When we were creating recipes for Girl Scout Cookies (specifically these Tagalongs), we loved the cookie base so much we wanted to turn it into shortbread cookies. Hence, this creation was born.
While these vegan, gluten-free shortbread cookies are healthier than your average shortbread, they don’t lack in crispy texture, butteriness, or sweet flavor. Plus, they’re surprisingly easy to make — just 7 ingredients and 1 bowl required. Let us show you how it’s done!
Origins of Shortbread Cookies
It’s believed that shortbread originated in Scotland and was adapted from a medieval biscuit. Traditionally, it was made with 1 part sugar, 2 parts butter, and 3-4 parts flour.
Because it was expensive to make, it was considered a luxury item and reserved for occasions such as weddings, Christmas, and Hogmanay (Scottish New Year’s Eve). Shortbread’s popularity has since expanded around the world, and it is especially popular in the UK, Denmark, Ireland, and Sweden.
The following is our gluten-free and plant-based take on the delicious treat!
Vegan Gluten-Free Shortbread Cookies
To achieve the right texture for these cookies, we included a combination of gluten-free flours. Almond flour and our DIY gluten-free blend are light and fluffy and mild in flavor, while tapioca flour helps the cookies crisp up. Baking soda provides additional fluffiness and sea salt adds flavor.
Want to take a deeper dive into learning about the different types of gluten-free flours? Check out our Guide To Gluten-Free Flours here!
Next, we use a pastry cutter to mix the solid coconut oil into the dry ingredients (this step could also be done in a food processor!). This creates the flaky texture that makes these cookies buttery without the butter (magic, right?).
Then we add the maple syrup for sweetness and the mixture turns from a crumbly texture to a moldable, rollable dough.
The dough can be rolled into a log then chilled and sliced.
Alternatively, form the dough into a disc, roll flat, and cut with a cookie cutter (our preferred method for consistent-sized cookies and ease).
Using a cookie cutter yields cute little circles, while slicing creates a more rustic look.
After a quick bake in the oven, they develop golden brown edges. And after cooling for a bit, they become perfectly firm and crispy for that classic shortbread snap!
We hope you LOVE these shortbread cookies! They’re:
Quick & easy
They’re especially delicious with a glass of dairy-free milk or English breakfast tea. Enjoy as an afternoon snack, dessert, or any time a shortbread craving strikes!
More Vegan Gluten-Free Cookie Recipes
- Vegan Gluten-Free Banana Pecan Shortbread (Butter-Free)
- 1-Bowl Ginger Cookies (Gluten-Free)
- Vegan Gluten-Free Vanilla Wafers
- Peanut Butter Cup Cookies (V/GF)
If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!
Vegan Gluten-Free Shortbread Cookies (1 Bowl)
- 1 cup almond flour (not almond meal // or try subbing cashew flour, though we haven't tested it and can't guarantee the results)
- 3/4 cup gluten-free flour blend (the closest store-bought blend is Bob's Red Mill 1:1 GF flour)
- 1/2 cup tapioca flour (also called tapioca starch)
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 cup solid refined coconut oil (if oil free, you could try subbing water, though we haven't tested it this way and can't guarantee the results)
- 6 Tbsp maple syrup
- Preheat the oven to 350 F (176 C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium mixing bowl (or food processor) whisk (or blend) together almond flour, gluten-free flour blend, tapioca flour, baking soda, and salt until well combined.
- Add in the solid coconut oil (if the coconut oil has liquified, simply place it into the fridge for a couple of minutes) and with clean hands (or a pastry cutter, or by pulsing in the food processor), begin mixing the solid coconut oil with the dry ingredients until no obvious lumps of coconut oil remain. The texture should look sandy and hold together in clumps when you squeeze it.
- Add maple syrup and mix with a spatula or wooden spoon (or pulse in the food processor) until combined. It should look like play dough — scoopable, moldable, not too tacky or crumbly.
- Place a piece of parchment or wax paper on the counter and transfer the cookie dough onto the paper. Mold the dough together into a disc and place another piece of parchment or wax paper on top of the dough. Using a rolling pin, begin rolling the dough between the pieces of paper until it is 1/4-inch thick. Then, using a 2-inch circle cookie cutter, cut out as many cookies as possible (see notes if you don’t have a cookie cutter). Use a spatula or butter knife to carefully transfer the cookies to the parchment-lined baking sheet(s). They won’t spread too much, so they should all fit on one large baking sheet (but do use more as needed to avoid overcrowding).
- Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges just begin to turn golden brown (a little cracking on top is normal). While the cookies bake, roll out any remaining dough and cut more cookies. Then repeat the baking process with remaining dough.
- Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 10 minutes on the baking sheet. Enjoy with a glass of dairy-free milk or a warm cup of English breakfast tea. Keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
*If you don’t have cookie cutters, you can roll your dough into a log and slice it! Follow steps 1 through 4, then place a piece of parchment or wax paper on the counter and smoosh the dough together into a tall lump in the middle of the paper. Fold one side of the paper over your dough and begin pressing the ends in and rolling until you have a smooth, even log, about 8 inches long and 2 inches in diameter. Roll it up in the parchment and place in the freezer for 20 minutes. If you prefer square cookies, you can simply press the dough into an even rectangle instead of rolling. Remove the dough from the freezer and cut into 1/4-inch slices. When cutting, rotate your dough log every few slices to avoid getting one side too flat. Place your cookie slices on your prepared baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes.