healthy + seasonal recipes that are gluten & dairy-free

Shortbread Cookies Two Ways: Chocolate-Dipped + Rose Pecan

Shortbread Cookies Two Ways: Chocolate-Dipped + Rose Pecan

These gluten free and vegan cookies have a buttery taste and pair beautifully with either flavour combination you choose: chocolate-dipped and topped with extra pecans, cacao nibs, and coconut sugar, or with chopped pecans and rose petals for a delicate floral flavour, topped with extra petals for a pretty touch.   

Pecan Rose Shortbread & Chocolate-Dipped Pecan Shortbread (gf, vegan) // my natural kitchen

I spent much of a two-hour bus ride through rush hour traffic contemplating how I could make a gluten-free and vegan version of Heidi Swanson's completely beautiful rosewater shortbread. As soon as I saw them, I knew they'd be such lovely cookies - pecans, rosewater and rose petals. All among my favourite ingredients, but I knew I'd have to find a creative way to find substitutions for the gluten and dairy in the original. Last year, I had attempted a very pretty (but ultimately, unsuccessful) shortbread with dried cranberries, pistachios and pink peppercorns using coconut oil as the fat - unfortunately, the cookies spread into a puddle on the pan. Coconut oil is wonderful, but I just don't find it to be the best as a one-to-one butter substitute for cut-out cookies.

Pecan Rose Shortbread & Chocolate-Dipped Pecan Shortbread (gf, vegan) // my natural kitchen
Pecan Rose Shortbread & Chocolate-Dipped Pecan Shortbread (gf, vegan) // my natural kitchen
Pecan Rose Shortbread & Chocolate-Dipped Pecan Shortbread (gf, vegan) // my natural kitchen

My salted double chocolate and almond cookies (such a favourite in our house, and they were also devoured by a house full of kids recently) use tahini with great results, and I knew that using nut butter would probably yield a cookie that held it's shape and had a nice, buttery flavour. Thankfully, I was right! I'm thrilled with how these lovely little cookies have turned out.

Pecan Rose Shortbread & Chocolate-Dipped Pecan Shortbread (gf, vegan) // my natural kitchen

I'm a big fan of the flavour of roses in both petal and water form, and the rose version of these cookies includes both. The chocolate-dipped version is my husband's favourite (no surprise there). Both are addictively good and I can't wait to gift little boxes of each to friends and family this year. The coconut sugar is finely ground in these cookies, which helps it to combine smoothly into the dough and also makes for a finer-textured cookie. 

I hope you are finding some peace amongst the chaos, and taking some time to revel in the spirit of the season with those you love xx

Pecan Rose Shortbread & Chocolate-Dipped Pecan Shortbread (gf, vegan) // my natural kitchen

Pecan Shortbread

Makes about 18 cookies, more or less depending on the size of your cookie cutter. 

50 grams (1/3 cup + 2 1/4 tsp) brown rice flour

30 grams (3 tbsp + 1 heaped tsp) potato starch

10 grams (1 tbsp + 1 1/4 tsp) arrowroot starch

10 grams (1 tbsp + 1 tsp) sorghum flour

50 grams (1/2 cup minus 2 tsp) coconut sugar, powdered (finely ground using a blender or coffee grinder)

1/8 tsp fine sea salt

1 tbsp water

1/2 cup pecan cashew butter (see below), or use 1/4 cup each of prepared pecan butter and raw cashew butter

For pecan cashew butter:

Combine 1/2 cup each of raw pecans and raw cashews in the bowl of a food processor fitted with an s-blade. Grind the pecans and cashews until a fine powder forms, and then continue until an oily and smooth nut butter forms. Stop as needed to scrape down the sides of the bowl. You'll notice a dry nut butter forms first, continue to run the food processor until the oils are released and the dry paste becomes a smooth and more viscous butter. One cup of nuts yields half that amount of nut butter, which is what you require for this recipe. 

To make the cookies:

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the brown rice flour, potato starch, arrowroot starch, sorghum flour and fine sea salt. 

In a small separate bowl (or in the bowl of the food processor), combine the pecan cashew butter with the finely-ground coconut sugar.

Continue according to the directions for the version you choose, outlined below.

Rose Pecan Version

Notes: The strength of rosewater can vary by brand. The one I use is very strong, and therefore I find that a very small amount is all I need. The rose petals can be omitted if necessary, but they really enhance the floral taste and look so pretty as a topping. Rose petals can be obtained from tea shops, health food shops, or online. Be sure only to use rose petals from unsprayed roses.

1 tbsp loosely-packed dried rose petals, plus more for topping

15 g (about 1 1/2 tbsp) pecans, plus more for topping

1/4 tsp rosewater

coconut sugar, for topping

Finely chop the pecans and crumble the dried rose petals with your fingers. Add both to the flour mixture. 

Add the rosewater to the nut butter and coconut sugar mixture, and mix well. 

Add the nut butter mixture to the flour mixture, and work them together with clean fingers until it is crumbly and integrated. Sprinkle the water, a little at a time, until the dough comes together and sticks when pinched. 

Gather the dough into a disk, wrap this in plastic, and place in the refrigerator for two hours or overnight. 

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and unwrap it. Allow to sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. 

Between sheets of parchment paper scarcely dusted with arrowroot starch, roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thickness (but not thinner). Use a cookie cutter to cut dough into desired shapes. Scraps can be re-rolled and cut. Carefully move cookies onto the parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing them at least an inch apart - I find that a butter knife is helpful to do this without disturbing the shape of the cookies. 

Sprinkle extra chopped pecans, rose petals and coconut sugar onto each cookie.

Place the cookie sheets into the freezer to chill for 10 minutes. 

Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove and allow to cool for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. 

Store cookies in a sealed container at room temperature for 2 days, or in the freezer for a few weeks. 

Chocolate-Dipped Pecan Shortbread

Notes: Cacao nibs are quite firm, and so I find it's best for texture to give them a quick chopping before using them as a topping. You can omit the cacao nibs if you prefer or cannot find them. 

1/2 cup of 70% dark chocolate, chopped or dairy-free chocolate chips

finely chopped pecans, for topping

cacao nibs, for topping

coconut sugar, for topping

Add the nut butter mixture to the flour mixture, and work them together with clean fingers until it is crumbly and integrated. Sprinkle the water, a little at a time, until the dough comes together and sticks when pinched. 

Gather the dough into a disk, wrap this in plastic, and place in the refrigerator for two hours or overnight. 

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and unwrap it. Allow to sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper. 

Between sheets of parchment paper scarcely dusted with arrowroot starch, roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thickness (but not thinner). Use a cookie cutter to cut dough into desired shapes. Scraps can be re-rolled. Carefully move cookies onto the parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing them at least an inch apart - I find that a butter knife is helpful to do this without disturbing the shape of the cookies. 

Place the cookie sheets into the freezer to chill for 10 minutes. 

Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove and allow to cool for 15 minutes.

Melt the chocolate in a small bowl set over a small pot of simmering water (bain marie). Dip shortbread into the chocolate, covering about a third of the cookie in chocolate. Allow excess chocolate to drain, and then return cookies to the parchment-lined baking sheet. Let the chocolate set for a few minutes, and then carefully sprinkle with pecans, cacao nibs and coconut sugar. I return the entire baking sheet to the freezer to quicken the setting of the chocolate. 

Store cookies in a sealed container at room temperature for 2 days, or in the freezer for a few weeks. 

I'd love to hear from you! Leave a comment to let me know you've stopped by :) 

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