These Almond Shortbread Cookies are the most delicious, buttery and crumbly cookies ever. Perfect for Christmas and the Holidays, these cut-out Almond Meal Cookies are super easy to make from 6 ingredients only and can be decorated in many fun ways!
Why we love this recipe
Rich, butter, crumbly... that's everything you want from a good shortbread cookie. Now add a delicious Almond flavour to these cookies and you've got yourself a winner! These cookies are made with 6 ingredients only and require minimal work as they can be prepared in the food processor.
Just like my Lemon Poppy Seed Shortbread Cookies, these Almond Biscuits are great for the Holidays and a Christmas Cookie exchange. Being cut-out cookies, you can shape them with Holiday-themed Cookie cutters - or keep them simple like I did. And they can be decorated in many many fun ways too!
Baking with Almond Meal is not only a great way to add a light texture to your baked goods, it also adds a lot of flavour to them. Whether it is inside Almond Flour Peanut Butter Cookies, Almond Tahini Cookies or these 3 Ingredients Almond Cookies, Almond Meal is probably one of my favourite ingredient to bake with - ever!
Their richness in flavour really remind me of the French Sablés Bretons Cookies.
These Almond Shortbread Biscuits are made with 6 simple ingredients only:
- Flour: Plain / All-Purpose Flour, sifted
- Butter: Unsalted and Cold, cut into small cubes
- Almond Meal: can be replaced with Almond Flour but I personally prefer the texture of the coarser almond meal. Make sure it is sifted as almond meal tends have lumps.
- Icing Sugar: or Powdered Sugar. The Starch usually contained in Icing Sugar will help to give these cookies a nice snap. Again, make sure it is well sifted.
- Egg Yolk: not all shortbread use Eggs (the traditional shortbread are usually only made from flour, butter and sugar) but adding an Egg Yolk to your cookie dough adds a lot of richness in flavours and creates a lighter, softer texture too.
- Almond Essence: or Almond Extract. It is optional and can be discarded, but it is a simple way to boost the almond flavour of the cookies.
There are quite a few other ingredients that can be added to these biscuits dough to add extra flavour. Here are a few ideas:
- Vanilla (Extract, Essence or Paste)
- Orange or Lemon Zest
- Mini Chocolate Chunks
- Sea Salt
How to make Shortbread Cookies with Almonds
Although you can absolutely make these cookies by hands (see FAQ section below for instructions), I personally love to make them in the Food Processor. It makes the whole process so quick, easy, fuss-free and less messy too!
- Place the Flour, Almond Meal and Icing Sugar in the bowl of your food processor and pulse to combine and break out any lumps. - photo 1
- Add the very cold Butter cut into small cubes. - photo 2
- Process until you get thin crumbs. You shouldn't see loose powders anymore. Larger crumbs will give you flakier biscuits - I personally prefer to process to fine crumbs for a more even texture. - photo 3
- Add the Egg Yolk and Almond Essence. - photo 4
- Pulse to combine until the dough starts to come together. It doesn't need to form an even ball but if you press some dough, it should stick together. The dough will be quite soft at this point - it's normal! - photo 5
- Transfer the dough between two sheets of baking paper and roll it using a rolling pin. I rolled the dough to a 4 mm - 1/6 inch thickness, but you can roll it slightly thicker if preferred. I don't recommend going thinner than 4mm - 1/6 inch. - photo 6
- Place over a flat baking tray and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, preferably 1 hour. The dough needs to be very cold.
- Preheat your oven on 160'C / 320'F and line a large flat baking tray or cookie tray with baking paper.
- Take the almond shortbread cookie dough out of the fridge and cut out the cookies with your favourite Cookie Cutters (I used a simple round fluted cutter). You might need to leave the dough come back to room temperature for a couple of minutes if it seems to crack when you cut it. If the dough gets too soft, place back in the fridge for a few minutes. - photo 7
- Transfer the cookies over the baking tray. They will not spread in the oven so they can be placed close to each other. - photo 8
- Bake for 15 minutes. The edges should start to get slightly golden. Reduce the oven temperature if they seem to brown quickly. Remove from the oven and leave to cool down on the tray for 5 to 10 minutes before transferring over a cooling rack. The cookies will still be soft when they come out of the oven but will firm up when they cool.
Re-roll any leftover dough, chill it again and repeat the process until all the cookie dough has been baked.
Tips to make this recipe
Here are a couple of tips to successfully make this recipe:
- Temperature is important: the butter needs to be really cold to achieve a nice crumbly texture, both when you make the dough and before you bake the cookies. If the cookies are not cold enough when you bake them, they might spread in the oven. The dough also needs to be at the right temperature to cut it out / move it to the baking tray (see troubleshooting below).
- Resting is key: don't skip on the chilling/resting time. This is to insure the cookies don't spread in the oven (if the butter is not cold enough) or that they loose their shape (if the gluten hasn't had time to relax).
- Use a Rolling Pin with Thickness Rings to get a perfectly even dough thickness throughout.
- The cookie dough cracks when I cut out the cookies: leave it at room temperature for a couple of minutes to let the butter soften slightly, then start cutting again.
