Delicate and not too sweet, these simple gluten free chocolate shortbread cookies are made with only 6 basic pantry ingredients. Chill the dough and they'll even hold their shape during baking!
There really are only 6 ingredients in these simple cookies, and each one matters quite a lot. With no eggs, and just butter for moisture, these might just be the easiest cookies you make all year! But you must use one of my recommended all purpose gluten free flour blends.
Over the years, I've heard from so many readers who struggle to bake even the simplest of my gluten free recipes. Almost every single time, the problem is the flour blend they're using. They're just not all created equal.
Traditionally, shortbread cookie dough is shaped into a log, then sliced and baked. Of course, you can do that. But if you'd really love to cut out shapes, go for it!
If you go with cut-outs, remember that, no matter how careful you are with the dough, shortbread cookies will spread a bit during baking. Your crisp cut-out lines will blur a bit.
I've found that, if you roll the dough relatively thick (just under 1/4-inch thick), the cookies shouldn't spread much during baking. And of course you simply must chill the dough until firm before baking.
If you'd like to make these gluten free chocolate shortbread cookies dairy free, too, try using Spectrum butter flavored shortening in place of butter. But you'll have to use at least 9 tablespoons, and likely a splash of water to knead the dough together. Shortening has almost no moisture.
Do not use Earth Balance buttery sticks, as they have way too much moisture. No matter how much you chill the dough, the cookies will spread way too much.
Gluten Free Chocolate Shortbread Cookies
3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon (115 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I like Better Batter here), plus more for sprinkling
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
3 tablespoons (27 g) cornstarch (if you’re using Cup4Cup or a similar high-starch blend, use more all purpose gf flour in place of the cornstarch)
1/4 cup (20 g) unsweetened Dutch processed cocoa powder
1/2 cup (58 g) confectioners’ sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
Preheat your oven to 325°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside.
In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, cornstarch, cocoa powder, confectioners’ sugar and salt, and whisk to combine well. Add the butter, and stir to combine. The dough will be crumbly at first. Continue mixing until the dough has begun to darken in color. With lightly floured hands, knead the cookie dough until it comes together and becomes smooth.
Place the dough on a lightly floured surface, and sprinkle the top lightly with flour. Roll out the dough until it’s about thickness of a graham cracker. Flour a cookie cutter of your choice, and cut out shapes from the dough. Loosen the shapes from the surface with a bench scraper or large flat knife. Place the shapes about 1 inch apart from one another on the prepared baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the freezer to chill until firm (about 5 minutes). Gather and reroll the scraps, and repeat the process.
Place the chilled cutouts in the center of the preheated oven and bake until just set, 8 to 11 minutes, depending upon size. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet until firm, at least 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before icing or dusting with optional confectioners’ sugar.
This recipe was originally published in 2012. Recipe unchanged, method revised slightly and photos and video all new.