Chocolate-Dipped Shortbread Cookies

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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 8 reviews
Chocolate-Dipped Shortbread Cookies, Gluten-Free
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: about 15 cookies
Ingredients
  • ~~ 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 (about 1-1/2 cup) almond flour
  • 75 grams (2/3 cup) rice flour
  • ~~ For the dipping chocolate ~~
  • 100 grams chocolate (preferably 65% to 70%)
Instructions
  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.

33 Comments

  • Reply March 23, 2013

    Laura (Tutti Dolci)

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

  • Reply March 23, 2013

    Suzanne

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

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

  • Reply March 24, 2013

    Valerie

    “Don’t bake every day.” Ouch, Jen! 😀
    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!

  • 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 😉

  • 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. :)

  • Reply March 24, 2013

    The Kitchen Boudoir

    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?!

  • Reply March 24, 2013

    CCU

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

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  • Reply March 24, 2013

    MizzJ

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

  • Reply March 24, 2013

    Suzanne Perazzini

    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.

  • Reply March 24, 2013

    Patty

    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 😉

  • 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!

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

  • Reply March 24, 2013

    Debbi

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

  • Reply March 25, 2013

    Raymund

    I love a nice and simple shortbread cookies like this

  • Reply March 25, 2013

    Diana

    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 ?

  • Gorgeous cookies!!

  • 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!

  • Reply March 25, 2013

    Tessa

    Lovely cookies Jen!

  • Reply March 26, 2013

    Amy (Savory Moments)

    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.

  • 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

  • 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!

  • Reply March 28, 2013

    Kiran @ KiranTarun.com

    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!!

  • Reply April 1, 2013

    Lora @cakeduchess

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

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

  • Reply May 4, 2013

    Sonja

    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.

  • Reply August 9, 2013

    Katie

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

  • Reply September 17, 2013

    Warron

    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!

  • Reply September 24, 2013

    Bek

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

  • 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!

  • […] Then sprinkle the cookies with the hazelnuts. Place on parchment paper to cool. Adapted From: Tartine and Apron Strings Share this:Like this:Like […]

  • Reply December 19, 2014

    Beverly Thomson

    These looked so pretty & yummy but mine failed badly today. I cut them out in a pretty scalloped circle shape but when I baked them they melted into one another making one big blob!! I quickly pushed them into circle shapes for the final few minutes of baking. I doubled the recipe and still have half the dough to use so maybe will need to add more flour?? Probably won’t try these again. Pooh,

  • Reply December 24, 2014

    Kristin

    I just ate my first one out of the oven (pre dipping in chocolate but with a nice cup of Pete’s coffee). Very good and close to “real” shortbread cookies. I highly recommend putting the dough in the ‘fridge overnight. I hate rolling and cutting cookies so I rolled the dough into two logs, cut off 1/8-1/4 inch rounds and baked for about 14 minutes. Perfect. Thanks for the gluten free recipe.

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