Lemon Shortbread Biscuits - Gluten-Free & Vegan
Updated: Jul 10, 2020
I love lemon everything. There’s not much that you can add lemon to that I would turn away. You've probably already guessed that after my lemon pesto post last week. I remember making my first lemon muffin for Hudson and he told me he didn't like it. A small part of me was heartbroken that he didn't share in my love for lemon. I tried again a few months later and he was finally into it. Now Hudson puts lemon juice on everything. He actually asks for lemon juice as a dipping sauce for his chicken, a sprinkle of it on his rice and broccoli - literally anything on his plate is a good candidate for lemon juice, and I can’t say I disagree with him. I'm guessing my love of lemon came from my dad. Every year he had lemon meringue pie for his birthday and for Father's Day. And if he was lucky, my mom would make him lemon bars in between.
Don’t get me wrong - we are a chocolate loving house through and through, but lemon screams spring and summer, and I’m all about that too. It has such a light and refreshing flavor that is so welcomed, especially when it’s 100 degrees outside.
I tend to lean towards the simpler flavors and profiles when I’m baking. I’m the girl who would rather have the cake without the frosting, chocolate chip cookies without the chocolate chips, and cookies without the glaze.
That last one, along with my love for shortbread, is what brought me to this recipe. You can’t really go wrong when you combine flour, sugar, and butter, but when you add lemon to it, it gets even better! The only problem with gluten-free flour is that you can taste every starch that is in the flour, and it doesn’t always make for a great baked-good because you often get a gritty texture in your mouth. This is why I often combine gluten-free flour with another flour to provide some better flavor and consistency. I added cassava flour to these shortbread biscuits because it still gives good structure but has a better flavor than straight gluten-free flour.
There are only a few ingredients and they are so unbelievably easy to throw together. All you need is your ingredients, a mixing bowl, a spoon, and a baking pan - that’s it - you don’t even need a mixer! Throw them in the oven and you’ll know they’re almost done because your house will start to smell like butter and lemon in the best way possible.
If you bake these shortbread biscuits for around 25 minutes they will be perfectly baked through and soft on the inside. If you prefer it a bit more moist, pull them out after around 22-23 minutes instead. I tried them both ways, and it was a close tie between the super moist shortbread biscuit and the one that was perfectly baked on the inside. You really can’t go wrong, though. They were both delicious!
The first time I made these I let them cool for just a bit and then used a biscuit cutter to cut rounds out of the shortbread. This works best when you only bake them for about 22-23 minutes. You’ll have the “extra” pieces left after cutting the biscuits out, but I’m fairly certain no one is going to be upset about having some lemon shortbread biscuit scraps leftover to snack on. The last couple times I’ve made them I just cut them into squares instead.
Feel free to make a few batches of them and throw them in the freezer for another day, too! I cut mine up and put them in the freezer and they tasted just as good after a few weeks. They thaw quickly on the counter, but I also happen to know that they are pretty tasty nearly frozen, too!
Prep Time: 5 minutes Bake Time: 25 minutes Yields: 9 large shortbread squares
1 cup softened dairy-free butter
½ cup granulated sugar
1 cup gluten-free flour (I use King-Arthur gluten-free flour)
1 cup cassava flour (I use Otto’s ccassava flour)
½ tsp salt
juice of 1 small lemon
zest of 2 small lemons
Line 8x8 pan with parchment paper (bottom and sides). This will allow you to use the parchment paper as handles to pull the shortbread biscuits out of the pan after baking.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1. Mix vegan butter and sugar with spoon in bowl until fully combined. Add lemon juice and zest and stir again.
2. Add both flours and salt and stir well until combined. The texture should be more of a thick paste - it will not be runny like a traditional batter or dough.
3. Transfer to parchment-lined baking pan and spread evenly, being sure to spread into the corners of the pan too.
4. Bake for 25 minutes for soft shortbread biscuits (see baking time notes above in post).
5. Let cool for 5 minutes. Pull parchment paper with shortbread out of baking pan and let finish cooling on counter. Cut and serve.
1. Shortbread biscuits will keep in an air-tight container for up to 3 days at room temperature or 5 days in the refrigerator. For longer storage, freeze in freezer-safe container.
2. Butter can be substituted for vegan butter if there is no allergy or dairy-free preference.
3. Cassava flour is not all created equal. I have tried some brands that have an off-flavor that ruined the baked-good, unfortunately. I only use Otto’s now. If you have a different brand of cassava flour I cannot guarantee the flavor of it, so only use one you know well!