Grain-free cranberry pistachio vegan shortbread cookies made with just 6 basic ingredients. These light and buttery cookies are packed with flavor without being too sweet.
This post is sponsored by Raley’s.
If you watch my Instagram stories, you may have seen me talk to you about Raley’s. Raley’s is the grocery store I shop at daily. My family shopped there the whole time I was growing up, and given how much I love shopping there, I have continued to do so. It has a huge variety of organic produce, quality meats, awesome baking ingredients for those who stick to gluten-free or grain-free baking, and all the usual grocery staples.
During my Instagram story, I showed you my Top 5 Holiday Baking Essentials: almond flour, coconut oil, coconut sugar, juice-sweetened dried cranberries, and vegan chocolate chips. I use all of these ingredients quite a bit on a regular basis, and especially during baking season when I’m whipping up holiday-inspired treats.
WELL. I took these five ingredients and turned them into – you guessed it! – paleo/vegan shortbread!
In addition to the 5, I also included pistachios for even more flavor, texture, and added deliciousness. The flavor of this vegan shortbread is nice and buttery (even though there’s no butter!) with that cranberry tang, a crunch from the pistachios, and the cookies are not overly sweet, which I LOVE!
Shortbread cookies are my favorite holiday cookies to bake, because they’re a little fancy but in the realm of Christmas cookies, they are pretty straightforward. Plus, they don’t require cookie cutters, icing bags, and frosting skills, all of which I don’t possess, because: basic minimalist.
This slice-and-bake recipe is easy as can be. Simply stir all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl, form the dough into a big ball, then work it into a cylinder. Wrap the cylinder of dough in plastic wrap, and then freeze or refrigerate.
The only difficult part here is resisting the temptation to eat all the dough before baking it. I may have consumed half the dough like this…guilty as charged.
- Be sure to either refrigerate or freeze the cookie dough prior to baking. I like to freeze the dough, then thaw it just until the point where it is easy to slice with a knife. This way, you get nice clean slices and the dough is set up.
- You must, MUST allow the cookies to rest on the baking sheet once they are out of the oven, or else they will turn to dust, no joke. This process is essential for the shortbread to set up and harden. Give them at least 30 minutes of rest time on the baking sheet…I’ll seriously leave them for hours and do other things while they hang out and become crispy.
- Once the cookies have cooled and have sat on the tray for at least 30 minutes, use a spatula to remove them from the baking sheet. If you use your hands to try to take them off, they may crumble easily – they’re delicate!
- Spreading chocolate over one side of the shortbread will help them hold together!
- Make the dough ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator or freezer until you need to bake them up. This is a great recipe for those who do a lot of holiday baking but need to spread it out.
To chocolate or not to chocolate? I mean, I’m a huge fan of the chocolate. You can melt your favorite chocolate chips (white chocolate would be amazing, let’s be honest) and either use the melted chocolate for drizzling or dipping. I used dairy-free, sugar-free dark chocolate chips.
If you want to go all out, sprinkle the chocolate with chopped pistachios and dried cranberries while it is still melty. This gives the shortbread a fun festive look and also MORE flavor and crunch!
- Replace almond flour with rice flour, oat flour, or hazelnut flour.
- Replace pistachios with pecans or walnuts
- Swap the dried cranberries for dried fruit of choice, or omit altogether.
- Use ghee or grass-fed butter (softened, not melted) instead of coconut oil if you aren’t vegan.
Be sure to check out your local Raley’s if you have them in your area!
Ready, set, shortbread!
Cranberry Pistachio Vegan Shortbread
Add all ingredients for the shortbread to a stand mixer. Beat until a dough forms. Note: it's okay if the mixture is crumbly - this is normal.
Turn dough out onto a large piece of plastic wrap and use your hands to form it into a large ball. Work the dough into a cylinder. I use the plastic wrap to help keep the cylinder intact while shaping it.
Transfer cylinder of dough to the freezer and freeze at least 2 hours. When you're ready to bake, allow the dough to thaw so that it's easy to cut but is still chilled.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Slice dough into 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch rounds using a sharp knife. Place dough rounds on the parchment-lined baking sheet.
Bake 10 to 15 minutes, or until cookies are golden-brown around the edges. Remove form the oven and allow cookies to sit 30 minutes. Use a spatula to transfer cookies to a plate.
Melt chocolate chips in the microwave (microwave on high for 15-second intervals, stirring between, until melted) in a heat-safe bowl. Drizzle or spread the chocolate over the shortbread cookies. If desired, sprinkle the melted chocolate with more chopped pistachios and dried cranberries.