I am not a big cookie person. I can't say that I am that into cookie swaps, and I would much rather eat a giant piece of pie over snacking on a plate full of cookies. All that said, there are a few cookies that I makes exceptions for .... cookies that I love and can't get enough of. Like shortbread. Shortbread cookies are are hands down my #1 favorite kind of cookie. There is something about that buttery sweetness that I just cant resist.
The past few month, I have been trying to cut back on my grain intake. I am usually a big fan of grains in their whole form, and even more so the gluten-free grains, however, after a recommendation from my acupuncturist to make a significant cut back on grains overall to help me reduce some problem causing inflammation I've been having, it has caused me to rethink a lot of the staples in my pantry and my recipes. And when it comes to baking, cutting out grains cuts out a lot of the wholesome flours that I have grown accustom to using. It pretty much leaves you with almond flour, coconut flour, and garbanzo bean flour. On the one hand it can feel extremely limiting, but on the other, there is still lots you can do with these flours. Even though this is a short-term cutback on grains for me, I am determined to make the most of it, and maybe even discover and develop some new and exciting recipes because of it.
Well, I am excited to report that these grain-free shortbread cookies are my first victory in the grain-free baking department. While these are not dairy-free (I needed to sneak a little indulgence in there, it is the holidays after all) they can be easily made so by subbing a sustainable palm shortening or a vegan butter. And, let's talk about the miso, because miso is, in my opinion, the best thing to happen to desserts. You know that miso and butter, when combined, create a bomb of flavors that makes anything, sweet or savory, that much more delicious. So, it's only natural that adding miso to a buttery cookie would take the cookie to a whole other level. If you haven't tried adding miso into a sweet dessert, these cookies are a great place to start .... everyone will be asking you why these tasting so addictingly good, and you can either let them in on your miso secret or keep it all to yourself.
miso sesame shortbread cookies
about 30 cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) of unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup of maple syrup
2 tablespoons of sweet white miso
2 1/2 cups of almond meal (flour)
1 cup of tapioca starch
1+ tablespoon of sesame seeds
- Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF.
- Place the butter and maple syrup into the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, and mix on high for 2-3 minutes until the mixture is fluffy. Then, add the miso and mix on high for another minute.
- Stop the mixer, add the almond meal and tapioca starch and mix on low just until incorporated (do not overmix!). The mixture should be a doughy consistency, but it will be on the wet and sticky side.
- Line a large baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper. Spoon the batter onto the center of the parchment, and place another piece of parchment over the top. Using the palms of your hands, press the mixture to form a rectangle (by pressing into the top piece of parchment). You want the dough to be about 1/4" thick all around. You can use a rolling pin or the back of a measuring cup to smooth/even out the top. Don't worry if it is not a perfect rectangle, you can trim the edges later on.
- Place the dough into the fridge, and allow to rest for a minimum of 1 hour, or overnight.
- Remove from the fridge and peel off the top layer of parchment. Sprinkle the sesame seeds evenly over the dough, and then cut the dough into squares. You might want to trim the edges along the outside so that you have nice, perfect squares. You can discard an extras or just cut them into little bite sized pieces and bake them with the squares. Alternatively, you can cut these into any shape you like using cookie cutters.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes, turning the tray 180º halfway through baking. They are done when the outside edges are a light golden brown. When you remove them from the oven, they will still be quite soft. They need to cool down in order to harden, so leave them on the baking sheet to cool for at least 30 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. Once cooled, you can serve, or store them in an air-tight container for later. They can be stored in the fridge for a couple of weeks, or in the freezer for a month+.