• Mastiha shortbread stars (Helen Tzouganatos)Source: Helen Tzouganatos

Mastiha is such a unique intoxicating flavour, the sweet musky notes are unlike anything I have ever tasted. #BringBackTheClassics






Skill level

Average: 3.9 (13 votes)

When I was a kid I would run home from school, grab a teaspoon from the drawer and scoop up sweet, stretchy mastiha fondant from the jar. I loved dunking my fondant in a glass of icy cold water and licking it like a popsicle.

I created this shortbread recipe to highlight this beautiful spice, unique to the island of Chios in Greece. There is nothing sweeter than a home baked gift so cut my shortbread into stars to create the perfect Christmas gift. Tie your stars together with natural twine and add a personalised tag for a rustic handmade touch.


  • 200 g softened butter, chopped
  • 165 g or ¾ cup caster sugar
  • 195 g or 1½ cups plain gluten-free flour
  • 90 g or ¾ cup sweet rice flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ tsp ground mastiha (see Note)
  • ½ tsp sea salt flakes

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Preheat oven to 160°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper or prepare a silicone mat.

Put all ingredients in mixer and beat until dough is formed. Roll out dough between two sheets of baking paper until 1 cm thick. Use a star cookie cutter to cut shortbread or slice into rectangular fingers.

Bake for 35-40 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool on tray.

• Mastiha can be purchased from European delis, gourmet grocers and online.


Photography, styling and food preparation by Helen Tzouganatos.

Feeling nostalgic? We want you! For the month of November, SBS Food is asking food lovers far and wide to get creative by putting a multicultural twist or your creative spin on an Australian classic... Welcome to #BringBackTheClassics - enter now!