Paleo (AIP-Friendly) Maple Shortbread

And just like that — BAM! — it’s the Christmas season. Time to shake off the turkey hangover, put away the pumpkin, and start thinking about holiday cookies. Or maybe that’s just me.

But in case that’s you, too, I’ve got a treat for you: a stupid-simple, very delicious cookie recipe from the ebook Christmas Dessert Freedom by Leanne Vogel of Healthful Pursuit.


If you’ve been following along with our Adventures in Functional Medicine, you know that Dave and are on an even more restricted eating program than usual. For past holidays, we’ve eaten super clean all year so we can enjoy our favorite cookies and lasagna — the real thing, gluten and all — on Christmas Eve.

But this year is different. This year, we can’t play around with gluten or refined sugar, so I’m exploring the world of grain-free desserts.

That’s why I’m glad that Leanne popped into our holiday planning. Christmas Dessert Freedom features 10 holly jolly dessert recipes that are just about as “clean” as you can get and still make something you want to eat. The list of lusciousness includes Tiramisu, Rum Balls, and Pecan Bars!

But I zeroed in on the Maple Shortbread for two reasons: (1) I really love shortbread; and (2) the recipe has only 5 ingredients — you probably have all of them in your pantry right now — and it’s AIP friendly, too. I have deep empathy for food lovers on a restricted diet, so I wanted to share something that everyone can enjoy.


Paleo Maple Shortbread

Adapted from Christmas Dessert Freedom by Leanne Vogel of Healthful Pursuit

Makes 16 cookies | Prep 5 minutes | Chill 30 minutes | Bake 50 minutes

  • 3/4 cup coconut flour, sifted

  • 6 tablespoons coconut oil or ghee, room temperature

  • 1⁄4 cup maple syrup

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (my addition)

  • pinch sea salt


Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat. Set aside.


Place all ingredients in the bowl of a standing mixer and blend on medium-high for 1 minute. Don’t have a stand mixer? A hand mixer will work, too.


Pat the dough into a square and cut it into 16 even pieces. Pat each piece into a bar shape with your fingers and place on the baking sheet. Poke lightly with a fork in whatever design you like. Place the baking sheet in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.


Meanwhile, preheat oven to 200F. When the shortbread has chilled, transfer the baking sheet to the preheated oven. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until just lightly golden.


Remove baking sheet from the oven and allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely. Shortbread can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days or freezer for up to 1 month (if they last that long). Eat at room temperature.

NOTE: I added vanilla because I’m kind of a vanilla junkie. These were delicious as-is, but if you can eat ghee, I think they’d be super rich and buttery if you replaced the coconut oil with ghee.

ALSO NOTE: Dave is pretty picky about desserts, and after taking a bite, he said, “These would be really nice with a cup of tea.” So there you go.

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