Almond Flour Shortbread Cookies

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Gluten free shortbread cookies made with almond flour! These cookies are crunchy, buttery, and perfectly sweet.

Iced almond flour shortbread cookies on a cooling rack

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I’m closing out my Valentine’s Day baking with these wonderful little gluten free almond flour shortbread cookies!

Nothing says “festive” more than cute little cut out cookies, iced and adorned with the season’s colors.

My absolute favorite cut out cookies are shortbread cookies–more specifically Ina Garten’s Shortbread Cookies.

Now queen Ina’s recipe is supreme, BUT I love playing around with alternate versions of traditional recipes, so I wanted to try and make a gluten free shortbread.

I knew immediately that I wanted to use an almond flour. The idea of a crunchy, buttery almond flour cookie, with crispy outer edges just sounded like the absolute right answer, and I’m happy to say it was!

These crispy almond flour cookies are super easy to make. They’re light, have an incredibly satisfying crunch, and I love the texture and flavor the almonds lend to the dough.

The cookies roll out and cut like a dream, making these the perfect cookies to cut out for any holiday or special occasion you need them for!

What is almond flour?

Almond flour is just very finely ground almonds! It looks just like all purpose flour!

When selecting your almond flour for this recipe, use only varieties that have “blanched whole almonds” or “blanched almond flour” under the ingredient list.

Does almond flour bake like all purpose flour? What does it do to cookies?

Uniced heart shaped cookie cooling on a wire rack

In a nutshell (ha see what I did there?) almond flour has similar functions, but it’s not an easy swap for all purpose flour.

The conversion listed on the nut flour I use states it’s a 1:2 ratio. So for every one cup of all purpose flour, you’ll need about two cups of almond flour. This of course can change a little based on whatever recipe you’re using.

For this almond flour shortbread cookie recipe, I found this ratio to be about right.

The reason is that we’re working with nuts, not grains. The ground nuts just don’t absorb the same way as wheat or oat flour would.

Also, when incorporating almond flour into a recipe, it’s important to keep in mind that almonds are nuts and nuts are fatty. I found I needed to cut back on the butter a touch and add in a little powdered sugar for absorption.

It was important to me to keep in as much fat as I could since fat is flavor, and I wanted a buttery tasting cookie.

The starch from the powdered sugar will help absorb the excess fat and keep the cookies from melting in the oven or getting too greasy.

Baked goods with almond flour also tend to produce a softer dough with a more crumbly texture. So the cornstarch in the powdered sugar will also help to produce a lighter and more crispy cookie with a tighter crumb.

What is shortbread?

Shortbread cookies generally are like sugar cookies, except they’re a little less sweet and they’re made with no eggs, no baking powder, and no baking soda.

These almond flour shortbread cookies are the same! They too are made without any leavening or eggs.

Just like a traditional shortbread cookie with all purpose flour, these almond flour shortbread cookies are crunchy and buttery, with lovely crispy edges! They also make the perfect cut out cookies!

How to make almond flour shortbread cookies:

A stack of heart shaped almond flour cookies on a white napkin. More cookies and rolling pin in the background.

Makes 15-17 Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 10 tablespoons of unsalted butter, softened at room temp
  • 1/3 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups of almond flour
  • 3/4 cup of powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt

Instructions:

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter on medium-high speed until smooth.

Turn the mixer down to low and add the granulated sugar.

Turn the mixer back up to medium-high and beat the butter and sugar until well incorporated and fluffy–about 30 seconds.

Mix in the vanilla extract.

Stop the mixer and add in the almond flour, powdered sugar, and salt. 

Turn the mixer to low and beat until lightly mixed. 

Mixing the cookie dough in a pink mixer with the paddle attachment.

Turn the speed back up to medium-low and finish mixing until all the ingredients are well incorporated. The dough will be ready when it starts pulling away from the sides of the mixing bowl.

Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides and the bottom of the mixing bowl and give a final mix by hand to ensure everything blended together nicely. 

Lay a piece of plastic wrap down on the work surface and scrape the dough onto the plastic.

Pat the dough out into a rectangle about 1/2″ thick and wrap tightly in the plastic wrap.

Chill in the fridge until firm–about 1 to 1 1/2 hours or even overnight.

Rolling and cutting the cookies

Cookie dough rolled out and cut with a round fluted cookie cutter.

Once the dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 325º and line two sheet pans with parchment paper.

Remove your shortbread dough from the fridge and cut it in half. 

Place one half of the dough on your work surface, and return the other half of the dough to the fridge. We’ll roll that later.

To roll out the cookies, you can either dust your work surface and rolling pin with a little powdered sugar or roll out your cookie dough between two sheets of plastic–Rolling between the plastic keeps you from adding any additional sugar to the dough!

Rolling the cookie dough out between two pieces of plastic with a rolling pin

Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough about 1/4″ thick. 

From here, you can cut out your favorite cookie shapes–either freehand with a kitchen knife or by using cookie cutters. For this recipe, I used a round cutter and a heart cutter that were about 2.5″ – 2.75″ wide.

Repeat the above steps with the remaining dough in the fridge.

Make sure to gather any scraps of dough leftover from your cutouts. Those can be rerolled and cut into cookies too!

Tip: if using a cookie cutter with a detailed edge-like a scalloped or fluted edge–pop your cookie cutouts in the freezer for 15-20 until they’re firm, before baking. This will help keep the shape of the edges.

Baking your cookies:

Once you’ve cut out your shortbread cookies, bake in a 325º oven for 11-13 minutes. You’ll know they’re done when the cookies have puffed and are lightly browned around the edges.

