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Nov 12, 2012 12:55 AM

Do you think I could successfully sub rice flour for cornstarch in these cookies?

These cookies are really pretty, and moderately tasty, but I wasn't crazy about the flavor that the cornstarch gave them. I assume that it's there to give them a more sandy, crumbly texture. So do you think I could substitute an equal amount of rice flour? My shortbread recipe uses that in combination with all-purpose flour and it does give that kind of texture, but I like the flavor better. What do you think?

Glittering Lemon Sandwich Cookies
(from Gourmet, December 2008)

makes about 20 sandwich cookies

1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 Tablespoon lemon zest, finely chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla
White or colored sanding sugars

1 cup confectioners sugar
1 Tablespoon lemon zest, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened

Preheat oven to 350° F. with rack in middle. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Sift together flour, cornstarch, and salt.

Beat together butter and confectioners sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, then beat in zest and vanilla. At low speed, mix in flour mixture just until a soft dough forms. Chill dough for at least an hour.

Put sanding sugar in a bowl. Roll a scant tsp. of dough into a ball and drop into sugar, turning to coat. Reshape if necessary and transfer to a baking sheet. Repeat, spacing balls 3/4 inch apart, until baking sheet is filled. Chill 30 minutes or freeze 5 to 10 minutes to preserve the round shape

Bake until tops are slightly cracked but still pale (bottoms will be pale golden), about 15 minutes. Transfer cookies on parchment to a rack to cool completely.

Beat together all filling ingredients in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until combined well. Spread on one cookie bottom and top with another.

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  1. I wouldn't think so, though it doesn't hurt to try. The cornstarch is there specifically for the texture it imparts. Not sure a rice flour would have the same properties in terms of butter and liquid absorption. But if you go for it, report back!

    1 Reply
    1. re: katecm

      Rice flour is often used to get the sandy texture of shortbread so I think it is worth a try. Be bold!

    2. I would say yes.I do it here all the time because of a corn allergy,intolerance,sensitivity or for Passover.
      Rice and tapioca flour or starch are minutely more absorbent thickeners than corn starch.The CIA and other pastry,teaching texts reduce the rice or tapioca by 2 to 3 teaspoons per cup compared to corn.

      1. Thanks--that's just what I needed to hear. I'll try replacing the cornstarch with an equal amount of rice flour, less a teaspoon or two. I'll let you know how it goes!

        1. I finally made the cookies, substituting 2/3 cup of rice flour minus 1-1/2 teaspoon, instead of the 2/3 cup of cornstarch. They came out light and crisp and they definitely have a better flavor and mouth feel than they did with cornstarch.

          Thanks for the good advice!