Shortbread is a traditional cookie from Scotland using the most simple of ingredients for a lovely, buttery cookie. Making shortbread is a somewhat meditative practice for me, as it brings my attention to the Scottish branch of my family.
I used to make shortbread with sprouted spelt because I’m allergic to modern wheat. However, I need to eat a low-glycemic diet to manage my PCOS (Polycycstic Ovarian Syndrome). Spelt still has too many carbs for me to eat with any frequency. I found a grain-free version of shortbread plus a salted caramel topping at the Nourished Kitchen blog. I didn’t bother with the caramel, as I have to keep those carbs down. Honestly, it isn’t necessary for this shortbread which has a delicate, natural sweetness.
Almond flour is full of protein, fiber, Vitamin E, and magnesium. Coconut flour is jam packed with fiber, protein, and gives a great texture. Real butter from grass fed cows provides a multitude of health benefits, including nutrients to prevent thyroid and adrenal problem, as well as cancer. For a more in depth look at the benefits of adding real butter from grass fed cows, check out this article from Body Ecology. With only a 1/4 cup of honey, this is a protein and fiber rich treat, suitable for any low-glycemic, wheat-free, or gluten-free diet.
Here’s how I made the shortbread:
- 1 and 3/4 cups almond flour, sifted
(Almond Meal/Flour- Buy it here)
- 1/4 cup coconut flour, sifted
(Organic Coconut Flour- Buy it here)
- 1 stick very cold, unsalted butter, grass-fed/pastured*
- 1/4 cup local, raw honey**
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*Put a stick of butter in the freezer for a few hours to get really good and cold. Also, many grocery stores now carry their own store brand pastured butter, as well as Kerry Gold, which is imported from Ireland. Otherwise, check with a local dairy to find good butter, or make your own from good, local cream.
** The flavor of real, raw, local honey will change throughout the season. Play with the different flavors, and enjoy the variations!
- mesh strainer/sifter
- large mixing bowl
- medium mixing boal
- box grater
- measuring cups
- rubber/silicone spatula
- ceramic shortbread pan (
Shortbread Pan: Buy it here)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Sift the almond flour into the medium mixing bowl. There will be a little extra flour in the bowl. Pour the excess back into the almond flour bag (or into a canister if that’s how you store your flour). Do the same with the coconut flour. Add the salt to the flour in the medium bowl and sift all of it into the large mixing bowl. Do not skip the sifting. If you do, you run the risk of having a very dry, powdery shortbread. Shortbread should be a little crumbly. It should not be powdery. Sifting prevents this problem.
Take your stick of butter out of the freezer, and being careful not to cut your fingers, grate the butter using a box grater. Put to one side while you add the honey. You will be left with an “end” of the stick of butter that you cannot grate without cutting your fingers. Take that end, and grease a 1/4 cup measuring cup. This will help prevent the honey sticking to it. Fill the measuring cup with honey, and using the rubber or silicone spatula, add the honey to the sifted dry ingredients. Add the grated butter, which should still be very cold, and add the teaspoon of vanilla.
Mix with your fingertips. Work the mixture with your fingers thoroughly until it is all incorporated and crumbly. It will look somewhat like scrambled eggs. Try to get mostly butter on your hands first. It will keep the honey from sticking to you.
Here’s a photo of what my shortbread pan looks like. It has a Tudor rose, Scottish thistle, Celtic knot, and a Welsh dragon. This pan makes eight shortbread wedges. I didn’t grease the pan, as there is an entire stick of butter in the shortbread. When I took the shortbread out, the pan didn’t need more than a rinse in hot water.
Press mixture into the ceramic shortbread pan. Try to make it as even as possible. With a fork, prick holes all over the back of the shortbread.
Bake at 325 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until the edges are brown. Move to a rack to cool down for about 10-15 minutes.
While still warm, use a butter knife to push the shortcake away from the sides of the pan. (I really didn’t need to do this, but it’s a good idea just in case it sticks.) Turn it out onto a cutting board. It should just come right out. If it sticks at all, just give a tap on the back of the pan. While still warm, use a long knife and cut along the lines to create the shortbread wedges.
Something this delicious and special deserves a special plate. I love handmade items, and found a lovely Etsy shop, Saxon Design Studio. I have a few items from this shop, and I’ve been very happy. This plate has a griffin in the center of it.
I’d love to hear what you think about this grain-free alternative to traditional shortbread. Please leave a comment below!