Easy almond flour shortbread cookies that are delightfully crispy and made with only 3 ingredients! They are healthy, vegan, gluten-free, paleo, keto and can be made oil-free.
Why you'll love these cookies
DIFFICULTY: 3 ingredients, 1 bowl, no-fuss. You don't need an electric mixer!
TEXTURE: Bake them for longer to make crunchy healthier shortbread cookies. Or bake them for shorter to get soft and chewy cookies.
TASTE: Rich and 'buttery' with a hint of coconut. They don't taste 'healthy' at all!
3 ingredients you'll need
These healthier shortbread cookies are made with:
Notes about the ingredients:
Almond flour (US) or blanched almond meal (Australia/UK) is your main gluten-free and grain-free flour. It's high in natural fats which makes this shortbread taste rich and 'buttery'.
Pure maple syrup. This sweetens the shortbread and binds together the ingredients. It gives the cookies a beautiful golden hue!
Coconut butter (coconut manna), coconut oil, cacao butter or dairy-free butter. Coconut oil is pure fat whereas coconut butter is made from ground-up dried coconut and can be found in health food shops or South Asian shops. The coconut flavor is very mild in this shortbread but if you don't want any coconut flavor, use one of the alternatives.
That's it! Healthier shortbread cookies with NO wheat flour, baking soda or egg replacers!
A complete list of ingredients, quantities and instructions are in the gray recipe card at the bottom of this post.
How to make almond flour shortbread cookies
Simply add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl and stir until combined. Since this recipe is gluten-free, you don't have to worry about overmixing the dough!
This cookie dough is a little crumblier than regular cookie dough. Don't worry because a crumblier dough leads to crunchier cookies! In contrast, a sticker dough creates chewier cookies.
And yes, you can eat the almond flour cookie dough straight from the bowl (or check out my chickpea cookie dough recipe).
How to shape the cookies
There are a few ways you can shape your vegan almond flour cookies!
- Roll out the dough into a rectangle and use a cookie cutter (my preference)
- Roll the dough into balls and flatten with your hands
- Shape the dough into a log then slice and bake
If you'd like to roll out your dough, first I recommend packing your dough into a tight rectangle or ball. Then roll out your dough on a piece of parchment paper or a silicone mat.
If your dough sticks to your rolling pin or cookie cutter, simply sprinkle some water OR almond flour on your equipment and continue.
To 'slice and bake' your cookies, make sure your shape your dough into a tight log. Then use a sharp knife to slice the log into cookies.
Tips for baking
The almond flour shortbread doesn't really spread in the oven which means you you can place them close to each other on your baking sheet.
These cookies are usually ready at the 12-minute mark. If you bake them for less time, they'll have crispy edges and a slightly chewy and soft center. If you bake them for longer, they'll be crispier!
However, all ovens run differently so keep a close eye on your cookies while they are baking. These cookies are packed with almond flour and will brown quicker than regular cookies.
Customizing the shortbread
This healthier shortbread is perfect for everyday snacking. Or you can customize them for special occasions! You may:
- Add a pinch of salt, vanilla extract or even lemon zest for extra flavor.
- Dip half of each shortbread in chocolate for a healthier version of Danish butter shortbread.
- Cut the cookies into hearts and dip them in chocolate for some adorable Valentine's Day cookies!
- For a festive touch, add chopped pistachios and dried cranberries to the dough like my Pistachio and Cranberry Vegan Christmas Cookies. Enjoy them as is or make Linzer cookies out of them!
These cookies can be made raw vegan! Dehydrate the cookies at 45°C (115°F) for around 8 hours. They will have crisp edges and a soft coconut macaroon-like center.
These cookies also make a great base for healthier sugar cookies! Make a frosting out of coconut butter (like Natalie's recipe here) and decorate the cookies as desired.
Questions and Answers
A: Almond flour cannot be easily substituted with nut-free flour. Its natural fats give the shortbread cookies a crumbly and buttery texture. Instead, I'd recommend my classic Pistachio and Cranberry Vegan Cookies.
A: I've tried making these cookies using rice malt syrup and wouldn't recommend it as it makes the cookies VERY chewy!
Readers have I haven't tried other liquid sweeteners for this recipe. Granulated sugar will not work as these cookies need the stickiness of a liquid sweetener to stay together.
More vegan cookie recipes
Almond Flour Shortbread Cookies (3 ingredients)
Almond Flour Shortbread Cookies
To Decorate (optional)
- 1 cup (170g) roughly chopped vegan chocolate or chocolate chips
- Chopped pistachios and freeze dried raspberries
- Note: I recommend using weighing your ingredients for this recipe. Even 1 tablespoon (15-20g) of extra coconut butter or maple syrup will change the texture of the cookies!
- Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F). Line 1-2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Preparing the shortbread cookies:
- Add all the ingredients to a bowl and mix until combined. You should be able to pinch the mixture between two fingers without it crumbling. The mixture is generally more crumbly than regular cookie dough.
- Shape the cookie dough into a rough ball. (See Note 2)
- On a clean surface or on a sheet of parchment paper, roll out the cookie dough so it's about 8-10mm thick. Use a 5 cm (2 inch) cookie cutter to cut cookies out of the dough. Carefully place each cookie on your lined baking tray with a little space in between each cookie. (See Note 3 for the slice and bake method)
- Collect the excess dough, roll it out and repeat until you have no more dough.
- Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes or until the cookies are slightly golden. A shorter baking time will give you chewy and crispy cookies. A longer baking time will give you consistently crispy cookies. Allow the cookies to completely cool on the baking sheet.
- Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for 5 days, in the fridge for 2 weeks or up to 2 months in the freezer.
To decorate (optional):
- Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over medium heat then remove.
- Dip half of each cookie in the melted chocolate and arrange them on a lined baking sheet. While the chocolate is still wet, sprinkle the pistachios and raspberries on top. Allow the chocolate to set at room temperature for 20 minutes then enjoy or store until needed.
- Alternatively, you may use melted vegan butter, cacao butter or refined coconut oil for absolutely no coconut flavor!
- If your home is warm, your cookie dough may be a little too soft. If so, cover the dough in an airtight container or plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 15 minutes or until it's firm enough to handle.
- Alternatively, shape your dough into a tight log that is about 5 cm (2 inches) thick. If the dough is firm enough to slice, use a sharp knife to cut the log into 8-10mm thick pieces. If the dough is very soft, chill it in the fridge for 1 hour or until it's firm enough.
This post was originally published in June 2016 and updated in July 2021 to simplify the recipe.
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