Chocolate-Dipped Shortbread Cookies, Gluten-Free

by Jen on March 23, 2013

Shortbread has a special place in my heart – and my kitchen. Next to chocolate chip, these are the cookies my whole family want in on all the time (although I personally prefer buttery shortbread over CCC).

How can three simple ingredients – flour, sugar, and butter – create such sweet alchemy? Since its first appearance in 12th century Scotland, shortbread has seen many versions and variations that depart from the original baked medieval biscuit. In fact, it was not until the time of Mary, Queen of Scots in the 16th century that the shortbread we know today  - the buttery, crumbly cookie with crimped or fluted edges – was refined.

There are versions with coriander and caraway seeds; with orange peel and almonds; and with Celtic sea salt. Some have mutated to include some rice flour or corn starch, and some have wandered into powdered sugar territory. The French call them sablés and make them with a higher butter-to-flour ratio, similarly adding from lemon to lavender to the dough. Meanwhile, other parts of the world call them Danish biscuits or butter cookies, encompassing those cookies that do not even contain butter as the shortening. Whatever version you grew up knowing and eating, there’s always one overarching truth: butter is best, so the better the quality of butter, the better-tasting cookie.

While my gluten-free shortbread is a variant of the traditional Scottish one, I am darn proud that they are almost identical in taste. I used mostly almond flour for the dough, so for those who have tree nut allergies, feel free to replace with regular all-purpose flour and you have a traditional version in your hand.

My research has taken me to this statistic: about 1 to 2 percent of the American population is allergic to tree nuts (almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts, Brazil nuts). But this medical article also notes that about 9% of that affected population will outgrow their allergies, so it is recommended to get tested regularly.

Here’s a little interesting note, though… Almonds, like most other nuts, contain high levels of phytic acid, which is as an anti-nutrienta substance that binds to minerals, making it hard for humans to absorb and digest them in a beneficial way. Although phytic acid is mostly found in the bran of the grain or skin of the nut, and almond flour is blanched anyway (which means the skin is removed before finely grinding), there’s less of the culprit in there. But always proceed with caution when baking with almond flour; they key is – and still will be – always in moderation. Don’t bake every day, but instead reserve it for special occasions. Like the weekend. Then, let your treats take you through at least the first half of the week. Hard as it is, resist the temptation to finish your sweets in one sitting! That said, here is the recipe for Gluten-free Chocolate-Dipped Shortbread Cookies.

As a side note, I want to recommend using dark chocolate (preferably 65% to 70% cocoa) for the cookie dip. Dark chocolate has some notable benefits, as reported in this medical article. However, limit yourself to 85 grams (3 oz) a day, the amount shown to be most helpful. My recipe calls for 100 grams of melted dark chocolate, but you won’t be using up all 100 grams. Anyway, you will not be eating all the cookies in one sitting, right?

Please enjoy sensibly.

5.0 from 7 reviews
Chocolate-Dipped Shortbread Cookies, Gluten-Free
Recipe Type: Dessert, Cookies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: about 15 cookies
  • ~~ For the shortbread ~~
  • 150 grams (1-1/3 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, softened to room temperature
  • 75 grams (1/3 cup) granulated sugar or caster sugar
  • 150 grams (1 cup) almond flour
  • 75 grams (2/3 cup)rice flour
  • ~~ For the dipping chocolate ~~
  • 100 grams chocolate (preferably 65% to 70%)
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F (170 C).
  2. Put the softened butter and sugar into a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, and gradually work it into a soft paste. You can also do this by hand.
  3. Sift the almond flour and rice flour into the creamed butter and sugar mixture.
  4. Using a fork or spatula, fold the ingredients lightly until a crumbly, soft dough forms.
  5. Using your hands, bring the mix to a soft, crack free dough by kneading it a few times. At this point, you can keep the dough in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, if you wish - or you can proceed to the next step. Remove from the refrigerator 15-20 minutes before rolling out.
  6. Place the dough between two large sheets of parchment paper, and sprinkle lightly with rice flour.
  7. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough to 5mm-thick.
  8. Lightly flour a 6- to 7-cm biscuit cutter (I used a fluted one here, but you can choose your own shape).
  9. Remove the top paper and start cutting out your cookies. Transfer them to a cookie sheet with a lightly-floured cookie spatula.
  10. Prick the cookies with a fork.
  11. Bake the shortbread until very lightly coloured, 20 to 25 minutes. Ideally, shortbread should not even brown the slightest.
  12. Transfer to a rack to cool completely. Shortbread will keep for up to 1 month in an airtight container or tin.
  13. To make the chocolate for dipping, melt 100 grams of chocolate in a bowl over a pan of gently simmering water (double boiler method).
  14. Dip one half of each shortbread into the warm chocolate to partially coat.
  15. Place on parchment paper to cool.

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{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Laura (Tutti Dolci) March 23, 2013 at 9:03 pm

Beautiful cookies, Jen! Love that these are GF and your chocolate dipping is perfect! Yes, I promise to enjoy these sensibly ;).


Suzanne March 23, 2013 at 11:47 pm

Gorgeous cookie Jen, they look perfect. I am loving all the gluten-free recipes, I am definitely trying them for my mom!


