Lemon Shortbread is a flavorful twist on the classic, buttery, lightly sweet, Scottish shortbread cookie that has remained popular since the 1700s, and this recipe is vegan, gluten free, and ready in thirty minutes!
Because this recipe is vegan, I did not use butter like the classic recipe lists. Instead, I chose to use extra-virgin, cold-pressed coconut oil as I love the taste of lemon and coconut together. However, if you do not care for a slight coconut flavor in your cookie, use a coconut oil that is labeled as “virgin” or “refined.” Even though the coconut oil brand will also effect the flavor of the oil, in general, the more refined the coconut oil, the less coconut flavor that is present.
In addition, one of the flours used in this lemon shortbread recipe is “sweet rice flour,” which is also known as “mochiko rice flour.” The sweet rice flour is more glutinous (This simply means that it is a starchier rice and is not to be mistaken with wheat gluten!) than regular brown or white rice flour, and the starchy nature makes the sweet rice flour perfect for holding moisture in denser baked goods. If you cannot find sweet rice flour in your grocery store, try an Asian market or specialty store, or you can order it online here like I did.
Lemon shortbread is is probably my favorite variety of shortbread, so I love to boost the lemon flavor in the recipe with about ten drops of pure lemon essential oil. However, if you have never cooked with essential oils before, especially lemon essential oil becaue it is very concentrated, please use caution and do not bake with essential oils until you have made sure that you do not react to the essential oil during external skin applications. If you would like to test your reaction to an essential oil, the easiest method is to place one drop of the essential oil on the bottom of your heel and wait at least thirty minutes to determine if you see any reaction. If you see any redness, feel itchy where the oil was applied, or have any other reaction, please do not use the essential oil while baking. If you would like more information about cooking with essential oils, check out this book!
If you try this recipe, let me know! I would love to see your comments and ratings on this recipe. In addition, you can tag photos of your dishes for me to see on Instagram using #shalomhomestead.
Best wishes and shalom, friends!
- ¼ cup + 2 Tbsp coconut oil, room temperature
- ⅓ cup agave nectar
- ⅛ tsp salt
- ½ cup brown rice flour
- ¾ cup tapioca starch
- ½ cup sweet rice flour
- ½ tsp xanthan gum
- 3 Tbsp lemon juice
- *optional for stronger lemon flavor: ½ tsp lemon flavoring or 10 drops pure lemon essential oil
- Preheat the oven to 375˚F and line a cookie baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
- In a stand mixer, cream the coconut oil until smooth.
- Next, add the honey and salt to the coconut oil and mix to combine.
- Pour the dry mix into the stand mixer bowl and again, mix to combine.
- Last, add the lemon juice and optional lemon flavoring or essential oil and mix one last time.
- If the dough is too soft for rolling flat and cutting, place the dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to chill.
- If the dough is ready to roll out immediately, place the cookie dough on a piece of parchment paper, cover with another piece of parchment paper.
- Roll the cookies to ¼ inch thick and use a cookie cutter or simply slice into squares or rectangles to make cookies. Cookies that are 1.5-2 inches in diameter are best.
- Place the cut cookies on the baking sheet (they will not spread while baking, so ½ inch between cookies will work well.), gather dough scraps into a ball, repeating the previous steps until all the dough is cut into cookies.
- Bake the cookies for 15-16 minutes or until golden brown on the edges.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before transferring to a cooling rack.
- Cool completely before serving.