Scottish Shortbread with cranberry, pistachio, white chocolate and cardamom

These Slice & Bake shortbread biscuits are the perfect festive treat and are a real favourite for the cookie platter. With just a few simple ingredients, these buttery traditional Scottish shortbreads are simple and quick to bake. Each biscuit is laden with dried cranberries, chopped pistachios, complimented with hints of ground cardamom and zesty orange and finished off with a drizzle of white chocolate making them the perfect shortbread for Christmas.

Scottish shortbread is traditionally made using three simple pantry staples; butter, sugar and flour. The butter and sugar are creamed together before addding in the flour to create a buttery crumbly dough. My take on shortbread is no different, but adds a few extra ingredients to make them gluten-free and festive. Dried cranberries and chopped pistachios make the perfect pairing along with winter spices such as cardamom and orange zest. The white chocolate adds the final layer of sweetness for these sugary shortbreads.

These biscuits are incredibly simple to make using the Slice & Bake method. Rather than rolling out the dough after chilling and cutting out the shortbread shapes with a cookie cutter, the dough is formed into a long cylinder shape, wrapped in clingfilm and placed in the fridge to set overnight or for a minimum of 1-2 hours before baking. Once chilled, the dough can be unwrapped and simply sliced into rounds before being transferred straight to the baking tray to bake.

What equipment do I need for these biscuits?

  • Clingfilm
  • Stand mixer or electric hand-held mixer
  • Baking paper

What ingredients do I need?

  • Sugar – Golden caster sugar is great for shortbread but you can also use white sugar or caster sugar too. Sugar adds sweetness and structure to the biscuits
  • Butter – Use unsalted butter for this recipe so that you can control the amount of salt being added. The butter needs to be softened to room temperature before being creamed with the sugar. Try to use a good quality butter as butter is a main ingredient here and you want your shortbread to taste great
  • Gluten free flour – A gluten free flour blend such as Doves Farm Plain Flour or Schär Mix C for Cakes is perfect for these biscuits. Self-raising flours tend to contain baking powder which means you can’t fully control the amount going in and therefore the spread of the biscuits. Try to go for a plain flour so you can anticipate and control the spread
  • Xanthan gum – Xanthan gum is essential for most gluten free recipes and there’s no exceptions here. Doves Farm is my preferred choice but you can use any brand. Xanthan Gum is a gluten replacement for gluten-free baking and helps to replace the lost elasticity that gluten provides, keeping your biscuits together and stopping it from crumbling into dry pieces
  • Salt – A pinch of salt in a recipe enhances the flavours of the other ingredients and offsets the sweetness of the cake
  • Dried fruits – Any dried fruits can be used for this biscuits such as sultanas, however, I prefer cranberries as they pair perfectly with pistachios
  • Orange zest – The zesty notes in this recipe come from the zest of 1 medium orange. You could however use candied orange peel or zest too!
  • Chopped pistachios – Chopped pistachios are the best ingredient in these biscuits. Try not to chop them too small, in fact you can also toss them whole into the mixture if you wish
  • Ground cardamom – A little ground cardamom just finishes off the deliciousness of these biscuits making them taste extra chrismassy
  • White chocolate – White chocolate is drizzled over the biscuits to finish. Any White chocolate can be used just check that it is gluten-free

Tips & Tricks

Chilling the dough beforehand is essential for these biscuits in order to give the butter chance to solidify and prevent too much spread in the baking process. I prefer to chill the dough overnight but an hour or two will also do fine.

For perfect slices, try slicing the biscuits with a thin piece of thread instead of a knife.

If you prefer the perfectionist look rather than the rustic look and want perfectly round biscuits at the end, place a round glass larger than the biscuits themselves over each biscuit and swirl it around touching the biscuits as you swirl. Do this immediately after removing the biscuits from the oven when they’re still piping hot. Once they’ve cooked slightly this trick won’t work and you’ll break your biscuits as they’re quite fragile. The circular motions will round off your biscuits into the perfect round shape.

Scottish Shortbread with cranberry, pistachio, white chocolate and cardamom

Delicious traditional German stollen bars made without yeast and packed full of cranberries, marzipan and pistachios as well as zesty orange and winter spices. The perfect little bite-sized Christmas treats!

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Bake Time: 10-15 minutes

Chill Time: 1-2 hours minimum

Total Time: 2 hour 15 minutes 

Servings: 20-24 biscuits

Difficulty: easy

Author: Sarah


For the shortbread biscuits:

□ 360g gluten free plain flour blend

□ 110g caster sugar or golden caster sugar

□ 230g unsalted butter, softened

zest of 1 small orange (optional)

□ 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped pistachios (unsalted)

□ 2 tablespoons chopped dried cranberries

□ 1/2 teaspoon Xanthan Gum

□ 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

□ 50g melted white chocolate


  1. Preheat the oven to 160C Fan and line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Cream together the softened butter and sugar until lighter in colour and fluffy in texture.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt baking soda, orange zest, Xanthan Gum and ground cardamom.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and slowly mix in until a smooth dough forms.
  5. Fold in the dried cranberries and chopped pistachios.
  6. Bring the dough together using your hands and form a long tube-like shape. It’s best to roll it on the surface slightly to get as even a shape as possible but don’t flour the surfaces.
  7. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and place in the fridge overnight or for a minimum of 1-2 hours until the dough has hardened.
  8. Remove the dough from the fridge and unwrap once chilled.
  9. With a sharp knife, slice the dough into 1cm thick biscuits and place on the baking tray at 1 inch intervals to accomodate for any spread.
  10. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the edges begin to turn golden brown.
  11. Leave on the baking tray to cool completely as the biscuits need to cool and harden before removing them.
  12. Once cooled, drizzle with melted white chocolate before enjoying.

Tried this recipe? Let me know what you think!

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