Gluten-Free Shortbread Cookies (egg-free, refined sugar-free)

Ali Segersten Oct 31, 2016 19 comments

Happy fall! I have a delicious gluten-free shortbread cookie recipe for you today! I recently became friends with a new family that came to our school. I began to talk this beautiful mama a few weeks ago at a birthday party and we could not stop talking about food! As it turns out she cooks just like I do, and creates many of her own recipes....all gluten-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar-free! She gave me a loose recipe for these shortbread cookies. I then tested it to create a recipe someone else could follow. I'm so grateful for this recipe as it can be used in so many ways! Pictured here I have them made into sandwich cookies filled with my dairy-free Sweet Potato Buttercream Frosting and then drizzled with melted dark chocolate. You could also dip them in melted chocolate and then decorate with whatever you have on hand. Try shredded coconut, crushed walnuts, goji berries, powdered freeze-dried strawberries, or natural sprinkles.

You will notice that this recipe uses a number of different gluten-free flours. I usually like to keep things simple and stick to one or two for my recipes, however, I found that this particular combination works wonders for shortbread cookies. My boys find that the quinoa flour is slightly bitter for their tastes, which is interesting because they normally eat a lot of bitter greens. Quinoa flour is very light and fine, and lends a very good texture to these cookies, which is why I use it. You can replace it with brown rice flour if you are concerned about the aftertaste, though I don't notice it at all.

This shortbread cookie recipe would also be great to bake during Christmastime using holiday-themed cookie cutters. Or Valentine's day....or Easter! Have fun with this recipe! I hope you like it at as much as we do. :)


About the Author

Ali Segersten

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University and a Master’s of Science in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine from the University of Western States. She is a Functional Nutritionist, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Alissa is the founder and owner of Nourishing Meals®.

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Hi Ali,

My son has a nut allergy. Would you recommend an almond flour replacement?

Hi Shawna,

I'm not sure without testing the recipe to omit the garbanzo bean flour. Maybe try a mix of almond flour and buckwheat? If you try something different please leave some feedback here to help others who also can't eat legumes. :)

Hi there,

The Vitamix 5200 is a great one to get started with. I would suggest adding the 32-Ounce Dry Grains Container to your order too. That is what I use to grind chia seeds, flax seeds, buckwheat flour, and more! :)

My son has a sensitivity to all legumes including garbanzo beans. What would you recommend as the best alternative flour to use in its place?

What size vitamix do you recommend? Will be doing your elimination diet. Thank you.

Hi Marianne,

Thank you! So glad you enjoyed it. :)

As far as the sprouted garbanzo bean flour.....yes I have other recipes that use it. In my Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook I have a really good gluten-free, egg-free chicken nugget recipe that uses this flour as breading. I also have a biscuit recipe using part sprouted garbanzo bean flour. In the Healthy Gluten-Free School Lunch eBook (free with purchase of Nourishing Meals) I have a great vegan, gluten-free chocolate chip cookie recipe using part sprouted garbanzo bean flour. And not on my blog (yet) or in my books I have a chicken and dumplings recipe that uses this flour. I am hoping to post that recipe sometime this fall or winter.

Hope that helps with your decision. It definitely has a better flavor than the non-sprouted version. Plus is is easier to digest. :)

Hi Sharon!

Great! Let me know how it goes. :)

Hi Ali,

Thanks for your sweet newsletter. My children are all grown now but I still enjoy reading how you are raising yours! I passed along you rnewsletter to my son as he has his first on the way. I'd like to purchase the sprouted garbanzo bean flour but don't want to buy a latge bag and then have it sitting around. Do you have any other recipes that use this flour? Marianne

Thanks for all of the suggestions. I can eat all of the above grains. By the way, my name is Sharon but I had to sign as Anonymous because I could not just sign my name. Keep up the great work.

Thank you!

I have not tried millet flour but I assume it could work. You can also try brown rice flour, though the cookies might be a little denser. I would not use more of another flour. Buckwheat, almond, and garbanzo bean flour all have their own unique properties (flavors and how much liquids they absorb, etc.). It would be best to replace the quinoa flour with another gluten-free grain flour that is similar. Amaranth flour might work but its flavor and aftertaste can be strong too. Millet flour could work. So could white teff flour.

I would love to hear how they turn out with a different flour. If you could report back here in a comment that would be wonderful! :)

Thank you Kim!

So glad you enjoyed my newsletter. I hope it was good inspiration for everyone. As far as the cookies, they will last up to 5 days (unfrosted). If you plan to make the filling it is best to serve them the same day, otherwise the cookies will get a little soft. You also have the option of taking portions of the dough out at a time and baking just what you need. :)

This is a really lovely recipe. However, I have a sensitivity to quinoa and want to know if you think I can use more of one of the other flours or millet flour instead. Thank you and keep up the good work.

Hi Ali,

Thanks for your newsletter. I so enjoyed reading about your halloween traditions! Next year I feel the need to rally friends and family in my town and create something more meaningful. I love what you are doing!

I'm looking forward to baking these cookies. Maybe not just yet as we have so much candy in the house! Yuck! 40 cookies seems like a lot. About how long do they last? Thanks, Kim

Thank you. I did see that when I was writing the post but then did not feel like writing out a separate paragraph on why some people can tolerate butter but not other dairy products. :)

And just for clarity...I cook many dairy-free recipes, but also include small amounts of raw or cultured organic dairy in my cooking occasionally, as my children are not sensitive to it.

I can see now how that sentence is confusing.

You can use the dairy-free butter alternative linked above if you prefer.

Thanks for your comment! :)

Thank you Jennifer!

I am enjoying blogging again. Glad you are enjoying the posts. Sweet potatoes make the best frosting. I will need to try purple next! Happy Halloween to you too! :)

Hi Sandy,

I'm glad you are excited about this recipe, but I never mentioned that this recipe was dairy-free. I know many folks that can't eat dairy, but can still enjoy butter on occasion. Regardless, you can use Nutiva Red Palm Shortening blend to replace the butter. It does contain coconut oil, but also organic palm shortening. I have used it many times to replace butter and works better than anything else I've tried thus far. :)

Here is a link to Amazon (you also might be able to find it at your local health food store):

You mention in the beginning article that you and the other mom both cook "gluten and dairy free", so I was surprised to see that this recipe uses butter. I have nothing against grass-fed butter, but would probably use coconut oil instead. Looks like another lovely recipe; just wanted to mention the inconsistency.

Oh these are so lovely! My daughter once had a gf French macaron at a bakery in NC (we're in HI now!) and declared it her favorite sweet ever. These look kind of like them. I've been using purple and orange sweet potatoes here and they make frosting look so festive! I am so happy that you're back to blogging a bit more--we do not have many friends around us who share similar food philosophies! It's always a treat to find people who love creating healthy food. Happy Halloween!

I was all excited to read the blurb for this recipe, when it said gluten free, sugar free and dairy free, because we can't use butter in this house and I have been trying to find a shortbread recipe that is GF/DF/SF and doesn't spread out into a flat mess when cooked (I have Day of The Dead cookie cutters). But this recipe uses butter after all. Any hints from anyone about a butter replacement that will still help the shortbread hold together? I have used coconut oil with no luck but maybe I didn't have the right combination of flours...

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