuit