Gluten-Free Orange Cardamom Almond Flour Cookies dipped in chocolate make a beautiful addition to a holiday cookie tray. An easy slice-and-bake recipe! Use this recipe to make Cranberry-Almond Shortbread Cookies, too!
❤️ Why you'll love this recipe
- These Orange Cardamom Almond Flour Shortbread Cookies are full of buttery goodness! They have hints of holiday flavours: subtle spice from cardamom, a citrusy tang from orange zest, and a mild nutty flavour from almonds.
- They're a delicious twist on traditional shortbread cookies, made gluten-free using almond flour.
- These grain-free cookies have a crisp bite and they're soft and tender inside. Not only that, they're dipped in dark chocolate and sprinkled with orange zest for some festive flair.
- You can adapt this recipe by using different spices. For example, for Fall, I love these Pumpkin Spice Shortbread Cookies. Same recipe: different spices!
- These gluten-free almond flour shortbread cookies are a favourite for holiday baking or for cookie swap parties! Scroll down to the end of this post to download a sheet of free printable gift tags!
❤️ Favourite Holiday Cookies and Squares
Everyone has traditional recipes that they bake during the holidays. Besides these grain-free shortbread cookies, I have several favourite recipes for gluten-free cookies and bars. Some I make year-round, like Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies and 4-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies. These are the ones I usually make at holiday times:
- Nana's Butter Tarts
- Butter Tart Squares
- Gluten-free Maple Walnut Squares
- Cranberry Lemon Oat Bars
- No-Bake Chocolate Almond Snowballs
- Roasted Almond Chocolate Truffles
- Cranberry White Chocolate Macaroons and of course,
- Gingerbread Cut-out Cookies
- And I almost forgot a family favourite: Crispy Salted Coconut Cookies!
But shortbread is a classic and these chocolate-dipped gluten-free Cardamom Orange Almond Flour Cookies will be on our holiday cookie tray this year, right beside these gluten-free Rosemary Shortbread Cookies, these Cranberry Lemon Almond Shortbread Cookies and Almond Flour Earl Gray Shortbread!
You can whip up a batch of these slice-and-bake almond flour cookies in about 20 minutes or less. Let's get started! Here's what you'll need to make these Slice and Bake Almond Flour Shortbread Cookies.
almond flour: blanched, finely ground almond flour. I use either the Kirkland Brand from Costco or Bob's Red Mill Superfine Almond Flour.
butter: unsalted is best for baking. It must be softened, but not melted, as I've explained below.
confectioner's sugar: also known as icing sugar or powdered sugar. Using confectioner's sugar makes a light, melt-in-your-mouth cookie.
salt: just a hint
vanilla extract: pure
ground cardamom: a warm intensely-flavoured spice that gives these cookies a hint of spice.
orange zest: this tiny bit adds so much flavour to these almond flour cookies!
This is a quick and easy recipe for gluten-free holiday shortbread cookies. You can either make slice-and-bake cookies or drop cookies. Here are step-by-step instructions.
- Cream the softened butter and sugar in a medium bowl.
- Add the almond flour, salt, vanilla, cardamom, and orange zest and stir to thoroughly combine.
- To make slice-and-bake cookies, place the dough on a sheet of plastic wrap and roll it into a log about 8 inches long.
- Chill for 2 hours or even overnight, then slice and bake.
- Alternatively, you can scoop the dough with a cookie scoop, flatten it slightly on a baking sheet and bake. If you don't chill the dough, the cookies will turn out slightly larger and flatter, but they still hold their shape and are delicious this way. Your choice!
- To make chocolate-dipped cookies: Melt chocolate over, not in, hot water. To temper the chocolate, melt 2 ounces of the chocolate, then remove from heat and stir in the remaining ounce.
- Dip the cookies, one by one, partway into the melted chocolate.
