How to Make Easy Vegan Shortbread. Shortbread is another old fashioned favourite, and I know it seems that I love cooking recipes from the past, but why not? I grow weary of seeing my Instagram feed full of macarons and burnt butter cookies (but don’t worry, I will make these both, one day!), and I just don’t always have the time to devote to such things.
Like so many others, I work full-time and because of this, and the fact that I take anti-depressant medication, I feel tired a lot. It usually takes a large quantity of caffeine and a lot of internal cheerleading to get motivated on the weekends, a time when I’d quite often love to just stay in bed.
I’m not complaining. I am extremely lucky to have work, particularly after having ridden through the “almost end of the world” that was Covid-19. But I think we can empathise with desire to just sometimes do nothing.
So, I suppose in a roundabout way, what I’m saying is that I enjoy baking and sharing these reasonably simple and quick recipes for the harassed, exhausted or just plain lazy (and that’s ok too!) cook. The person who still wants to know that when they go to the cake tin in the week, they have a little treat in there, and a who wants a little bit of pride knowing that they filled the cake tin themselves.
I’ve blogged about my easy blender method cake elsewhere on this blog and if I can get prep for anything bakeable done in 10 minutes or under, I’m a happy bunny.
This shortbread recipe, based on a vintage Delia Smith one, but veganised, of course, and given a special (optional) twist.
Shortbread is not bread. It doesn’t have yeast or any levening in it, and is certainly closer in texture to cookies than anything else. The word short refers to both the crumbly texture of the biscuit, but also that it uses a high quantity of shortening.
Of course, as the tartan on the boxes you see in the shops might suggest, Shortbread originated in Scotland, perhaps as early as the 12th Century. According to Sir Wiki, the first printed recipe for Shortbread appeared in 1736, carefully scribed by a Scotswoman called Mrs McLintock. I think she would have had some really interesting recipes in her reportoire, and if only I had a time machine, I would arrive in her kitchen to try her traditional Scottish recipes, perhaps somewhat disturbingly to her, probably never having heard of time machines.
Note: Shakespeare also wrote about an Alice Shortcake in the Merry Wives of Windsor, and no doubt he had tried the delicacy, but fell in love with the romantic nature of the name.
But I digress. If you have never tried shortbread, you must give this recipe a go today (or, at the weekend, I’ll approve). It’s also a really great recipe for children as it is so simple: just put all the ingredients in a bowl and beat until you have your thick shortbread dough.
How do you make vegan Shortbread?
- Make sure that you use the best quality vegan butter you can, this does make all the difference to the taste. Salted is fine.
- and make sure your butter is at room temperature to make the beating of the dough much, much easier
- Don’t omit the Semolina, this adds the distinctive “sandy” texture that all traditional shortbreads have.
- Because the dough doesn’t really need to rise (although it will puff up a little on baking), you can be quite vigorous with the dough. This is not a biscuit dough that needs to be handled too carefully.
- You can customise your shortbread, as I did, by adding flavourings such as finely chopped dark chocolate (2 tbsp), some finely nibbed pistachios (2 tbsp), lemon zest and poppy seeds, or finely chopped lavender flowers. Of course, shortbread is perfect as it is, without any extras too.
- You can roll out the shortbread and use a cutter to make cookies instead.
If you love cookies, try my other vegan cookie recipes:
- Delicious with a coffee, it’s my fully-loaded Biscotti
- They have oats in them, so they must be healthy! My choc-chip oatmeal cookies
- Great for a festive gift, even if you’re just gifting yourself, vegan Florentines
Easy Vegan Shortbread
- Preheat oven to 150c.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together all the ingredients until they form a cohesive dough. I used a wooden spoon and did it by hand, but feel free to use your mixer
- Lightly sprinkle a work surface with a little sugar and turn out your dough
- Roll out until you have a rectangle that is approx ¾" thick.
- Place this gently onto your greased baking sheet and prick all over with a fork.
- Bake for between 45 minutes to an hour, until it feels firm to the touch, and no longer soft. Make sure it doesn't overcolour.
- Remove from the oven, leave to cool for 10 minutes, then carefully cut into fingers. Leave to cool completely.