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I promise I’ll start posting non-dessert recipes again soon, but these low carb vegan paleo shortbread cookies are just so good I can’t help myself (update in 2018 – still posting way more dessert recipes than anything else…)! They’re made of coconut butter, coconut flour and a touch of maple syrup/sugar-free syrup/fiber syrup – seriously delicious, but not without nutritional benefit! They also clock in at under 1g of net carbs per cookie, which is pretty darn good if you ask me.
I originally made these while I was on the AIP (autoimmune protocol) subset of paleo diets, though a modified one to be sure. The AIP diet typically focuses on eliminating allergens and other gut-irritants (eggs, dairy, nuts and seeds, beans, grains, gluten and nightshades). It also promotes whole foods and suggests using whole-foods sweeteners instead of sugar alcohols, stevia or artificial sweeteners.
If you’re thinking right now that this doesn’t really leave a lot of room for protein for vegans – you’re right. So, whenever I do a pseudo AIP experiment, I tend to consume seeds that I know don’t bother my digestive system (pumpkin seeds/pepitas, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, chia and flax, etc). This isn’t totally staying true to AIP, but it’s more or less in the spirit of things. Anywho, back to cookies…
I know, there’s maple syrup – but don’t freak out! It’s just enough to help hold these together and give some flavor without adding a substantial amount of carbs. This is a holdout from the above-mentioned AIP experiment, but I still stand by it to this day. If you’re one of the people who doesn’t want to add any form of sugar to recipes, then I’d recommend going for a sugar-free syrup. The one I always use is the Lakanto one. I’m sure you could use others, I just happen to have this one.
Notes on Making Low Carb Vegan Paleo Shortbread (gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free)
- VARIATION: To make these more buttery, use 6 tbsp coconut manna and 2 tbsp or a vegan butter alternative and double the coconut flour and sugar-free maple syrup to 2 tbsp each.
- Coconut manna/butter is the same thing as creamed coconut, but is NOT coconut cream. Coconut butter/creamed coconut is just ground up dessicated coconut, whereas coconut cream is the fat from canned coconut milk. Coconut butter/manna tends to be found with the other nut butters at grocery stores.
- This recipe pretty heavily relies on coconut, so unfortunately there isn’t really a sub for that here. However, I’m working on a coconut-free shortbread recipe!
- The type of syrup used does matter here. Because its function is as a binder, you’ll need a more viscous sugar-free syrup like one made from erythritol. The really liquidy ones that are stevia-based or sucralose-based won’t work very well, as they won’t really help the other ingredients to stick together.
- Oven temp is important here, they will burn if it’s higher! Trust me here.
- These are a pretty plain and basic cookie that is easily enhanced with different spices. I’m boring and just like using cinnamon or Chinese five spice, but gingerbread or pumpkin pie spices would also be delicious here!
- Be sure to let these cool for at least 30 minutes before eating to allow them to set up. Freezing for 15 minutes is ideal. Digging in too soon = crumbly cookie!
Low Carb Paleo Shortbread
- Preheat your oven to 300°F (150°C).
- Mix in salt and maple syrup into melted coconut butter.
- Mix in coconut flour – a thick dough should have formed, if it’s not as thick as regular cookie dough, sprinkle in a little (seriously, just a little) coconut flour at a time and mix.
- Divide into 8 flat patties (about 2″ in diameter, and around a 1/4″ thick - I used a silicone muffin pan for this).
- Bake for 15-18 minutes, until golden around the edges (check at 15!).
- Be sure to let these cool completely (so for at least 30 minutes at room temp) before eating to allow them to set up. Freezing for 15 minutes is ideal. Digging in too soon = crumbly cookie!