- The dough is too soft to handle: because it is rolled thinly, the dough will quickly come back to room temperature and you might struggle to handle it / transfer the cookies over the baking tray. Simply place the dough back in the fridge (or freezer) for a few minutes to firm up.
- Why did my shortbread cookies go flat? Again, it all comes down to temperature: the cookies where either not chilled enough when you baked them (the butter was very soft and melted straight away once in the fridge), or your oven temperature was too high.
Yes, they can absolutely be made by hands if you don't have a food processor. Follow the same steps, but crumble the Dry Ingredients and Butter together using your fingers or a Pastry Blender/Cutter until you get the same thin crumble consistency.
Add the Egg Yolk and Almond Essence and mix the dough by hands (almost like kneading bread) until the dough starts to come together.
Alternatively, these cookies can be made in a Stand Mixer with Soft Butter instead of cold butter.
Sugar Cookies tend to be sweeter than Shortbreads as their name indicates. Shortbread Cookies also usually have a higher ratio of butter.
Absolutely - that is the best way to avoid spreading in the oven and get a nice crumbly/flakey texture. It is also much easier to cut the almond cookies out when the dough is cold.
Yes, they will be slightly soft when they come out of the oven, so you should leave them to cool down on the baking tray for 5 to 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. They will firm up as they cool down.
Decorating the Shortbreads
Decorating these cookies is where you can really get creative. Although they can absolutely be kept plain, there are many fun ways to decorate and finish them!
Here are a few ideas:
- Use Almond Flakes to create a flower pattern like I did
- Drizzle the baked cookies with some Melted Chocolate, the sprinkle it with a little bit of Almond Meal
- Dip the cookies in some Melted Chocolate then top them with chopped Almond Flakes
- Create Thumbprint Cookies by placing a dollop of Jam in the centre of the almond shortbreads before baking them
- Make Cookie Sandwich with your favourite filling!
- Top the cookies with Sprinkles before baking them
- Ice the cookies once cool.
Storing & Freezing
These Almond Shortbread Cookies can be stored at room temperature in a sealed box for up to a week, or 10 days in the fridge. If you decorate them with chocolate like I did, they are better kept in the fridge so that the chocolate doesn't melt.
You can also make them in advance and freeze them for up to 3 months if preferred - but make sure you freeze them plain (without any decoration/toppings).
First, let them cool down completely then place them in a freezer-friendly container in flat layers separated by baking paper so that they don't stick together.
Leave then to thaw at room temperature for a few hours when ready to eat - and decorate then if you want.
More Cookies Recipes:
- Stamped Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies from Kelly Neil
- Nut-Free Florentine Cookies
- Aquafaba Meringue Cookies
- Vegan Chocolate Shortbread Cookie Sandwich
- Vanilla and Chocolate Marble Cookies
- Triple Chocolate Tahini Cookies
- Oatmeal Peanut Butter Banana Cookies
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Almond Shortbread Cookies
- 200 gr (1 1/3 cup) Plain / All-Purpose Flour
- 125 gr (1 1/4 cup) Almond Meal
- 70 gr (1/2 cup) Icing Sugar - or Powdered Sugar
- 180 gr (3/4 cup or 6 oz) Unsalted Butter - cold
- 1 Egg Yolk
- 1/2 teasp. Almond Essence - or Almond Extract
- Place the sifted Flour, Almond Meal and Icing Sugar in the bowl of your food processor (see note 1 if making by hands) and pulse to combine and remove any lumps.
- Add the very cold Butter cut into small cubes and process until you get fine crumbs.
- Add the Egg Yolk and Almond Essence and process until the dough starts to come together (see note 2).
- Place the shortbread dough between two sheets of baking paper and roll it to a 4mm - 1/6 inch thickness (see note 3). Place over a flat tray and leave in the fridge to rest and chill for 1 hour.
- Preheat your oven on 160'C/320'F and line a large baking tray or cookie tray with baking paper.
- Cut out the cookies with your choice of cookie cutter and place them on the baking tray (see note 4).
- Bake for 15 minutes. Leave to cool down on the baking tray for 5 to 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack (see note 5).
- Re-roll and chill any leftover dough and repeat the process until all the cookie dough has been baked. Leave plain or decorate as you want.
- The shortbread cookies can be made by hands if you don't have a food processor. Follow the same process but crumb the dry ingredients and cold cubed butter by hands using your fingers (or using a pastry blender/cutter). Knead in the Egg Yolk and Almond Essence until you get a soft, smooth dough.
- The dough is mixed enough when soft and smooth. If you press it, the dough should stick together.
- For a perfectly even thickness, use a rolling pin with thickness rings. You can roll the dough slightly thicker than 4mm - 1/6 inch if preferred (the cookies might need a couple more minutes in the oven), but I don't recommend rolling it thiner that this.
- If the dough seem to crack when you cut out the cookies, leave it at room temperature for a couple of minutes. If the dough gets too soft to handle, place it back in the fridge (or freezer) for a few minutes. The cookies should not spread in the oven so they can be place relatively close to each other on the tray.
- The cookies will be slightly soft when they come out of the oven - it's normal. They will harden when they cool down.