We all love to eat shortbread cookies. Whether eating them during the holidays or treating yourself at the end of a long day.
However, did you stop to ask yourself, are shortbread cookies good for you?
The short answer is no. Shortbread cookies aren’t good for you because of their high ratios of butter, sugar, and flour.
In today’s post, we’ll know how these delicious cookies may affect you and what are the best substitutes to make healthy but equally tasty shortbread cookies.
Shortbread cookies are traditional Scottish biscuits that originated in the 16th century by Mary Queen of Scots herself.
This old recipe continues to stay popular to this day because of its simplicity. In the past, bakers made shortbread from leftover bread dough, which got the biscuits half of their name.
The other half “short,” refers to the biscuits’ high-fat component. Like their traditional counterparts, modern shortbread cookies are easy to make and only need three ingredients.
These three main ingredients are three cups of flour, two cups of butter, and one cup of sugar. However, this recipe depends mostly on the ratio of butter.
Unlike traditional cookies, shortbread doesn’t need any leavenings such as baking powder, soda powder, eggs, or cream.
Instead, the butter gives shortbread cookies their delicious taste and the crumbly “dissolve in your mouth” texture that we know and love.
Additionally, in their final form, shortbread cookies can contribute to recipes like caramel shortbread and Billionaire’s shortbread. Elevating the taste of the original cookies with chocolate and caramel.
According to the USDA, Shortbread cookies have some nutritional value in their traditional form.
They contain 12% protein, 3% calcium, 15% iron, 5% vitamin B6, 4% magnesium, 2% potassium, and 1% vitamin D in each 100 gm.
On the other hand, the main ingredient of shortbread cookies is butter which means they also include a high ratio of saturated fat that reaches about 30% of each 100 gm.
Not to mention, the exceedingly high levels of sodium and cholesterol. All of this is thanks to shortbread’s simple three main ingredients.
All-purpose flour, white sugar, and butter provide the cookies with an appealing taste and texture, but they also heighten the ratios of saturated and unsaturated fat.
Yes, the recipe’s dependence on butter, plain wheat flour, and granulated sugar makes shortbread cookies quite fattening.
After baking all these ingredients, the result is cookies full of saturated fats and sugar.
With this in mind, saturated fats are bad for you and they put you at risk of heart disease. These high amounts of cholesterol can negatively affect your arteries and cause a build-up.
In addition, these harmful fats can affect your insulin levels and cause diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure.
Finally, shortbread cookies contain 502 calories for each 100 gm and contain about 40 calories for every single cookie.
Given that a person only needs about 2000 or 2500 calories a day, shortbread cookies are highly craveable and can raise your weight rapidly.
While traditional shortbread cookies aren’t healthy and can contribute to health issues, you can substitute their ingredients with low-fat and low-sugar alternatives.
Shortbread cookies aren’t traditionally vegan because they contain regular butter.
However, you can easily substitute regular butter for vegan butter and get the same results. Here’s how to make delicious vegan shortbread cookies:
You’ll need the following ingredients.
- 2 cups of vegan softened butter
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup of vegan sugar
After gathering your ingredients it’s time to bake these tasty treats.
- First, mix all your ingredients.
- Then, roll out your dough on a floured tray, and put them in the fridge.
- After half an hour, preheat the oven.
- Next, get the dough out of the fridge and use a cookie cutter to cut the shapes you like.
- Finally, put your cookies in the oven at 325 °F for about 25 minutes.
- Once the cookies turn golden, get them out and cool them on a wire rack.
This way, you’ll enjoy the traditional shortbread cookies with a vegan twist. However, what if you also want your alternative low-calorie, not only vegan?
First, substitute all three main ingredients with healthier alternatives to make a nutritional variation of the traditional shortbread recipe.
Coconut flour is a healthy flour variant because it’s high in fiber and protein. In addition, it’s also vegan and gluten-free.
Furthermore, it’s ideal for healthy digestion and lowering blood sugar.
Buckwheat is a grain-like seed that is also gluten-free and rich in magnesium and fiber.
In addition, it’s perfect for baking. However, it has an intense flavor that can take some time to get used to.
Almond flour is our ideal pick for making healthier shortbread cookies because it has fewer carbs and more nutritional value than all-purpose flour or even coconut flour.
It’s known for its antioxidants that reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Instead of granulated sugar, you can use any of the following.
- Coconut Sugar
- Stevia Sugar
- Maple Syrup
Today, we’re keeping the recipe simple, like the original, with only two ingredients.
However, you can experiment with endless substitutes for flour, sugar, and butter.
Since we’re using almond flour, which is high in fat and low in carbs, we won’t need a butter substitute.
Our main two ingredients are.
- ¼ cup of maple syrup
- 2 cups of almond flour
After mixing these two ingredients, do the following.
- First, mix until the dough is crumbly and ready for rolling.
- Then, roll out the dough on a tray and chill in the fridge for at least half an hour.
- Cut into one-inch strips, or use a cookie cutter to shape it how you like.
- Next, preheat the oven and put your cookies at 350ºF for about 35 minutes.
- Finally, take the cookies out once golden and lift them off carefully to cool on a wire rack.
Are shortbread cookies good for you?
No, in their original form shortbread cookies are full of saturated fat and processed sugar.
To make them healthier, you only have to substitute the main ingredients with healthy alternatives.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.