The Café Sucré Farine March 24, 2013 at 4:21 am

I am a hopeless shortbread sucker, this version looks fantastic!


Valerie March 24, 2013 at 10:28 am

“Don’t bake every day.” Ouch, Jen! :D
You’re right though, everything in moderation – but I have to admit, it would be difficult to restrain myself from eating several of these beautiful shortbread cookies!


Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet March 24, 2013 at 10:39 am

These are so gorgeous, Jen! And perfectly dipped! :) “you will not be eating all the cookies in one sitting” <—- hmm, can't promise you that ;)


Erin @ Texanerin Baking March 24, 2013 at 11:03 am

I didn’t know that about almond flour! Interesting.

And I’m shocked that these shortbread came out with almond flour. I think I’ve tried before and they just didn’t work. I’ll have to try your version! It looks great. :)


The Kitchen Boudoir March 24, 2013 at 11:09 am

You know how I feel about shortbread and chocolate, so consider it DONE that I will be trying this gluten-free version. “Enjoying sensibly” is a loose term, right?!


CCU March 24, 2013 at 2:28 pm

These looks absolutely perfect my friend – chocolate and shortbread has never looked so delicious :D

Choc Chip Uru


MizzJ March 24, 2013 at 2:31 pm

Yum, these look fantastic! I did not know that about nuts; is the phytic acid harmful then?


Suzanne Perazzini March 24, 2013 at 3:11 pm

A great article on almond flour. The moderation thing is terribly hard. Once the cookies are made, the temptation is great. A little chocolate really lifts these to another level.


Patty March 24, 2013 at 5:49 pm

Beautiful shortbread Jen! I have rice flour and almond flour-looks like I’m good to go on these beauties;-)
Baking over the weekend is my idea of a really good time ;-)


Lisa {AuthenticSuburbanGourmet} March 24, 2013 at 6:18 pm

What stunning shortbread cookies. I am in shock that you made them gluten free – you are amazing!! Love the photos and all of the helpful information you shared!


Jean | Lemons & Anchovies March 24, 2013 at 8:49 pm

I actually have all the ingredients to make these beautiful cookies, yay! Can’t wait to have a taste. :)


Debbi March 24, 2013 at 9:25 pm

Do you think these could work substituting the rice flour with potato flour??


Raymund March 25, 2013 at 2:40 am

I love a nice and simple shortbread cookies like this


Diana March 25, 2013 at 9:56 am

I am now learning to bake only gluten free . These look fabulous ! I am not used to measuring in grams , so my questions is , do I weigh out the ingredients on a digital scale , or is it in measure cup measurement ?


kristy @ the wicked noodle March 25, 2013 at 2:03 pm

Gorgeous cookies!!


tanja@tanjascookingcorner March 25, 2013 at 2:33 pm

Simple to make, perfect in taste, and so pretty to look at. Sound like the perfect cookies for me :) I did not know about almond flour, good to know!


Tessa March 25, 2013 at 10:49 pm

Lovely cookies Jen!


Amy (Savory Moments) March 26, 2013 at 7:30 pm

These cookies look delicious and very pretty. I love shortbread, too! It’s one of my favorite cookies. I like that you used some rice flour. That’s a flour I need to try. I’ve been using almond flour more.


amy @ fearless homemaker March 27, 2013 at 9:50 am

Shortbread cookies are one of my absolute favorite cookies, too + yours look SO wonderful. Wish I had a few in front of me right now! And to answer your question on my blog – I’m due at the beginning of June, so just about 2 more months. It’s getting close!! =D


Nami | Just One Cookbook March 28, 2013 at 12:33 am

More and more people are looking for GF version and your shortbread cookies are so delicious looking! hat everyone would jump to get these cookies. I need to go get rice flour – I’ve seen recipes using rice flour more and more and I’m curious!! Gorgeous photos, Jen!


Kiran @ March 28, 2013 at 2:37 pm

I’ve always loved baking with almond flour. I need to source out for rice flour too! Love this shortbread cookies dipped in chocolaty deliciousness!!


Lora @cakeduchess April 1, 2013 at 9:34 pm

You inspire me to get baking with almond flour. Such delicate cookies that are beckoning me and hopefully, with a hot cup of tea!


Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious April 1, 2013 at 11:54 pm

This may be the most gorgeous shortbread cookies I have ever seen!


Sonja May 4, 2013 at 9:49 am

The cookbook Nourishing Traditions tells that phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors in grains and nuts are nuetralized with soaking, which was common practice in olden times.


Katie August 9, 2013 at 2:43 am

Tried these twice and they failed each time! I was so hopeful.


Warron September 17, 2013 at 1:52 am

I’m onto my fourth bake with these. Lovely. I’ve tweaked the quantities a bit this time because want to make a bigger batch, so will see how my estimates have fared soon!


Bek September 24, 2013 at 4:26 am

Thank you! They are lovely! Kids love them and I love that they are GF!


Sarah Adler of Simply Real Health October 10, 2013 at 10:05 am

I love this recipe and that you’re honestly telling people that they are still a treat– not a everyday thing just because they are gluten free. I couldn’t agree more- great advice!


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