It’s the season for shortbread cookies! Yes, I’m aware these may not be healthy per se…But you only live once, and there is no better excuse than the approaching holidays to indulge in these delicious, scrumptious, shortbread cookies. Am I right? 🙂 Plus my almost 3 year old toddler very eagerly helped with this recipe. Oh the excitement of sprinkles! His eyes were practically twinkling as he sprinkled each cookies with candies.
So, to make this one dairy free.
I sub margarine instead of butter. Traditional shortbread cookies contain the holy grail of butter, sugar and flour. I wasn’t 100% sure that the margarine would work. But it does! And beautifully! The dough is a little softer, which is why I stick it in the freezer before cutting out my cookies. This helps a lot! But the flavour is spot on!
I beat the margarine in a large bowl with my hand mixer until fluffy, as shown below.
Then add the sugar and vanilla and beat until incorporated. For the flour, do not add all at once. Instead, add about half at a time and mix well using your hand mixer. The dough will be clumpy, but just use your hands to form a flattened disk shape at the bottom of your bowl. Stick in the freezer for 15 minutes before trying to roll it out.
Grease your hands or rolling pin with more margarine. This will help prevent sticking, and will give you a smoother dough, and smoother cookies. Don’t worry about the dough being perfectly smooth, especially if you are glazing them. The glaze and sprinkles will cover any imperfections.
Use extreme care when transferring your cookies to your baking sheet. Remember the dough is quite soft, and breaks easily. I use a large fork to scrape under the cookie first, and make sure there are no pieces stuck to the parchment paper. Then slowly lift and transfer. IF your cookie breaks, don’t worry! You can gently press the piece back together with greased fingers. If it’s not salvageable, just add it to your discard pile for re-rolling for the next round.
To make this easier, and faster…
…you may use cookie cutters that have less detail and less vulnerability. For example, my snowflakes were harder to manipulate than the snowmen and stockings. Or just keep it really simple, and cut out circles. I chose to make different special shapes in the interest of keeping my toddler entertained. Again, the choice is yours, and either way, the taste is INCREDIBLE.
Once your cookies are baked, let them cool completely before glazing. If the cookies are too hot, the glaze will drip and run and the candies will melt. I let mine cool on wire rack for about 20 minutes and they were ready to glaze!
While you’re waiting for your cookies to cool, you may prepare your glaze. Just mix the icing sugar and water together in a small bowl and add the drop of food colouring. I use blue to make these “wintery” looking, but you may use any colour you wish. Or you can skip the colour completely and leave the glaze white. As you glaze each one, make sure to add the candy sprinkles immediately before the glaze starts to set, otherwise they will not stick.
And there you have it!
Absolutely scrumptious, dairy free shortbread cookies!
Perfectly appropriate for a plant based Christmas. Or, I mean, just make these any time of year? I won’t judge you!
These cookies freeze very well, so if you’re considering a double batch, go for it! To freeze, separate each layer with parchment paper in an airtight container to prevent them from sticking to one another.
Did you enjoy these dairy free cookies? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. Are you looking for more holiday baking ideas? Try my refined sugar free Brownie Peppermint Cookies or these absolutely amazing Lemon Cranberry Muffins.