Who doesn’t love a shortbread cookie?? I’ve updated my vegan shortbread cookies to make them even more loveable: think one bowl, a rolled cookie with a perfect tendercrisp texture AND a soft drop cookie option. Gluten free and made with nutrient dense almond meal, this is an easy shortbread cookie recipe that’s damn good, if I do say so myself!
How to make shortbread cookies
These vegan, gluten free shortbread cookies are inspired by the classic recipe, which is typically just a few simple ingredients:
This easy shortbread cookie recipe has just five ingredients so I could blend the flours for the best texture. Almond meal gives them a tender and light crumb while just a bit of rice flour gives them the sandy crispness you expect.
These vegan shortbread cookies are the perfect low effort holiday cookie: just beat the butter, salt and maple syrup together and mix in the flour. Sit with a cup of tea while they chill and then scoop or cut with your favourite cookie cutters!
I’m not typically one for choosing the ‘plain’ version of anything, especially in a cookie. Shortbread is an exception to that rule! Shortbread is kind of perfect just as it is, so I didn’t want to fuss with it. These cookies are crisp but not crumbly, buttery, and most importantly, not too sweet!
What you’ll need to make these vegan shortbread cookies
I’m not gonna lie: I am more of a cook than a baker. And gluten free, vegan baking is its own challenge! I really went to the mat for this one so you can have a foolproof, zero compromise treat. The only thing you need to worry about is getting the right vegan butter.
- Vegan Butter: Not all vegan butters are the same…some are just gross margarine. I look for ones that have high quality oils and are non-hydrogenated. My two faves are Miyoko’s Creamery, which is cashew-based and quite a treat (it’s a bit pricey) and Melt Organic Buttery Sticks. I’ve used Melt for this recipe because it does a good job of minimizing omega 6 fatty acids and is more affordable for everyday use.
- Sugar: As per usual, I’ve chosen pure maple syrup because it offers a sweeter experience than sugar…but you won’t taste it! You cannot substitute sugar for this recipe as it will change the moisture content.
- Almond meal: almond meal has such a wonderful, soft crumb and a naturally sweet taste. If you love baking with almond flour, you should try my amazing high-protein almond flour scones.
- Brown rice flour: this is essential for giving the cookie its snappy, crisp texture. You cannot substitute white rice flour as it doesn’t have the same texture as brown rice.
Life is short, eat a damn cookie.
Yes, I’m all about anti-inflammatory nutrition. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a cookie every now and then! Treats are treats. Eat your kale, eat your cookies…it all fits in a healthy life.
These cookies are perfect with a cup of tea in the afternoon, to serve after a big dinner instead of a heavier dessert, or if you want to make a crowd-pleasing cookie for holiday cookie exchanges.
Damn Good Vegan Shortbread Cookies
- 2½ cups almond meal
- ½ cup brown rice flour
- ⅔ cup good quality vegan butter I used Melt Organic
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit (175° Celsius) and prepare a large baking sheet with parchment.
- In a medium bowl, beat butter, maple syrup and salt with a handheld mixer or a wooden spoon until fluffy. Next, add the rice flour and almond meal and mix at low speed (or with a fork) until a loose dough forms. Then, get in there with your hands to form into a ball.
- Toss the dough in the fridge for 60 minutes to chill while you chill.
- Once chilled, you can either scoop or roll the dough. Want soft, puffy cookies? Scoop out 1 tablespoon (15ml) of dough and roll into a ball. Gently press ball into a 1 cm (⅓ inch) thick round.
- Looking for a classic, crisp shortbread? Roll between two layers of parchment to 1/4-1/3 inch thick. You might need a little rice flour on the parchment to prevent sticking. Cut with your favourite cutters and carefully lift onto the baking sheet.
- Bake for 11-14 minutes, until the bottoms turn golden brown. The rolled cookies will cook faster than the drop cookies. Remove cookie sheet to a cooling rack and let fully cool before handling as they firm up when cool.
- Keep cookies in a sealed container at room temperature for up to three days, or store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to a month.