These 4 ingredient Almond Flour Shortbread Cookies are not only rich and buttery, but also naturally gluten free. Dipped in chocolate or not, these Christmas cookies are delicious!
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Almond flour shortbread cookies have all the flavor and texture of regular shortbread but are more nutritious. With just 4 base ingredients, they make the perfect edible holiday gift!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Diet friendly: Grain free, gluten free, low carb, paleo, and optionally vegan!
- Low carb, if you need: Just 2 grams net carbs per cookie compared to 5 grams in regular shortbread cookies.
- Less “empty calories“: Replace bleached, processed flours for high protein, heart healthy, nutrient dense almond flour. It’s not a super low calorie cookie, but the calories are packed with healthy nutrients.
- Buttery and crisp: Just the way Christmas shortbread cookies should be!
- Perfect for shipping: Wrap and mail them for a delicious homemade Christmas gift! I recommend to omit the chocolate then.
Ingredients for Almond Flour Shortbread Cookies
- Almond flour: Use superfine blanched almond flour and not almond meal. The first creates almond flour shortbread cookies that are melt-in-your-mouth. The second one will make cookies crumbly and potentially fall apart.
- Butter: Use unsalted softened but not melted butter. I don’t recommend using firm coconut oil as the flavor won’t be the same.
- Sugar: Use either cane sugar or, for a sugar free alternative, use erythritol, monk fruit extract or another dry sweetener.
- Baking soda: To help the cookies achieve the correct consistency.
- Flour for rolling: Use regular all-purpose flour or coconut flour to dust and roll the cookie dough. Use white flour that won’t affect the color of the shortbread cookie dough. I don’t recommend using additional almond flour, as it doesn’t work well for dusting.
If you would like to dip cookies in chocolate, you will also need chocolate or chocolate chips and coconut oil.
How to Make Almond Flour Shortbread Cookies
- Cream the butter and sugar: In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter and sugar and beat with an electric mixer until it’s a pale yellow. Be careful not to over beat the butter and lose the extra air.
- Mix into a dough: Next, add the baking soda and almond flour, and stir with a spatula until it becomes easier to knead by hand. Then knead by hand until a ball of dough forms.
- Chill the dough: Divide the dough into two balls, flatten them into disks, wrap tightly with cling film, and chill for 2 hours in the fridge or 1 hour in the freezer.
- Roll out the dough: Unwrap one of the dough disks and place it on a lightly floured surface. Use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough out until around 1/3-inch thick or even slightly taller. The thinner, the crispier.
- Cut the cookies: Using your favorite cookie cutter, cut out as many cookies as you can from the dough. Transfer them to the prepared baking sheet with 1-inch between (they don’t spread much). Re-roll the remaining dough scraps for more cookies and then repeat with the second dough sheet in the refrigerator.
- Bake the cookies: Transfer both baking trays to your preheated 325 F oven and bake for 7 minutes, then remove from the oven and allow them to cool for 30 minutes on the tray before transferring to a cooling rack to completely cool.
- Prepare the chocolate coating: In a small saucepan, using a double boiler, or in a bowl in the microwave (in 20-second increments), gently melt the chocolate and coconut oil, whisking until smooth and fully melted.
- Dip the cookies: Dip each of the cooled cookies halfway into the melted chocolate mixture, then transfer them to a wax paper or parchment lined baking sheet. Place that in the refrigerator until set and hardened.
Tips for Best Results
- Use softened butter: It needs to be soft enough to leave an indent when pressed, but not so soft that it’s melted and your finger can press all the way through. Melted butter can lead to spreading cookies.
- Use the spoon and level method: When measuring the flour, it’s important to spoon it into your measuring cup, then level that with the back of a knife. Don’t press down on the flour, or you’ll end up with the wrong amount and affect the cookie dough.
- Don’t skip the dough chilling step: Otherwise almond flour shortbread cookies will spread a lot!
- If the dough is very hard at first: Allow it to warm up on the counter for 5-10 minutes. Note that the dough is fairly sticky, so you’ll need to dust the surface and rolling pin with quite a bit of flour. Alternatively, roll the dough between two layers of parchment paper.
- Be careful not to over bake the cookies: Cookies should remain pale when removed from the oven (not golden).
- Adjust the baking time: Based on the size and thickness of your cookies. Thinner cookies will be the crispiest and bake faster.
- Allow the cookies to cool for 30 minutes before touching them: These cookies will be very fragile when first out of the oven. If you attempt to transfer or touch them before they cool, they’ll fall apart or deform.
This cookie dough is perfect for adapting into tons of flavors and shapes! Here are some of my favorite options:
- Citrus zest: My favorite way to easily add flavor to many baked goods is with some citrus zest. Add about 1/2-1 teaspoon of lime, lemon or orange zest. Dip the lemon shortbread cookies in white chocolate!
- Dried fruit: Add finely chopped 2-3 tablespoons of dried cranberries, apricot or other dry fruit to the cookie dough.
- Cocoa powder: Replace 2 tablespoons of almond flour with cocoa powder plus a pinch of instant coffee or espresso powder.
- Spices: You can easily add warm flavor with spices like cinnamon, gingerbread spice, nutmeg, cardamom, ginger, etc.
- Coconut flakes: Add 2-3 tablespoons of raw or lightly toasted coconut.
- Extracts: Add a few drops of natural extract to easily scent these almond flour shortbread cookies. My favorite options include vanilla extract, orange, lemon, coconut, peppermint, coffee, almond, rosewater, etc.
- Nuts: Feel free to add a few tablespoons of chopped nuts like pistachios, pecans, or walnuts. Or sprinkle them over the melted chocolate.