- Return to the baking sheet to set. Sprinkle with the remaining teaspoon of orange zest. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
Frequently asked questions
Cookies are usually made by creaming softened butter and sugar together. Creaming forms air pockets that fill with steam while the cookies are baking, resulting in a tender crust and airy texture.
What does softened butter look like? It should be firm enough to hold its shape, but when you poke it, it should leave an indentation. You can pick up a piece in your hands and it will be pliable.
If you've forgotten to take the butter out of the fridge ahead of time, (and who hasn't done that?) the best way to soften it is to leave it unwrapped on the counter at room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes.
You can also use this quick hack: Heat a glass or a measuring cup of water in the microwave, pour out the water, and cover the butter with the warm glass. The heat and steam from the glass will warm the butter to gently soften it.
If you just can't wait, microwaving it is possible, but it is usually not a wise choice! It only takes a few seconds to turn butter from rock hard to melted. So if you must, you can try microwaving it for 8 - 10 seconds, no more, or you'll regret it!
This recipe calls for two cups of finely-ground blanched almond flour. If you simply scoop it directly from the bag, you may find you have too much, as the flour gets packed.
I use the spoon and sweep method: Use a spoon to fill a measuring cup with flour until you have roughly the required amount, then level it with a knife.
I scoop roughly two cups, sift it, then scoop again, leveling it with a knife scraped across the top of the measuring cup. The most accurate way to measure almond flour is with a digital scale. Two cups of almond flour weigh 192 grams or 6.8 ounces.
Tempering chocolate gives it a beautifully smooth, glossy finish and it helps to prevent it from melting on your fingers. It also sets it up for making dipped cookies and other treats.
🔁 Possible variations
Instead of using the slice-and-bake method for these Orange Cardamon Almond Flour Cookes, you can use a cookie scoop to scoop the dough, flatten it slightly with your fingers on a baking sheet, or make a cross-hatch pattern with a fork.
Try these flavours too:
Cranberry-Almond Shortbread Cookies (shown below). Substitute ½ teaspoon pure almond extract for the vanilla extract and add ¼ cup finely chopped dried cranberries to the dough. Sprinkle with a few sliced almonds before baking.
Cardamom Orange Shortbread Cookies with Cinnamon-Sugar Dust. Follow the original recipe but don't dip in chocolate. Combine ½ teaspoon cinnamon and ½ teaspoon sugar and sprinkle on top of the cookies before baking.
Cranberry-Pistachio Almond Flour Cookies: add ¼ cup finely chopped cranberries and ¼ cup finely chopped pistachios to the dough.
Buttery Espresso Almond Flour Shortbread: with white or dark chocolate drizzle!
Or simply leave out the flavour additions and make them deliciously plain!
🥶 Storage and freezing instructions
Store these shortbread cookies at room temperature for 3 to 5 days in a container. For longer storage, refrigerate or freeze them.
These cookies freeze beautifully. Cool completely on a wire rack, then pack into an airtight freezer container. They will last for 3 months or more.
If you'd like, you can also freeze the dough before baking. Form into a log, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container. Freeze for up to 3 months. Then thaw, slice, bake and have fresh warm cookies in just a few minutes!
🗒 More gluten-free cookies and bars
Looking for new ideas for holiday cookies all in one collection? See 20 Gluten-free Holiday Cookies and Bars.
Orange Cardamom Almond Flour Cookies
- 2 cups almond flour, blanched, superfine ground
- 6 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
- 6 tablespoon confectioner's sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- 2 teaspoon orange zest, divided, 1 teaspoon for the batter, 1 teaspoon for garnishing the chocolate-dipped cookies.
- 3 oz semi-sweet chocolate
- Preheat oven to 350° F. if you plan to bake the cookies right away. If using the slice-and-bake method, wait until the dough has been chilled to preheat the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, cream softened butter and sugar together.
- Add remaining ingredients (except chocolate) and stir until well combined.
- At this point, you can roll small balls of dough in the palm of your hand, then flatten slightly on the baking sheet. Cookies made this way will spread a little more than those made using the slice-and-bake method.
