Monday, December 9, 2013

cookie calendar - day 9: gluten-free shortbread bars

day 1: double chocolate cookies day 2: chewy chocolate chip cookies day 3: banana date cookies day 4: cranberry orange biscotti day 5: peppermint pinwheel cookies day 6: corn cookies day 7: chocolate-ginger crinkle cookies day 8: chocolate macarons day 9: gluten-free shortbread bars

I met Christina while we were both working at the same corporation several years ago. We've both since moved on to other jobs, but we have stayed friends ever since, for better or worse. We both share the same sarcastic humour, love of delicious baked goods and the bad habit of encouraging each other to do "out of our comfort zone" things.

Seriously, we really shouldn't be allowed to be in the same room. For example, when we worked together at the same company, we were constantly encouraging each other to escape (Christina kept telling me I should start my own PR company and I kept pushing the idea that Christina should quit and start a bakery!). Final result: we quit within a week of each other. I went to work for a charity and Christina went freelance. Yeah, we're bad influences on each other.  ;)

This is the second year that Christina and her sister Loredana have taken part in my Cookie Advent Calendar and I hope they never stop! Their gluten-free recipes are always a big hit, and as someone who's tasted a lot of their baking first-hand, I can confidently say that they make some of my favourite gluten-free treats!

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guest post by Christina & Loredana

Christmas is our favourite holiday as it combines so many of our favourite things: time spent with loved ones, singing Elf karaoke on Christmas Eve and sipping on hot chocolate. But most of all we love spending time in the kitchen together baking and sharing our homemade treats with others. It’s become our own little tradition. With Liona Boyd’s Christmas Dreams spinning in the background, we bake batch after batch of gluten-free cookies for family and friends.

Earlier this year Robin Hood released their Nutri Flour Blend Gluten Free. It’s good flour for baking cookies, muffins and cakes. We highly recommend the chocolate chip cookies on the back of the package. Today we give you Robin Hood’s gluten free shortbread bars dressed up in holiday style. The buttery, melt-in-your-mouth bars are the perfect Christmas treat. The pistachio and dried cranberry topping is a take on brittle. While the crushed candy cane is inspired by bark and adds a kick of peppermint, the ultimate Christmas flavour. The topping possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

The holidays are always hectic. You can make these bars in advance, seal them in an airtight container and freeze until needed. Simply defrost in a plate on your kitchen counter.

Happy holidays!

Christina and Loredana Salvino are 416 forever sisters. Loredana studied Chef Training at George Brown College and shares her culinary and houseware passion with Crate & Barrel Yorkdale customers. She was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2006. After graduating from Humber College’s Public Relations Program, Christina sharpened her writing and communications skills in the non-profit and corporate sectors. She currently works as a freelance writer in Toronto.

gluten-free shortbread bar


2 cups butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3 ¼ cups Robin Hood Nutri-Flour Blend Gluten-Free
½ cup cornstarch
¼ tsp xanthum gum

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
8 peppermint candy canes, crushed
½ cup unsalted pistachios, crushed
¼ cup of dried cranberries

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line and grease a 10” x 15” baking pan with parchment paper, overlapping two sides for easy removal.
  • Cream butter in a large bowl on medium-high in a stand mixer until very light in texture, about five minutes. Add sugar and continue beating until sugar is completely combined, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Combine flour, cornstarch and xanthum gum in a separate large bowl. Add to butter mixture on low speed until well combined.
  • Press dough evenly into pan.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until edges are golden.
  • As soon as shortbread is removed from the oven immediately sprinkle chocolate chips over hot crust. Wait 10 minutes for chocolate to melt (or if you’re impatient like us, pop chocolate chip covered shortbread back into the oven for a minute). Spread evenly over crust.
  • Let chocolate cool for about 10-15 minutes before decorating.
  • Cut 1” x 2” bars once chocolate has set.
Yields: 35 bars

The recipe and all photos used in this blog post belong to Christina and Loredana Salvino and should not be reprinted without their express permission.

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