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(The Real Deal!) Chocolate Shortbread 🍫 gluten free & keto

Buttery, crisp and intensely chocolatey! These totally flakey gluten free and keto chocolate shortbread cookies are the real deal… at 1g net carb a pop!

Piled up keto chocolate shortbread cookies with a glass of milk
Gluten Free & Keto Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

Keto Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

Totally Buttery ‘N Intensely Chocolatey!

Shortbread, the Scottish cookies par excellence, are nothing more than one parts sugar, two parts butter and three parts flour. And these beauties, based on our classic shortbread cookies, simply take me back to my university years Scotland (ahem, a lifetime ago!).

You can indulge in these guys solo, studded with chocolate chunks (!!), or simply dipped in a little dark chocolate. Flaky sea salt optional, but highly suggested.

Honestly to-die-for, and you probably know already I don’t take these staments lightly.

Unbaked cutouts of gluten free & keto chocolate shortbread
Gluten Free & Keto Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

The Deets

The one indispensable thing, is that the dough be thoroughly chilled before baking. Why? The butter in the dough has to have solidified once again before you can roll it out and cut it up. That way, it won’t stick and the shapes will come just right.

The dough is fragile (and extremely buttery!), so it helps to lightly pat the cookie dough with the rolling pin to soften it and make it more malleable; press down any crumbly bits back into the dough until you roll it out to your desired thickness (both thin and thick cookies work well)

The Chocolate

Cocoa or cacao? Both work great, just know that quality really matters here. My favorite will forever be the Dutch-processed alkaline cocoa Valrhona, known to be one of (if not the) best cocoas in the world. But feel free to use a raw cacao powder (arguably more nutritional perks here), though keep in mind that your cookies will be lighter in color and more reddish in hue. Both are well and good, as long as they’re unsweetened and you like the taste.

And call me weird, but I don’t like chocolate chips in my cookies. What I like, is an actual chocolate bar broken up into bits. You see, chocolate chips were designed to not melt completely. And I’m all about those chocolate bits melting throughout the cookies.

You can either use Lily’s (completely sugar free and you can even play around with their flavors) or a dark chocolate (say 70-90%).

Keto chocolate shortbread cookies piled up
Gluten Free & Keto Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

The Flours

I found here that super fine almond flour did a killer job (solo!). Add a touch of xanthan gum, and we’re golden.

In terms of brands, for the almond either Anthony’s or WellBees work great. Both are super fine grinds.

The Sweetener

This recipe works best with erythritol, without a doubt. Not only is it roughly 1-to-1 in sweetness to sugar (and the volume is important here), but it lends a very similar crunch and chew. No other sweetener does that.

I did find that powdering it prevents unpleasant minty crystals from forming post bake. But the great news is that I found the cooling effect to pretty much disappear overnight #magic.

So get your blender out, make sure it’s completely dry, and process your sweetener of choice until powdered. Just make sure you wait a few moments for the dust to settle before opening the blender or food processor.

Or you can always grab a bag of Powdered Swerve (i.e. confectioner’s).

Keto chocolate shortbread with flaky sea salt and chocolate chunks
Gluten Free & Keto Chocolate Shortbread Cookies
Eating keto chocolate shortbread cookies with a glass of milk
Gluten Free & Keto Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

Piled up keto chocolate shortbread cookies with a glass of milk

Gluten Free & Keto Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

Course: Cookies, Dessert
Cuisine: American, European
Keyword: gluten free, keto, low carb
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Chilling Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 15 cookies
Calories: 90 kcal

Buttery, crisp and intensely chocolatey! These totally flakey gluten free and keto chocolate shortbread cookies are the real deal... at just 1g net carb a pop!

Oh, and if baking with cups rather than grams is your thing, just click on US Cups for an instant conversion.

Print

Ingredients

Optional add-ins

Instructions

  1. Whisk together in a medium bowl the almond flour, cocoa powder, xanthan gum, kosher salt and espresso powder (optional). 

  2. Cream butter and sweetener in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, 8-10 minutes. Be sure to scrape it down with a spatula as needed to avoid streaky butter! Add in vanilla extract and beat until just combined.

  3. With your mixer on low, add in half of your flour mixture- mixing until just incorporated. Mix in the rest. Fold in chocolate chunks or chips (optional). 

  4. Wrap cookie dough with cling film (saran wrap) and refrigerate for at least an hour. 

  5. Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C and have a baking tray handy.

  6. Roll out dough between parchment paper, dusting with cocoa as needed, and either simply slice with a knife or do cutouts. The dough is fragile (and extremely buttery!), so it helps to lightly pat the cookie dough with the rolling pin to soften it and make it more malleable; press down any crumbly bits back into the dough until you roll it out to your desired thickness (both thin and thick cookies work well). Place shaped cookies with parchment paper on the prepared baking tray and place in the freezer for 15 minutes prior to baking.

  7. Bake for 10-16 minutes (I did 15 for 2 1/2" cookies that were 1/4" thick). Baking times will vary widely depending on size of cookies and oven, but think 8-13 minutes for the small ones or 15-18 minutes for the larger ones.  

  8. Allow to cool on pan for 20 minutes, as they'll be very fragile when warm. Transfer to a rack to cool completely and crisp up (can take a few hours with sugar alcohols!). Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.  

Recipe Notes

*Note that the cocoa (or cacao) you use will determine the flavor (and hue!) of your cookies. I love Valrhona (Dutch-processed), which gives an intense dark chocolate kick. For a more 'milk chocolate' version you can reduce the cocoa to 2-3 TBSP (and increase the almond flour by the same amount). 

