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Almond Shortbread

almond shortbread and castello sforzesco

Shortbread is one of my favorites, for its versatility and ease. Baked once, it’s a tender cookie bar. But baked twice, it becomes a cross between a beloved Scottish shortbread and biscotti. Leftover cookies work great for a crumb crust.

These simple gluten free cookies have an intriguing depth of flavor, especially when the dough is refrigerated overnight before baking. If you want to bake the bars immediately, maximize the caramelization by stirring the sugar into liquid ingredients before blending with almond meal.

Add a touch of cinnamon and some Meyer lemon or orange zest, and this crunchy cookie brings to mind a traditional Lenten specialty from Italy. The quaresimali recipes here are wheat-based, but they could easily be translated to gluten free. In the spirit of the season, I’ll skip the flour, eggs, and dairy. And not miss a thing; giving up cookies is not my cup of tea.

vegan almond shortbread

Almond Shortbread

24 small cookies or 12 medium bars

Mix by hand and bake dough the same day for a soft cookie bar. Bake a second time, biscotti-style, for a crunchy cookie. If you've never baked vegan shortbread, don't worry. These cookies are equally delicious made with coconut oil, instead of butter.


  • 2 cups almond meal, packed
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tablespoon coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, optional


Line a 9" x 9" pan with parchment paper. If you plan on baking immediately, preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine almond meal, sugar, salt, and baking soda.

In a separate cup, combine oil, coconut milk, vanilla, and almond extract.

Add liquid ingredients to dry and blend thoroughly. Press dough into prepared pan. Lightly score dough and dock with a fork if you like. Cover dough and refrigerate overnight or proceed to baking.

Bake for 22-24 minutes, until lightly browned. Let cool completely before slicing for a soft cookie like these chocolate chip shortbread bars. Chill shortbread in the freezer briefly for the cleanest edges.

For crunchier cookies, transfer sliced bars onto a parchment lined pan and bake for about 15 minutes in a 250 degree oven.


almond shortbread


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