- Crystallized ginger: A tablespoon or two of finely chopped candied ginger will add extra heat and ginger flavor.
- Herbs: You can enjoy these cookies sweet or savory, and adding some herbs works for either. Add 2 tablespoons of finely chopped rosemary, thyme, or sage to the dough. Fresh, edible lavender would also work (only add 1 tablespoon to begin with).
- Flaky salt: A sprinkle of flaky salt over the melted chocolate topping not only looks great but adds crunch and enhances the flavor.
- Earl grey: Use around 2 tablespoons of finely chopped Earl Grey tea leaves.
How to Ship These Cookies
These almond flour shortbread cookies are a perfect option for mailing with a few top tips:
- Cool them: Ensure they’re 100% cooled to avoid steam and bacteria growth in the packaging.
- Skip the chocolate coating: As it could melt somewhere along the way and become very messy.
- Airtight: Make sure the cookies are in airtight packaging like plastic wrap, plastic container with a lid or Ziplock bags.
- Line the box with bubble wrap or padding: To nest your cookies, so they don’t shake and break. You can use bubble wrap, packing peanuts, shredded paper or newspaper.
- If you’ve placed the cookies within a decorative box: Pad the outer cardboard mailing box too.
- Write “fragile”: On the top of the box. Not sure it works but just in case.
I also recommend shipping the day after they are baked and sending the package via a fast shipping method, so the recipient has a few days to enjoy the “fresh” cookies! You can optionally send them as a mixed cookie parcel with almond flour sugar cookies and healthy gingerbread cookies too!
How to Store
Store: Once baked, you can store almond flour shortbread cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week or slightly longer in the refrigerator.
Freeze: Flash freeze baked cookies on a tray, transfer them to a freezer safe container or bag, and store them for up to 6 months. When you want one, it will only take a few minutes to thaw on the kitchen counter.
Can I Make Them Ahead?
Yes. This cookie recipe is incredibly baking prep friendly. You can store the prepared dough either in a log (for slice and bake cookies) or as a dough ball, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap.
Store for up to 1 week in the fridge or several months in the freezer. Then, simply shape or slice and bake when ready, adding an extra minute or two, if needed.
Unfortunately not with this recipe. You have to use only fine or super fine blanched almond flour. I use Kirkland brand from Costco or homemade almond flour. Coconut oil cannot be used in place of butter.
Personally to me and my kids, these shortbread cookies made with erythritol or monk fruit extract taste very “normal”. However, if you have sensitive taste buds to weird aftertaste of sugar replacement products like stevia and erythritol, I highly recommend to make them with cane sugar! There have been a few complaints.
Do not confuse softened butter with melted butter. To soften butter, leave it on a counter at room temperature for at least 4 hours or better overnight. It should be soft to the touch of your finger, then it creams better. Melted butter will not work in this recipe – baking is a science.
You can leave the butter at room temperature for 4 hours or overnight. If you forget, quickly soften butter by grating it. Alternatively, heat a bowl with water until very hot. Then, discard the water and place the bowl over the butter on your counter. The residual heat will steam and soften the butter. Both methods should have the butter softened in less than 10 minutes.
The key to shortbread cookies is that they shouldn’t gain color. If the edges begin to brown, you’ve gone too far. Instead, they require very little time in the oven, and the residual heat helps them finish cooking outside of the oven.
If you made the cookies very thick, they will be softer in the middle. Alternatively, they may be underbaked and require an extra minute or two in the oven. However, also remember that they will take at least 30 minutes to cool after cooking before they begin to harden and set.
More Almond Flour Recipes to Try
- Almond flour skillet cookie
- Almond flour chocolate chip cookies
- Healthy cookie dough
- Almond flour cinnamon bread
Or browse through this list of 45 almond flour recipes!
Almond Flour Shortbread Cookies
- In a large bowl, add butter and sugar. Beat with an electric mixer until combined and creamy.
- Add baking soda and almond flour; stir with spatula and knead with hands towards the end until a ball of dough forms.
- Divide dough into two balls, place on two separate sheets of plastic wrap, flatten into discs, wrap and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours or in the freezer for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and line two large baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
- Remove chilled dough from the fridge (or freezer) and unwrap. If very hard, let it warm up on the counter for 5-10 minutes. Dust the surface and rolling pin with all-purpose flour or coconut flour (see notes). You will need quite a bit as this dough is wet. Roll the dough 1/3 inch thick or even thicker (I love tall shortbread).
- Using your favorite cookie cutters, cut out cookies and transfer to previously prepared baking sheet (loosening with small spatula if necessary), leaving 1 inch in between. These cookies do not spread a lot. Combine the dough scraps into a ball, roll it out, cut out cookies and repeat until you run out of dough. Repeat the same step with the second disc of dough.
- Bake for 7 minutes. Remove cookies from the oven before any visible browning occurs. You do not want that with shortbread – they should be of light color. Remove from the oven and let them cool off first on a baking tray for 30 minutes, then transfer onto a cooling rack to cool off completely.
Chocolate dipped shortbread (optional)
- In a small pot or bowl, add chocolate chips and oil. Melt on the stovetop or in a microwave in 20 second intervals, whisking until smooth and melted.
- Dip each cookie (it should be completely cooled off) in melted chocolate half way, place on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper, and refrigerate until chocolate has hardened.
- Store: Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 6 months.
- Flour or oil substitutions? Unfortunately not with this recipe. You have to use only fine or super fine blanched almond flour. Coconut oil cannot be used in place of butter.
- Don’t skip these two things: Chilling the dough as cookies will spread a lot and don’t skip cooling down the cookies. Do not move or touch freshly baked cookies for first 30 minutes. They will fall apart and deform. Let them cool and solidify, even better overnight.