Almond Flour Shortbread Cookies (low sugar and really easy)

There’s just something special about shortbread.  I’ve always had a soft spot for its buttery goodness, mild sweetness, and subtle crunch.

Similarly, my dad always loved the store-bought Pecan Sandies, and I did, too.  They weren’t overly sweet and certainly didn’t hold the chocolatey appeal of a Fudge Stripe or an Oreo, but their plainness was (is!) oddly satisfying.

This version of the traditional shortbread cookie tastes great with minimal sugar and far less butter than the classic version.  Almond flour replaces the customary all-purpose flour to create an option that not only tastes great but packs a protein punch.  What’s more, these little gems are gluten-free and super quick to mix up.  The sheer ease of this recipe makes it perfect for those who are new to gluten/grain-free baking or those who simply want a quick dessert that won’t break the nutritional bank.

Easy Almond Shortbread Cookies
These small bites satisfy a sweet tooth with minimal sugar and the added benefit of protein from the almonds.  What's more, the dough can be quickly mixed by hand with minimal ingredients.

Yields 16 cookies.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup (112 grams) blanched almond flour (not the heartier meal with dark pieces of skin in it)
  2. 3 tablespoons softened butter (very soft but not melted)
  3. 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  4. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  5. 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  6. Optional: 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium-size bowl, mix all of the ingredients until a cohesive dough forms. I find this easiest to do with a dinner fork.
  3. Separate the dough into fourths and then into fourths again. You will have 16 pieces. My son usually eats one at this point. : ) Roll into balls (they will be about 1” in diameter) and place on the prepared baking sheet. Leave a little space between the cookies for the next step, although they will not spread too much during baking.
  4. Use a fork to flatten each cookie to about 1/4" thick, making a crosshatch design.
  5. Bake the cookies for 7 to 9 minutes, or until they have a hint of golden brown color on top. (Check a minute early and watch carefully until you know how long they take in your oven. Like whole nuts, nut flours tend to brown quickly at the end.)
  6. Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool on the pan for 10 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely before serving or, once completely cool, place in an airtight container for storing.
Notes
  1. *Variations and tips from bakers of the original recipe:*
  2. You can bake these cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet instead of the parchment-lined sheet. Just be sure to transfer the cookies to a rack about 2 to 3 minutes after they come out of the oven; they'll still be warm and fairly fragile, but if left to cool on the ungreased pan too long, they'll stick.
  3. *For thumbprint cookies:* Instead of creating a crosshatch design with a fork, use your thumb to press an indentation into the center of each ball of dough. Fill the hole with about 1/4 teaspoon jam. Note: too much jam will boil out during baking.
  4. *For Maple Pecan Shortbread Cookies:* Add 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons maple syrup, and 1/3 cup diced pecans to the dough. Shape the dough into a log, chill, slice, and bake; or bake as directed above.
  5. *For Chocolate Pistachio Shortbread Cookies:* Substitute 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder for 2 tablespoons of the almond flour; and add 1/8 teaspoon of espresso powder. Stir in 1/4 cup finely chopped pistachios. Shape the dough into a log, chill, slice, and bake for 12 minutes, give or take a minute or two; or bake as directed above.
  6. *For Cranberry-Orange Shortbread Cookies:* Add 1/2 teaspoon orange zest and 1/4 cup dried cranberries to the dough. Shape the dough into a log, chill, slice, and bake for 12 minutes, give or take a minute or two; or bake as directed at right.
The Fountain Avenue Kitchen https://fountainavenuekitchen.com/
Source: King Arthur Flour

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Really Easy Almond Flour Shortbread Cookies
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Comments

  1. Mary Lou Keller

    Oh Ann, these look so yummy!! I love this idea and I know I have almond flour (or I think I do). I am going to try these for sure.

    Reply
    1. Ann

      I know! Where is the time going? I just made a double batch of one of your favorites yesterday–salted hot fudge sauce. Still have a couple more batches to go. : )

      Reply
  2. Mary Lou Keller

    Hello Ann.. I just made a batch of these. Oh my…. I could eat the whole batch! ! I will have to hide them from myself. 🙂 super easy. Next time I will use Kerry Gold grass fed butter, even more nutritious. 😉

    Reply
  3. Mary Lou Keller

    Good morning Ann! I made these last night and I added a half teaspoon of culinary lavendar. They are so good and smell absolutely heavenly! I love how easy this recipe is too.

    I had to hide them from myself and my husband. 🙂

    Hope you have a wonderful day!

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      What a lovely addition, Mary Lou! I just returned from teaching a cooking seminar and your message was the first to greet me. It’s always nice to “see” you!

      Reply
  4. Kathy

    Hi! I just made these cookies last night and my husband and I love them!! He had one last night and this morning he asked if he could have another. You see, we are trying to eat healthier these days and try to stay away from sugar and other things we deem unhealthy. I told my husband he can have one a day. He said, “Oh, I get it! Just like a vitamin! Hahaha! Thank you for this delicious recipe.

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      I love your method of doling them out and your husband’s comparison to a vitamin. So happy they’re a hit, Kathy!

      Reply
  5. Tere Collazo

    These cookies are the best! I made them for a friend who found out she is diabetic, and allergic to dairy and eggs. I substituted butter flavored crisco but still used the powdered sugar and the almond flavoring. I think she will be delighted with them! I also tried substituting stevia for the powdered sugar and added 1/4 c cream of tartar and it worked great for the lemon and peppermint flavored ones for her for Christmas! Thank you for these!!

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      I’m thrilled you love them, Tere, and I’m sure your friend will be so happy with the thoughtful gift. Thanks for taking a moment to share the feedback!

      Reply
  6. Celeste

    They turned out good. I think I rolled them too big because I made a double recipe & got only 20 cookies! Took twice as long to bake too!

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      These are smaller cookies, so it’s easy to roll them bigger, especially if that’s what you normally do. Whatever the size, I’m glad you enjoyed them and appreciate your comment!

      Reply
  7. Slow Cooker

    I doubled this recipe, using 1 cup almond flour and 1 cup tapioca flour. I ended up using 2 more tblsp butter, too. The cookies expanded more than expected and I had to nearly double the baking time. They were delicious!

    Reply