Maple Vanilla Shortbread is a delightful gluten-free treat that’s perfect for the holidays.
This recipe comes to you courtesy of Mel Joulwan. For the past few years, we collaborated on a column in Paleo Magazine that featured food from around the world. This Maple Vanilla Shortbread featured in last year’s December issue.
What is Shortbread?
If you spend as much time watching the Great British Bakeoff as I do (#TeamMaryBerry), you’ll be familiar with shortbread. But, if not, the best way to sum it up is that shortbread is a traditional Scottish biscuit (cookie) made with sugar, butter, and flour.
The amount of butter used makes for a tender and crumbly – “short” – biscuit.
How to Make Gluten-Free Shortbread
To make gluten-free shortbread, you’ll need to choose a gluten-free flour. In this case, Mel combined almond flour for bulk with potato starch for a more familiar biscuity texture. If you don’t have potato starch, feel free to swap in arrowroot or tapioca flour. Both will give a similar result.
One note, however, is that the gluten-free flours in this recipe will have a softer texture compared to traditional shortbread.
“This paleo version of [maple vanilla] shortbread is more tender than the traditional, sandy version, but it delivers the same classic buttery flavor: not-too-sweet and very satisfying. We’ve also included variations, including a dark chocolate dip, so you can see with which queen you agree.”
Our other dessert collaboration: Indian-Style Carrot Pudding.
Maple Vanilla Shortbread (Gluten-Free)
This Maple Vanilla shortbread is a gluten-free version that's more tender than the traditional recipe, but delivers the same classic buttery flavor.
- 2.25 cups blanched almond flour
- 1/4 cup potato starch or arrowroot flour
- 1/3 cup ghee plus extra for greasing
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Pinch salt
- 4 oz dark chocolate optional
Preheat oven to 275F. Grease an 8- or 9-inch square baking pan with ghee and line the bottom with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, combine the almond flour and potato starch; mix with a fork.
In a stand mixer or food processor, beat the ghee, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt until combined. Turn off the motor, scrape down the sides, and beat again until fluffy. Add the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, while mixing on low speed until just combined.
Using your hands, press the dough into the pan; make the top smooth and level. Using a dough scraper or a butter knife, cut the dough into strips, each about 1 inch wide, then cut the strips crosswise to make 24 bars. Use the tines of a fork to poke a decorative pattern on the surface.
Bake the shortbread until it's evenly golden, but not brown, 20-25 minutes. Really start to keep an eye on the pan at the 20-minute mark—almond flour can darken very quickly.
Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Invert the pan, remove the parchment, then turn the shortbread over and carefully break along the lines.
For the optional chocolate:
Place half of the chocolate in a heatproof bowl, then place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir occasionally until the chocolate is melted. Add the remaining chocolate and remove the bowl from the heat. Stir until smooth and glossy.
Dip the ends of each shortbread bar into the chocolate and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place the cookies in the refrigerator for a few minutes until the chocolate hardens.
To live large like Mary, Queen of Scots: Add 2 teaspoons caraway seeds to the flour and potato starch.
Make like Queen Victoria: Increase the salt to ¼ teaspoon when you beat the ghee and maple syrup.
Lemon or orange shortbread: Add the zest of one lemon or orange when you beat the ghee and maple syrup.
Almond shortbread: Add 5-6 drops almond extract when you beat the ghee and maple syrup.