I don’t think anyone else could love shortbread cookies as much as I do.  I’m pretty picky about my shortbread too.  They can be too dry or too sweet. So attempting a Gluten-Free Shortbread Cookie with less sugar (and no butter) seemed like a really bad idea.

You really shouldn’t mess around with a traditional cookie like this, right?

But I did it anyway.

healthy shortbread cookies

I tested out a 3 ingredient Gluten-Free Shortbread Cookie recipe and it is sooooo good.  I mean, my kids keep asking for another.  And I keep saying no – not because they are cookies. But because I want them ALL for myself.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I could even do without the real shortbread cookies this Christmas.  As long as I have my new health-ified Gluten-Free Shortbread Cookie alternative.

There are only 3 ingredients in this healthy Shortbread Cookie.  Anything with 3 ingredients makes me happy as a busy working mom. But these ingredients also bring some health benefits along with them is an added bonus.  You’re welcome!

The Gluten-Free Shortbread Cookie – Key Ingredients:

Almond Flour – hello protein!  I don’t know about you but I’ve never seen a shortbread cookie with protein!  And you know (if you’ve been following me or most other nutritionists) that protein is a macronutrient you want in your diet.  Especially when you are having a sweet something (because it balances out the blood sugar spike).  Now, you want to choose a finer almond flour so it has a more flakey shortbread cookie feel to it.  If you’re allergic to nuts, you could try another flour (like rice flour) but I have not tested that option yet.

Coconut Oil – hello healthy fat and anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-fungal powerhouse!  Of course, I love the undertones of coconut flavour in anything but this also doesn’t make the Gluten-Free Shortbread Cookie too “coconut-y” in my opinion.

Maple Syrup – hello nutrients!  If you’ve made shortbread cookies before you know that there is a TON of refined sugar in them. In fact, most shortbread uses white sugar or icing sugar.  So by using maple syrup we are pulling in both the nutritional benefits (maple syrup has minerals like zinc and manganese) and a less processed sweetener.  However, it is ultimately a sugar, which is why we aren’t overdoing it in these Gluten-Free Shortbread cookies.

The Gluten-Free Shortbread Cookie – Optional Ingredients:

That’s your main ingredient list! Simple right?  If you want to up the ante you can also add these:

Vanilla – this is completely optional for a little more flavour, but not necessary.

Sea Salt – a touch of salt can go a long way in pulling out the flavour in baking (and any recipe) but it’s not necessary.

Jam – one tradition in our family during the holidays is Belgian Cookies (aka Empire Cookies).  Essentially sugar cookies sandwiched with jam between them.  So I thought I could bring those to life in a healthier way with these Gluten-Free Shortbread Cookies.  Just top with jam, add another cookie, and bake for a few minutes longer to get the jam to solidify.

gluten-free shortbread cookies

Getting helpers in the kitchen

I’m the first to admit that having your children help you bake can be super messy – and slow the process down.  But since this is a simple cookie with only 3 ingredients and no complicated steps, they can absolutely help!  I’m not promising they won’t make a mess.  It’s pretty much guaranteed some flour will come flying out of the bowl like it did here. But they loved the experience of rolling the dough and pressing in the cookie cutters.  It wasn’t perfect, but having them bake with me was more important.  Of course, with Christmas music in the background (we may have danced and sang to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas” while the cookies were baking).

 shortbread cookies

Gluten-Free Shortbread Cookie

3 Ingredient healthy shortbread cookie

  • 1.5 cups almond flour (the finer the better)
  • 3 tbsp melted coconut oil (melted)
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract (optional)
  1. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (165 degrees Celsius)
  2. Mix all ingredients in a bowl until wet enough to form a Cookie.
  3. Flatten out the dough until it’s a quarter inch thick (roughly) and press the cookie cutter if using. Otherwise, form them into small balls and press them down with a fork.
  4. Lay out your shortbread cookies on a lined baking sheet. Or use a silicone mat like mine.
  5. Bake for approx. 15 minutes (until edges start to slightly brown)

Your final step:

Hide these cookies before the family devours every one! (kidding)

Making the Holiday Even More Fun!

The best part about these Gluten-Free Shortbread Cookies is that they have created a family tradition – with the kids in aprons, helping me cut out tree-shaped cookies while dancing and singing.  Now, that’s a special cookie!

But research tells us that the holidays are one of the most stressful times of the year.

It really stinks when the overwhelm and stress overshadow the holidays with your family or friends.  Particularly if you’re worried that your child won’t eat anything that’s served (maybe not even these gluten-free shortbread cookies!).  Trust me – I see a lot of picky eaters who wouldn’t go near these cookies (or many other cookies for that matter.)  But regardless of whether you have a picky eater or just a developmental selective kiddo, you probably want to be able to create positive memories this holiday.  Let’s not let the frustration set in while you’re trying to enjoy your own holiday dinner.

Curious Cookie Cards

To help you out, the Curious Cookie Cards bring joy to the table with fun conversation prompts, quick food games, and other clever questions for all ages – so everyone can participate!  From toddlers to grandma and grandpa.  They are the perfect holiday present, stocking stuffer, or “just because” gift for any family who wants to see their child feel part of the holiday meal – to help them engage, explore, and even try the foods on the table. Get your Curious Cookie “Mealtime Fun” Cards today!

Curious Cookie Cards