Allow the cookies to cool and set completely on the sheet pan before moving them or icing them.

Store cookies in an airtight container at room temp for up to a week. Around day four or five, the cookies will start to lose their crunch and just turn into soft little delights!

Decorating your Almond Flour Shortbread Cookies:

Icing a heart shaped cookie on a wire rack with white icing using a spoon. A bowl of icing is next to the cookie.

While these cookies are delightful plain, they love being decorated with colorful sugar and icing!

To decorate with colored sugar: grab a variety of your favorite festive colored sugars and sprinkle over the top of your cut out cookies before baking! They’ll adhere to the surface beautifully once baked.

To decorate with icing: if you want to decorate with a lovely simple vanilla icing, use the below recipe:

  • 1 1/2 cups of confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • A dash of salt
  • Gel or liquid food coloring (optional)

Mix all the ingredients (except the food coloring) in a bowl and stir until smooth! Add additional milk a teaspoon at a time if the mixture is not spreadable. You don’t want the icing to be too runny. It should be thick enough that you can spread it, but runny enough that drizzles off a spoon slowly and steadily.

If coloring your icing, divide your icing into different bowls and color with the food coloring.

To ice, use a spoon spread over the top of the cookies and allow the cookies to dry for a few hours to set.

Can I freeze these almond flour shortbread cookies?

Closeup of a stack of heart shaped almond flour cookies sitting on a white napkin. A cookie cutter and rolling pin in the background

Yes!

This almond flour shortbread cookie dough freezes beautifully!

You can either freeze the dough before rolling or roll and cut your cookies per the recipe and freeze the cut-outs to bake later.

When you’re ready to bake, pop the cookies on a sheet pan while they’re still frozen and bake at 325º for 12-13 minutes. They’ll be done when they’re puffed and lightly golden brown on the bottom.

Almond Flour Shortbread Cookies-Crunchy and Gluten Free

Almond Flour Shortbread Cookies

Yield: 15 Cookies
Prep Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 57 minutes

Crunchy, buttery, gluten free shortbread cookies made with almond flour!

Ingredients

  • 10 tablespoons of unsalted butter, softened at room temp
  • 1/3 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups of almond flour
  • 3/4 cup of powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt

Instructions

Making the Shortbread Cookie Dough

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter on medium-high speed until smooth.
  2. Turn the mixer down to low and add the granulated sugar.
  3. Turn the mixer back up to medium-high and beat the butter and sugar until well incorporated and fluffy--about 30 seconds.
  4. Mix in the vanilla extract.
  5. Stop the mixer and add in the almond flour, powdered sugar, and salt. 
  6. Turn the mixer to low and beat until lightly mixed. 
  7. Turn the speed back up to medium-low and finish mixing until all the ingredients are well incorporated. The dough will be ready when it starts pulling away from the sides of the mixing bowl.
  8. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides and the bottom of the mixing bowl and give a final mix by hand to ensure everything blended together nicely. 
  9. Lay a piece of plastic wrap down on the work surface and scrape the dough onto the plastic.
  10. Pat the dough out into a rectangle about 1/2" thick and wrap tightly in the plastic wrap.
  11. Chill in the fridge until firm--about 1 to 1 1/2 hours or even overnight.

Rolling and Cutting the Cookies

  1. Once the dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 325º and line two sheet pans with parchment paper.
  2. Remove your shortbread dough from the fridge and cut it in half. 
  3. Place one half of the dough on your work surface, and return the other half of the dough to the fridge. We'll roll that later.
  4. To roll out the cookies, you can either dust your work surface and rolling pin with a little powdered sugar or roll out your cookie dough between two sheets of plastic--Rolling between the plastic keeps you from adding any additional sugar to the dough!
  5. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough about 1/4" thick. 
  6. From here, you can cut out your favorite cookie shapes--either freehand with a kitchen knife or by using cookie cutters. For this recipe, I used a round cutter and a heart cutter that were about 2.5" - 2.75" wide.
  7. Repeat the above steps with the remaining dough in the fridge.
  8. Make sure to gather any scraps of dough leftover from your cutouts. Those can be rerolled and cut into cookies too!
  9. Tip: if using a cookie cutter with a detailed edge-like a scalloped or fluted edge--pop your cookie cutouts in the freezer for 15-20 until they're firm, before baking. This will help keep the shape of the edges.

Baking the Cookies:

  1. Once you've cut out your shortbread cookies, bake in a 325º oven for 11-13 minutes. You'll know they're done when the cookies have puffed and are lightly browned around the edges.
  2. Allow the cookies to cool and set completely on the sheet pan before moving them or icing them.

Notes

*Make sure to let the cookies set before removing them from the sheet pan. Cookies with almond flour are softer than all purpose flour cookies

**If you want to decorate with colored sugar, sprinkle the sugar on the cookie dough before baking! Bake recipe as directed.

***For Icing: Mix 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons whole milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and a dash of salt in a bowl and stir until smooth. Add additional milk a teaspoon at a time if the mixture is not spreadable--the icing should be thick enough that you can spread it, but runny enough that drizzles off a spoon slowly and steadily.

If coloring your icing, divide your icing into different bowls and color with desired food coloring.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 15 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 194Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 37mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 2gSugar: 10gProtein: 3g

Other recipes you might like:

Chewy Snickerdoodles (without Cream of Tartar!)

Flaky Cinnamon Pinwheel Cookies

Iced Oatmeal Cookies

Honey Almond Cake (Gluten Free)

Equipment:

Almond Flour

Rolling Pin

Cookie Cutters

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