These vegan gluten-free iced holiday shortbread cookies are the perfect addition to any festive gathering. A simple, 5-ingredient shortbread dough is rolled out, sliced (or punched out with cookie cutters), and baked until crisp and golden. The cookies are then slathered with vegan royal icing and topped with sprinkles. This is a great recipe to make with your little loved ones!
I've had this recipe on my to-test list for three years. THREE years!
I'm not sure what inspired me to finally take on the challenge and work out the kinks, but I'm so glad I did.
These simple shortbread cookies have quickly become a beloved holiday favorite in our home, and I hope they have the same effect in yours.
These vegan gluten-free iced holiday shortbread cookies are made with a simple shortbread base that requires just 5 ingredients (plus sea salt). No fancy mixer or techniques required, just a trusty bowl-n-spoon duo.
To make them, you'll whisk together oat flour, coconut flour, and sea salt. It's the combination of oat flour and coconut flour that gives these cookies the proper bite and texture, so please resist the urge to tinker (or do so at your own cookies' risk).
Once the dry mixture is ready, add a bit of melted coconut oil, pure maple syrup, and vanilla extract to it. Then, give everything a good stir, and let the dough stand for 5 minutes to thicken. As the dough sits, the coconut flour will absorb more of the liquids, yielding a soft, spongy texture.
Next, form the dough into a log, wrap it, and chill it for 30 minutes.
When it comes to chilling the dough, you want to strive for a happy medium—it should be chilled enough to roll out smoothly (instead of ripping/tearing) but not so chilled that it crumbles when you roll it. If you happen to over-chill the dough, don't fret. Simply knead it between your hands for a few minutes to gently warm it to the right texture.
Once the dough is properly chilled, you have a decision to make.
1. Go the traditional holiday cookie route. Roll out the dough on a clean, floured work surface and use cookie cutters to punch out cookies. Then, repeat, repeat, repeat. This process takes a bit longer but results in cute, festive cookies. It's also a fun project to tackle with little ones.
2. Go the less traditional but speedier route. Simply slice the cookie dough log into ¼-inch-thick rounds.
Either way, transfer the punched out or sliced cookies to lined cookie sheets, and bake for just 12 minutes, or until golden brown on the bottom with light golden edges.
While the cookies bake, you'll prepare the vegan royal icing. I don't make traditional icings and frostings all that often, so I left this one up to a vegan baking expert.
I made a half batch of this vegan royal icing recipe (i.e., 3 tablespoons—1.5 ounces—of aquafaba to 1 ½ to 2 cups confectioners sugar), but you could certainly make a full batch and double the cookie recipe or freeze/refrigerate any leftover icing.
Just be sure to follow the instructions to thin the royal icing so that it can be used to "flood" sugar cookies, otherwise it will be too thick (like pictured below) and you won't get that smooth icing finish as pictured.
Once the cookies have cooled, frost them as desired.
I added some festive vegan sprinkles, but these cookies are just as delightful with a bare canvas of icing.
I hope you enjoy these vegan gluten-free iced holiday shortbread cookies! Cheers to a joyful, cookie-filled holiday season. ♥
Vegan Gluten-Free Iced Holiday Shortbread Cookies
- 2 cups oat flour, plus more for rolling
- ½ cup coconut flour
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ cup virgin coconut oil, melted*
- ½ cup pure maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Vegan Royal Icing***
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the oat flour, coconut flour, and sea salt. Add the coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla, and stir well to combine. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes to thicken, stirring once or twice. You should have a soft, slightly spongy dough.
- Gather the dough and form it into a log. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour. You want a happy medium here—the dough should be chilled enough to roll out smoothly (instead of ripping/tearing) but not so chilled that it crumbles when you roll it out. If you over-chill the dough, simply knead it between your hands for a few minutes to gently warm it.
- About 10 minutes before the dough has finished chilling, preheat the oven to 350F. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- For cookie cutter cookies: Unwrap the dough and cut it into two pieces. Knead each piece a bit to warm it to the right texture (should feel like chilled play-doh). Lightly dust a clean workspace with oat flour and use a rolling pin to roll one of the pieces of dough into a ¼-inch-thick oval (it's okay if the ends fray or tear a bit—that's normal for shortbread dough). Use your cookie cutters of choice to punch out pieces of dough, and carefully transfer each to one of the lined cookie sheets. Repeat the process with the remaining dough.
- For simple round cookies: Slice the log into ¼-inch-thick circles. Transfer to the lined cookie sheets.
- Bake the cookies for 12 to 14 minutes, or until just beginning to turn golden at the edges. Cool completely on the pans before frosting.
- Meanwhile, prepare the royal icing.
- Once the cookies have cooled, frost them as desired. Allow the icing to dry for 1 hour, or until it's well set.
- Store in an airtight glass container for up to 1 week.