- To make slice-and-bake cookies, place the dough on a sheet of plastic wrap. Form into a log approximately 8 inches long. Roll in the wrap to make it round. Chill for 2 hours or longer. You can freeze the dough at this point.
- Slice the chilled log into cookies ¼ inch thick. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Bake at 350°F. for 8 - 10 minutes or until very lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet for 5-10 minutes until firm, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Melt chocolate over, not in, hot water. To make tempered chocolate, melt 2 oz. of the chocolate, then remove from heat and stir in the remaining ounce.
- Dip the cookies, one by one, part way into the melted chocolate.
- Return to the baking sheet to set. Sprinkle with remaining teaspoon of orange zest. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
Hi! I’m wondering if you can refrigerate the dough overnight? Or is 2 hours the maximum time?
Hi, Yes, you can definitely refrigerate it overnight! Just wrap it tightly and it will be fine. Enjoy!
I took these to a Christmas party, and I received many compliments. They are very easy to make too. And pretty! Thank you!
Thanks for letting me know, Clare! Happy to hear they were popular. Thanks for the 5-star rating too!
So easy and so delicious! Thanks for sharing your recipe…definitely a keeper!
Happy to hear you liked these cookies! Thanks so much for the 5 stars!
I made these vegan by using plant butter. I also had caster sugar leftover from another recipe so I replaced the confectioner’s sugar with that. Very pleased with how they turned out. Pretty and tasty! Thank you!
Hi Jennifer! Thanks SO much for sharing your adaptations! Happy to hear these substitutions worked so well. Thanks for the 5 stars!
I am interested in making this recipe in my Nordic ware snowflake shortbread pan. Do you see any reason it would not work?
Hi Rita, That would be so beautiful! I haven't used this pan myself, but I would think because it is such good quality that cookies wouldn't stick to it. However, gluten-free cookie dough is often stickier than dough made with wheat flour. I would be sure to spray it with oil and then flour it, getting into all the nooks and crannies first. Sure hope it works out for you! I'd love to see a finished photo if it does!
Thanks very much for your reply. I will try your recipe soon and post a pic if it works well. Your cookies from this recipe look sooo good!
Wow! So easy and packed with flavor! Will be one of my go to cookie recipes
Thanks Rachel! I love this cookie recipe, too. It's easy to use as a basic recipe and add different flavours. Thanks for taking the time to comment!
This is a keeper recipe! Everyone agreed it is a fantastic shortbread! Can't believe it doesn't have regular flour in it! Thank you!
Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! Happy to hear you've found a new gluten-free cookie you like!
I've made two batches of these lately--one to give as gifts and the other for ourselves. Turned out perfectly both times. Thanks!
Thanks Taylor! I'm sure your friends will appreciate receiving them. Thanks for the 5 stars.
I made these with Swerve Confectioners Sugar because I eat low carb. I haven’t added the chocolate because I don’t want to overpower the delicate flavor. They are delicious though.
Thanks Rebekah! I'm happy to hear they're delicious with Swerve, too! This has been a really popular recipe, so I'm glad you enjoyed it as well. Thanks for the 5 stars!
Fabulous flavors. A new favorite shortbread cookie!
Flavour & Savour
Yay! Glad to hear you like them as much as I do!
I'm also dreaming of making an earl grey flavour spin on these ... hmmmmmm
Flavour & Savour
That would be delicious, Laura! Share your recipe here when you do!
I made an Earl Grey batch -- one tea bag of Early Grey tea leaves and lemon zest instead of orange. Delicious!
Flavour & Savour
Hi Laura, That's such a great idea! Can't wait to try this!
Delicious and gluten free!! Love that I can make these ahead of time. I doubled the recipe to have some frozen dough in the freezer for later in the holiday season.
I think I'll do some without chocolate too -- just a tasty shortbread!
Flavour & Savour
Great idea! I'm going to take your suggestion and do the same. The first batch disappeared quickly!