**I find that using powdered erythritol in cookies with delicate texture helps to prevent crunchy minty crystals post-bake. Simply run it in your (very dry!) blender or bullet until powdered. 

The shaped dough can be frozen for up to 3 months, and they can be baked straight from the freezer (adding 2-3 minutes more to the baking time).

Please note that nutrition facts were estimated for 15 cookies, but you can yield a lot more (even 2 dozen if they're nice 'n thin). 

Nutrition Facts
Gluten Free & Keto Chocolate Shortbread Cookies
Amount Per Serving (1 cookie)
Calories 90 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 12%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 12mg 4%
Sodium 117mg 5%
Potassium 30mg 1%
Total Carbohydrates 2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Protein 2g 4%
Vitamin A 2.8%
Calcium 2.1%
Iron 3.2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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22 comments

  1. CS says:

    Hi. This looks great!
    I’m looking for low carb (but not gluten free); is there a sub for xanthan gum (can i use gluten, if so how much? i’ve looked all over for this information and people assume that if you are cutting carbs, you are also cutting gluten which is not the case here). please help!

    • Paola van der Hulst says:

      I have Celiacs so I can’t help you with gluten replacements as it’s literally poison for me… remember keto for many people is not just about weight loss 😉 xo!

      • CS says:

        Paola. Who said anything about weight loss? For diabetics, carbs are the enemy. So far gluten is not; so since I do not have Xantham Gum and it’s not cheap, I want to use what I have. Next time, please don’t jump to conclusions that are, in this case, so wrong and insensitive.

        • Paola van der Hulst says:

          Apologies, wasn’t my intention at all. Though if it’s for diabetes it’s highly recommended in general to cut out gluten as it’s known to cause inflammation. I always tell you guys to do as you feel best though, just explaining why o can’t do gluten and that the keto diet is about healing and certain foods are known to get on the way. I’m not against gluten, and I know certain peeps benefit from consuming things such as farro, ancient grains etc… but vital wheat gluten isn’t nutritious and just a baking hack xo!

        • Carol says:

          I don’t think Paola was being insensitive at all. I’ve been reading her blog for a solid year now, and have found her to have only positive intent. Though I can understand that it is easy to have miscommunications online, with no fault to either party!

          That being said, I react negatively to Xanthan Gum. I tried various replacements (chia, flax, etc) and have recently discovered that glucomman powder can be subbed 1-for-1 which is great because of the dietary fiber benefit (good for diabetes!) and is also less expensive. Highly recommend!

  2. Kathleen Kett says:

    I have to say that this Xmas season, the baking that I have consistently loved has been from gnom-gnom. The Panettone, the cheese crackers and both the brown sugar and chocolate shortbread have all been a hit. Thank you for making me feel that I can still bake at Xmas and stick to a keto diet.

  3. Daisy says:

    Hi Paloma

    Can I ask you to troubleshoot for me cos you are the oracle of healthy baking! My wondrous daughter wanted to do nice legal treats for me so whipped up these little beauties but the dough was crumbly – she put it in fridge overnight hoping this would help the texture. It was still very dry and she cooked it as a traybake (absolutely delicious by the way) and we have wracked our brains over what we could do to put it right. Help?!

    She’s also put your showstopper tree together ready to bake tomorrow and that’s come out beautifully. And your mock banana bread mmm mmm mmm

    As I need to be more focused on my health, I’ve made a promise to myself that your recipes will be the core of my menus as they make me want to eat better. Thank you so much.

    We are UK based, but were able to source all the correct ingredients (which is another reason I love what you do)

    Thanks so much, Daisy & daughter 🙂

  4. Sharon says:

    Can I make these without adding the cocoa powder? I like the traditional Scottish shortbread cookie. What would I use to replace the cocoa?

  5. Andrea A says:

    Any experience with dairy free version? Not had much luck with Paleo/keto desserts in general, timid to try new recipe and jump into modifying right away.

  6. Wendy Mauzeroll says:

    New to making cookies. Is it possible to form the dough into a log and simply cut for the cookies rather than rolling out the dough

  7. Tina L Turbin says:

    Can you tell me if the erytheritol gives the cool and semi-minty flavor? I am over the of erytheritol flavor undertones in so many of the baked goods I try or even develop.
    – If so, have you tyried this recipe with Lakanto or a little stevia and L0-Han to avoid that cool flavor? Shortbread to me should be creamy and no lint of mint and I’d love your feedback!- Tina Turbin

    • Paola says:

      Hi Tina! I actually prefer Lakanto above all other erythritol brands (it’s erythritol with a tad of monk fruit). As mentioned in the post, I find that very little cooling effect is left (particularly overnight… seems that the longer the cookies hang out, the less its evident) xo!

    • Paola says:

      Mary how wonderful to hear you love the shortbread so much! No need to toast the almond flour here, I love the taste of chocolate shining through 😉

  8. Page Remick says:

    Incredible! Two of the VERY best things in the world: chocolate and shortbread! Oh my! You are BAR NONE, the most creative and over the top (low carb) cook out there! In my opinion, no one else had the decadent, fabulous recipes that you do! Thanks for all the hard work. It’s MUCH appreciated!

    • Paola says:

      Oh Page thank you so much for your lovely comment! Always so wonderful to hear that all the hard work is greatly appreciated 🙂 Hugs and kisses!!

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