Vanilla Shortbread with Orange Buttercream (GF, Vegan, Oil-free)

By Ashley | Dessert

Jun 18

Reminisce with me, will you?

Even before my obsession with all sorts of cookies (I know, what was wrong with me??) I had a thing for shortbread.

Like the really good, freshly homemade, vanilla bean specked, butter-heavy kind that blows your socks off.

I actually remember the first time I made homemade shortbread on an August afternoon. I made strawberry jam for it to serve with it. And I nearly devoured the whole pan of shortbread and jam that same day.

Ever since, I snatch freshly baked shortbread every chance I get. Unfortunately I rarely see vegan versions and although I have made a few plant-based versions myself, nothing was epic like the first batch I made long ago. It lives so vibrantly in my memory . . .

But the other day I felt empowered to create a drool-worthy nutritious vanilla shortbread. I was really ambitious and decided that these cookies should be as healthy as possible: gluten-free, soy-free, oil-free and refined sugar-free. A tall order!

I also decided to whip up some plant-based buttercream, knowing that even if the shortbread didn’t live up to my high expectations, frosting would save the day! And because Young Living oils offer mega-nutrition, add zero liquid (take that, orange juice!), and have the dreamiest flavor, I couldn’t resist adding some bright citrus flavor to this fluffy frosting!

As for the garnish, I foraged some berries in my neighborhood that afternoon and knew they would add the perfect pop of color on top!

These beauties actually exceeded my expectations: perfectly crisp, vanilla-infused, lightly sweetened with a mildly tangy whipped frosting. What’s not to love??

Sending you all the summer vibes and perfectly-textured, generously-frosted shortbread cookies to enjoy on these gorgeous sunshine-filled days =)

Vanilla Shortbread with Orange Buttercream (GF, Oil-free & Vegan)

Shortbread Ingredients (adapted from here): 

1/2 c tapioca starch/flour

1/2 c almond flour

1/2 c sorghum or brown rice flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp sea salt

Seeds from 1/4 vanilla bean

3 tbsp melted coconut butter

For mildly sweet cookies: 3 1/2 tbsp maple syrup, 2 tbsp cashew butter

For sweeter cookies: 1/3 c maple syrup

Orange Buttercream Ingredients (adapted from here):

2/3 c cashew pieces, soaked, drained and rinsed

1/2 c melted coconut butter (raw cashew butter can be substituted)

1/4 c maple syrup

1/2 c coconut cream (chill the can initially to separate cream from liquid, but bring cream to room temp before adding to blender)

1/2 c non-dairy milk (or reserved liquid from the can of coconut cream)

1-2 drops Young Living Orange Vitality Oil

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Pinch sea salt

1 tbsp, plus 1 tsp sifted coconut flour

For Garnish: wild berries, orange zest, shredded coconut, matcha powder, get creative!


For the cookies, sift together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

Add the coconut butter, maple syrup, and vanilla, and beat on medium high with a hand mixer until a thick dough forms.

Knead into a ball, then roll out 1/4 inch thick.

Use small round cookie cutters to cut cookies, and transfer them to a parchment lined pan. Reroll and cut any extra dough.

Bake at 325 degrees for 10 minutes, or until firm to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

***Note: make sure all the ingredients are at room temp or warm before blending!***

For the buttercream, blend the cashews, non-dairy milk, essential oil, and vanilla in a high-speed blender until creamy.

Add the coconut cream, coconut butter, and maple syrup. Blend until smooth and creamy.

Add the coconut flour and blend to incorporate. It will be thin but will thicken substantially in the fridge.

Transfer frosting to a container and chill at least 4 hours, before dolloping onto cookies and garnishing as desired.

Store cookies and frosting refrigerated if not serving immediately.

Note: This post is not sponsored and all thoughts are my own. However, this post does contain Amazon affiliate links that help support my blogging. If you click through and purchase via my affiliate link I will receive a small commission from Amazon. Thank you for your support!

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