Traditional Scottish shortbread couldn’t be any easier! These soft 3-ingredient Classic Gluten-Free Vegan Shortbread Cookies are allergy-free and sugar-free! A simple sweet biscuit for coffee or tea and an essential holiday recipe!
And you thought you could no longer have your favorite buttery soft shortbread anymore! Don’t worry! You’ll still be able to swipe these sweet and soft Scottish biscuits from the cookie platter now that you have this gluten-free, vegan, and allergy-free recipe! With this base recipe for allergy-free shortbread you’ll be able to add any flavors or add-ins your heart desires!
What are shortbread cookies?
Shortbread originated in Scotland, popular throughout the UK and are typically called biscuits (as that region tends to call cookies, biscuits). Shortbread is called “shortbread” for the short and simple ingredients required to make them! 1 part sugar, 2 parts butter, 3 parts flour! That’s the recipe in the simplest of variations and these cookies are baked at a low temperature until lightly golden brown and fully sliced while they’re cooling (they remind me of biscuit). They firm up once cooled and can get a bit crumbly. Shortbread was typically reserved for celebrations, Christmas and weddings, back in the day, but are also that perfect subtly sweet and buttery treat for afternoon tea!
What ingredients do you need for gluten-free, vegan, and allergy-free shortbread cookies?
Since you only need 3 ingredients for standard shortbread, swapping ingredients 1-to-1 with allergy-free alternatives is rather simple. Sugar stays are sugar (or erythritol, which is what I’m using for this recipe), butter swaps with vegan/allergy-free butter (I used MELT organic), and flour simply swaps with gluten-free all-purpose! Totally optional, but I like to add some pure vanilla extract to the base recipe. From there though, you are free to add any fun additions you’d like! Cinnamon, ginger, lavender, a different flavored extract. If you want to get really crafty, you can dip the finished cookies in some chocolate!
How do you make classic shortbread cookies?
Not as simple as the short ingredient list, but pretty straight forward nonetheless! You mix the sugar (sweetener), butter (cold and cubed), and flour together to form a typical cookie dough. Then you chill the dough for an hour or two, I ended up chilling my dough overnight. Then you let the dough come to room temperature a bit while you press it into a lined 8×8 (or 9×9) inch square baking dish. Flattened it, smooth it out. Then score the dough into a bar or square shape and prick the scored sections with a fork so the middle of the dough will cook. Then bake the shortbread, for 35-40 minutes, remove and slice carefully, all the way through with a very sharp knife. Lift the parchment paper out and easily and safely remove the shortbread cookies and let them cool completely on a wire rack!
Can you make shortbread cookies with cookie cutters instead?
You can! While thick bars/squares are the traditional shape for these biscuits, you can make circles, stars, triangles, etc. You can either use the same method above and score the dough differently for shapes like triangles or you can actually go with cookie cutters. You’ll still need to chill the dough after you mix the ingredients together, then you can roll the dough out as you would with cut-out cookies and use your cookie cutter of choice to make the shapes. You make need to adjust the baking time, however. Watch them closely while they are baking in the oven!
Is shortbread a Christmas cookie or an everyday biscuit?
Both! While you see shortbread cookies everywhere during the holidays (i.e. Christmas!), you also see shortbread on the grocery store shelves year-round! Now that you have this perfectly gluten-free, vegan, allergy-free recipe, why wouldn’t you make shortbread cookies a bit more often? No dairy, no eggs, no nuts, no soy, no gluten! I ever swapped out the sugar for you so they’re a bit healthier, perfect for that nighttime or afternoon coffee or tea! They are more than perfect for adding to Santa’s cookie plate too (he told me, btw!) Soft, buttery, slightly sweet, and perfect for dunking (into a cold glass of non-dairy milk!)
Classic Gluten-Free Vegan Shortbread Cookies
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, butter (cubed or cut into chunks), sweetener, and any other flavorings you are using.
- Mix and knead the dough together, using your hands, and make sure the butter is fully incorporated.
- Chill the dough for at least 1 hour in the fridge.
- Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- Line an 8x8 or 9x9 inch square baking pan with parchment paper.
- Remove the dough a few minutes before you try pressing it into the pan or rolling it out for the cut-out method.
- Press the dough into the lined pan, about ½ inch thickness, and smooth out the top.
- Take a sharpe knife to score your bars or squares and prick the centers with a fork.
- Bake the shortbread in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes.
- Remove the shortbread and while still warm, fully slice through the scored sections.
- Lift the cookies out of the pan, using the parchment paper and then transfer each cookie carefully to a wire rack to cool completely.
Like I mentioned, dipping these gluten-free vegan shortbread cookies into some melted chocolate would be a really delicious idea and a fantastic way to dress them up for gifting this holiday season! Funny though, just like with the snowball cookies, the shortbread was never a go-to holiday cookie pick for me. Until I had the itch, the craving, to make them now, when I couldn’t have “the real thing”. I guess that’s just the way to cookie crumbles!
So tell me:
+ What flavors or add-ins would you use in your shortbread?
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