Baked Good / Dessert / Pastry / Uncategorized

Gluten Free “Melting Moments” for May Day – a delicate shortbread cookie that melts in one’s mouth


A favorite rite of spring: May Day baskets!  While there is a goodly  amount of snow in the Rockies, and northern Maine and North Dakota are certain to get one more flurry or two before Memorial Day, any snow will melt with the warmth of the sun which is higher in the sky every day.  These special butter cookies are the perfect size for celebratory May Day baskets designed to be hung on the front door knobs of friends and family.  They’re supposed to be a surprise, so ring the bell and run away.  Fill the “baskets” with fresh blossoms, Melting Moments, and a note of appreciation.

Melting Moments – makes 20-24 one inch cookies


1/2 cup, one stick good quality unsalted butter, room temperature – splurge on nice Irish, French, or local butter

1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus another 1/4 cup for dusting the baked cookies

3/4 cup millet, sorghum, or chestnut flour

3/8 cup cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon xantham gum

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Optional: 1/3 finely chopped walnuts


1.  Cream the butter and confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer.

2.  Combine the dry ingredients in a small mixing bowl; whisk to blend.

3.  Add the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar mixture.  Mix on low and then medium speed to blend evenly. Add the vanilla extract (and walnuts if using), stir to blend well, and transfer to a food storage container to refrigerate for at least one hour.

4.  Preheat the oven to 350 F and place the rack in the center. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

5.  Roll the dough into 3/4″ balls, taking care to compact the dough to prevent breaking during baking.  They’ll expand a little bit – aim to make 6 rows of 4. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until slight cracks appear.

6.  Cool completely before carefully dusting with confectioners’ sugar (these “Moments” are delicate!). Wrap in plastic bags (4-5 to a bag)tie with ribbon and place in your May Day “Baskets.” Alternately, line the basket/cone with waxed or parchment paper and gently layer the cookies inside.

Enjoy this annual tradition!

To Make the Baskets:

1.  Use 8 1/2 x 11 construction paper or decorative paper applied to printer paper.  I used a recycled catalogue from a gallery.  Colorful magazine pages work well. 3M Spray adhesive works well.

2.  Roll the paper into a cone to set the shape.  Apply a line of double-stick to one of the short sides, re-roll into a cone adhering the sides.  Secure with a staple on the seam at the top.

3. Make a handle out of reinforced (doubled over) scrap paper and secure it on opposite sited with staples.  Cut some decorative shapes  (flowers) to cover the staples.  The cone will be ready to fill!


6 thoughts on “Gluten Free “Melting Moments” for May Day – a delicate shortbread cookie that melts in one’s mouth

    • You’ll want to use a very finely ground GF flour. I find that rice flour is often a little coarse for these delicate cookies. Chestnut, sorghum, and millet flours are almost always finely milled. Use Pamela’s Baking Mix or Trader Joe’s GF Flour Mix if you have it in the pantry. Once you’ve invested in high quality unsalted butter, good results are certain! Hope you make a batch!

  1. Those melting moments are very different from what I know as melting moments. In Australia they are more of a sandwiched shortbread type biscuit cookie with buttercream in the middle. They were my youngest kids’ favourite cookie while down under. I’ve been looking for a recipe for a while…

  2. Thanks! I love this recipe, and have made a variation on it called Mexican Wedding Cookies; they are really good. If I wanted to try to mail cookies do you know what the best method would be to ensure freshness? I know they will be in the mail at least 5 days…

    • I ship baked goods on a Monday so they have a good chance of reaching their destination by Friday if not before. The butter content in these cookies will help preserve them until they arrive, at which point they won’t last long! I used to pack cookies in plain popped popcorn – it absorbs the moisture. It also helps to send them frozen(no freezer pack, just frozen). Lastly, air/oxygen is the “enemy”, so try to squeeze as much out as possible when you’re wrapping the cookies. Melting Moments/Mexican Wedding cookies are fragile, so take care with the packing.

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