Nut-Free Gluten-Free Maple Shortbread Cookies

These aren’t really cookies in the classic sense of the term. By this I mean they don’t spread out and puff up when you bake them. These are shortbread cookies, and therefore they’re meant to be small and dense and enjoyed with a cup of hot tea. While not overly mapley, these are a nice not-too-sweet treat for a cold day.

paleo shortbread

The extra cool thing about these cookies is that you can bake them in batches as big or as small as you like. Today I baked just six little cookies and the rest of the dough is in my freezer, ready to be baked when I feel like I need a cookie snack. This recipe makes a nice log of dough, so you can bake all of them or just a couple. This is awesome for people like me with zero self-control and the tendency to eat all cookies available as quickly as possible. Brilliant.

Also, these nut-free cookies have only six ingredients. Six! (OK, and an optional seventh.) And I’m not allergic to any of them. Awesome.

gluten free paleo maple shortbread cookies

Nut-Free Paleo Maple Shortbread Cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes, then 3 hours freezer time

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Servings: ~20 cookies total


1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter (or coconut oil), soft but not melted

¼ cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 egg

1 cup coconut flour, sifted

¼ teaspoon salt

coarse maple sugar (optional seventh ingredient)


Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, in a large bowl beat the butter, syrup, vanilla and egg until smooth and a little fluffy.

Add half the coconut flour and beat until incorporated. Add the remaining coconut flour and salt and beat about a minute, until the dough is consistent.

Lay out a large piece of parchment paper. Wet your hands and start to shape the dough into a big blob, then plop it on the parchment. Use your damp hands and the parchment to roll the dough into a log shape. Mine was about 2 inches in diameter and roughly a foot long. Roll it into the parchment like a giant Tootsie Roll and place it in the freezer for at least 3 hours. I leave mine overnight.

paleo cookie dough

When you’re ready for cookies, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Run a sharp knife under warm water and slice cookies off the log. They should be between ¼” and ½” thick. Place the discs on a cookie sheet. They don’t need to be spread out very far because they don’t spread. If you have some coarse maple sugar from Canada like I did, sprinkle a little on top of each cookie. If not, no worries. They are equally delicious without it.

nut-free shortbread cookies

Bake for 15 minutes, then turn the heat down to 250 degrees and bake another 10-30 minutes, depending on their thickness. Cookies should be starting to turn just barely golden brown and nice and shortbready (i.e. not soft).

No need to cool – serve with hot tea and enjoy!

gluten-free maple cookies

10 Responses to Nut-Free Gluten-Free Maple Shortbread Cookies

  1. Tracy Marie January 3, 2014 at 12:43 pm #

    Thank you for being Nut Free! I am transitioning my family to Paleo eating but three of my five children have tree-nut and peanut allergies so I’ve been searching for nut free paleo recipes and your site is what I have been looking for! Thank you again! 🙂

    • Amelia E January 8, 2014 at 6:07 pm #

      You’re so welcome Tracy! It makes me very happy to be useful. Good luck with the transition and holler if there’s anything I can do to help. Take care.

    • christine February 1, 2014 at 6:54 pm #

      we have also become mostly Paleo and have 2, possibly 3 nut allerigic kids. my youngest has not been tested yet, but we have been advised for him to stay away from all nuts until he is 2 and gets tested. he just turned 2, so he will be getting tested soon. this site is great for me because i have been able to lose over 50 pounds doing Paleo, and am slowly transitioning my family over to the same way of eating as i see it’s health benefits. thanks for posting and sharing.

      • Amelia E February 1, 2014 at 9:05 pm #

        Wow Christine – those are some amazing results and I’m so glad you’re seeing positive health benefits for the whole family! We only had one nut allergic kid in my house growing up (only me!), so multiple must be pretty interesting. Glad to be helpful, and good luck in your nut-free house.

  2. Katrina February 27, 2014 at 12:09 am #

    Hi Amelia-

    Thanks for putting this site together. As a mom trying to find healthy nut-free options for my son who has a severe tree-nut allergy, your site has been a welcome new discovery. I wish there were more sites finding healthy products instead of debating which large factory producer products can be trusted.
    In your recipe above I am curious what coconut flour you have found to be safe. Thx!

    • Amelia E February 27, 2014 at 8:18 am #

      Hi Katrina. So happy to be helpful for you. I agree that great and healthy food is all about ingredients. Fewer is better and made from scratch is always best. Plus it gives me fewer labels to read. That said, I can’t say I mill my own coconut flour. I buy Let’s Do Organic. I typically buy it in bulk on Amazon and get 6 resealable bags. Hope that helps!

  3. kiley March 20, 2014 at 9:11 am #

    Hi, love all your recipes:) just wondering if its possible to roll this recipe to use cookie cutters.Perfect recipe for my son to take to school for an easter treat. He always misses out on the treats other kids bring.thank you

    • Amelia E March 20, 2014 at 3:19 pm #

      Hi Kiley. Great question, and I debated this the last time I made them but didn’t actually try it. So unfortunately I can’t speak from personal experience as to if this would work or not. If I did try it, I’d probably roll between a couple sheets of parchment paper and try to keep the cookies a little on the thicker side. My concern would be that the dough isn’t really pliable like regular cookie dough, so you’d probably need to carefully transfer them to a cookie sheet. If you try it do report back! I was totally that kid at school who missed out on all the baked treats, so I completely understand. I’m working on more safe and delicious baked goodies recipes, so stay tuned! Thanks for the note and take care.

  4. Justine April 4, 2014 at 1:09 am #

    So glad I found your blog! I do love nuts but let’s just say my body does not love them. So much of your story I could relate to (I love and totally am going to steal your phrase “diet debauchery”), namely that my body will not tolerate all the crap anymore. I can’t even do maple syrup or agave or honey (i think it’s too concentrated or something, because i can still do a bit of coconut palm sugar and/or stevia). I want to try this recipe but replace the maple syrup with palm sugar… any suggestions on adjusting the liquid/wet ingredients to compensate for the substitution? I will definitely tinker myself but thought I would ask.

    • Amelia E April 4, 2014 at 9:21 am #

      Hi Justine. I’m also glad you found me! Interesting complication related to syrupy sugars. I haven’t attempted to work around that type of constraint before, so unfortunately I can’t speak from experience. I wonder if you could combine the palm sugar with a little water and heat it up to make something closer to a syrup-like consistency? I’ve seen recipes that do that with dates where they mash them up and heat them with a little water to make it more baking-friendly. So maybe that would work with palm sugar? My hypothesis is that just plain palm sugar might make the cookies grainy, but you could always give it a go and find out. Sorry I’m not more helpful – good luck and report back if you find something that works!

Always 100% Nut Free