Coconut Shortbread with Cardamom

Coconut Shortbread with Cardamom

Indian sweets often combine the classic medley of coconut, cardamom and sugar. In my Coconut Shortbread, I use these Indian ingredients to put a delicious spin on a Scottish favorite.

Desi loves shortbread and so do I. What’s not to love about a cookie that’s utterly simple and yet stunningly exquisite?  I make my vegan shortbread for him often enough, but this time I wanted to try something different and something possibly healthier. Therefore, Coconut Shortbread.

For my Coconut Shortbread I chose not use coconut flakes– I don’t like the idea of anything, even delicious flakes, interrupting the perfect texture of shortbread. Instead, I substitute the butter with coconut oil. And then add a smidgen of coconut milk to intensify the flavor.

Coconut Shortbread with Cardamom, Vegan

Coconut oil is a great substitute for butter in shortbread and other recipes that require flaky crusts, like pies, and even in cake frosting. That’s because it remains solid at room temperature in all but the most tropical climates, like shortening would. Be sure to use an organic variety to make sure you get the purest flavor and texture.

One thing to keep in mind when baking with coconut oil is that it has a strong, coconutty flavor, so don’t use it in a recipe where you want a neutral flavor. It works perfectly in this shortbread, though, because we want it to be as coconutty as possible. The reason I said that this shortbread is possibly healthier than regular shortbread is because some research shows coconut fat is actually heart-healthy (although any fat is still fat, so moderation is key).

Cardamom makes this shortbread extra-special and reminds me a little of Naralachi Barfi, an Indian coconut fudge that is a sweet childhood memory. My mom would often make these soft and diamond-shaped barfis for my brother and me when we were kids and they would be pink or blue, exactly as a child would love them. They filled the house with the heady fragrance of sugar, coconut and cardamom, much like this shortbread does.

Enjoy, all!

Coconut Shortbread with Cardamom, Vegan

Coconut Shortbread

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup coconut milk, cold

1 1/4 cups powdered sugar

1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp powdered green cardamom

1 tbsp sugar for dusting shortbread (optional)

Mix together the flour, cardamom powder, and salt.

Cream together the coconut oil and the powdered sugar with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer until it’s soft and fluffy, about two minutes.

Add the coconut milk and vanilla and mix well.

Add the flour in three batches, mixing well with a spatula after each addition.

Cover and refrigerate the dough for 15-30 minutes.

Grease an 8 by 8 inch glass baking pan.

Place the shortbread dough in the pan. Press with your fingers into an even layer all the way to the corners of the pan.

Bake the shortbread in a preheated 300-degree oven for 50 minutes or until it is slightly darker at the edges.

Remove to a rack, cool for 10 minutes, and then, using a sharp knife, cut into diamond shapes without going all the way through the shortbread.

Cool thoroughly and then separate into diamond shapes.

(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

34 thoughts on “Coconut Shortbread with Cardamom

  1. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Manasi

    May 21, 2013 at 4:55pm

    Oh wow! I like delicate coconut flavor and this reminded me of naral wadi, of course different but Oh so yum!
    Vaishali, what brand of coconut oil do you use?

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply

      Vaishali

      May 22, 2013 at 2:38am

      Hi Manasi, I use theCarrington Farms brand. It is organic, unrefined, and has great flavor.

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply

      Vaishali

      May 22, 2013 at 2:39am

      Hi Sowmya, I got around 16. You could make them bigger or smaller.

  2. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Nupur

    May 21, 2013 at 5:17pm

    OMG you do know how to make desserts! This fusion of shortbread and naaral burfi is pure genius.

  3. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Kumudha

    May 21, 2013 at 7:54pm

    The moment I saw these , I thought it was Badam burfi…

    Coconut-shortbread looks so good. I love coconut biscuits from Bangalore bakeries.

    I just love visiting your blog, I like recipes, divine food pictures and your writing…

    Thank you so much for inspiring people to try plant-based diet – good for our health and our beautiful Earth.

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply

      Vaishali

      May 22, 2013 at 2:42am

      Thanks for your kind words, Kumudha. You have me craving badam barfi now. :)

  4. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Uma

    May 21, 2013 at 8:11pm

    this is awesome.. I love coconut.. nice fusion of naralachi khadi and shortbread!

  5. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Pavani N

    May 21, 2013 at 9:02pm

    That is one delicious shortbread variation. Love the use of coconut oil. I have a bottle that needs to be used, will try your shortbread soon. Thanks for the recipe.

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply

      Pavani N

      June 14, 2013 at 1:46pm

      Vaishali–quick question: my coconut oil is liquid now, do you think I can use it as is or do I have to refrigerate it to harden?? Thanks.

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply

      Pavani N

      June 15, 2013 at 1:29pm

      Thank you Vaishali. Will give these a try soon. I’ll let you know how they turned out. Tks. Enjoy your weekend.

  6. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Mints!

    May 21, 2013 at 11:00pm

    Surprisingly enough, I have everything for this recipe, I guess I have to make it :)

    How about adding some dry coconut to it? May be I will try in small batch.

  7. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Priya Suresh

    May 22, 2013 at 8:23pm

    Omg, those shortbreads looks extremely addictive, anything with coconut is my fav.

  8. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Manju

    May 23, 2013 at 3:00pm

    These look simply too good. I’ve never tried making shortbread yet, but must give this a try soon.

    Luv,
    Manju

  9. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Kamini

    May 30, 2013 at 1:05am

    How did I miss this? Yum. Anything coconutty is good by me. When you say coconut milk do you mean the kind in the cans in the Thai food section, or the the coconut milk in the milk aisle along with non dairy milks? Thanks V.

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply

      Vaishali Honawar

      June 14, 2013 at 3:05pm

      Hi Kamini, the cans in the Thai food section. The coconut milk in the milk aisle would be too liquid for this.

  10. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    teawithqueenie

    October 15, 2013 at 4:10pm

    finally made these after saving the recipe months ago – absolutely amazing! can’t believe they’re vegan! I need to trick some people with these :-)

  11. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Cookie Monster

    December 27, 2013 at 2:50am

    I just made these and the taste is fabulous, however during baking the oil was bubbling through the cookie dough (I poured off the excess after baking), and 50 Minutes was WAY too long! I cut off an inch of hard cookie all around. The the hard parts are wonderful for dunking in tea, and the soft part delicious, but not not melt in your mouth ‘shortbready’. Since I’m baking at altitude do you think baking for a shorter bake time and/or lowering the oven temperature might yield a better result? The taste is worth it. Suggestions?

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply

      Vaishali

      December 27, 2013 at 6:24pm

      Hi Cookie Monster, I don’t have personal experience baking at higher altitudes, but I believe that you need to increase oven temperature by 15 to 25 degrees when you do, and reduce baking time correspondingly. According to this guide at King Arthur Flour, you also need to reduce sugar when baking at higher altitudes, since sugar can weaken the structure of the baked good. This might be helpful: https://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipe/high-altitude-baking.html
      Perhaps you could try increasing the oven temperature to 320 degrees and reduce baking time to 45 minutes, for a start?

      • Permalink  ⋅ Reply

        Cookie Monster

        December 27, 2013 at 8:17pm

        Thanks Vaishali, I’m going to play around a bit to see what works best. I’ve never had problems with vegan shortbread before but don’t bake it as long, and usually only use about 1/4 cup of sugar – so I think I’ll start there. Upping the temperature has resulted in a lot of burned goodies going into the garbage. Will let you know how it works. Thank you for the inspiration :)

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