Coconut Macadamia Lime Shortbread Cookies – Gluten Free

Gluten Free Coconut Macadamia Shortbread | @Susan Salzman | www.theurbanbaker.comTraditional shortbread should really be called “several sticks of butter – cookies”. The butter could very well be what makes them so additively mouth watering. Shortbread is not something that could linger around my house. If it does, I end up consuming 98{27efe1ccc16afc6105236eb327c94109df2303d90755d07506af9f0011bd0280} of it. With the weather shifting into summer and tank top season upon us, eating a large batch of shortbread would most likely keep me in turtlenecks and long sleeve t’s rather than a cute maxi or simple sun dress.

Gluten Free Coconut Macadamia Shortbread Dough | @Susan Salzman | www.theurbanbaker.comI have been  wanting to recreate this favorite, household cookie, yet in a gluten free version. Playing with ingredients has become my new hobby (or obsession) and when something hits and comes out right, the kitchen dance begins! The neighbors up the street can hear me singing with joy as the kids wait patiently by the oven door. I found, rolling out the dough and letting it rest in the fridge before shaping helped the cookies not spread when baked. In addition, cut dough can be flash frozen and saved for another day.

Gluten Free Coconut Macadamia Shortbread Ingredients | @Susan Salzman | www.theurbanbaker.comMaking shortbread was a high priority. It’s, yet another one of those freezer friendly doughs, and when baked not only does the house smell divine, but the rich, buttery biscuit easily melts in ones mouth. Using ingredients on hand; macadamia nuts, limes, and coconut, a successful cookie was born. This basic dough could easily find a home with lemon, almonds, bittersweet chocolate, dried fruit, and a host of other pantry staples. I am going to experiment. You can too! Then come back here and tell me what you come up with!

A Perfect Gift: Gluten Free Coconut Macadamia Shortbread | @Susan Salzman |


Coconut Macadamia Lime Shortbread Cookies – Gluten Free


3 ounces | 86 grams | 1 cup macadamia nuts, chopped and toasted
6 ounces | 170 grams | 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons organic, cane sugar
2 ounces | 56 grams | 1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
2 tablespoons grated lime zest
8 1/2 ounces | 248 grams | 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
9 3/4 ounces | 280 grams | 2 cups all purpose gluten free flour mixture (I use my own blend)
1/2 teaspoon xanthum gum
1/4 teaspoon guar gum
1/2 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
1 large egg white, lightly beaten


• place a jelly roll pan, 11.5″ x 17.5″ in the freezer until ready to use.
• chop macadamia nuts. place on a small baking sheet and toast for 8-10 minutes or until just beginning to turn golden. let cool.
• using a micro-plane, zest limes (about 2-3, depending upon their size).
• in the work bowl of a mini Cuisinart, pulse the toasted nuts and 2 tablespoons of sugar until very finely ground. set aside.
• in the same workbowl, pulse 1 cup (2 ounces | 56 grams) of the coconut, until it resembles coarse salt. set aside.
• place butter and remaining sugar in the bowl of your standing mixer. using the paddle attachment, cream the ingredients until well combined.
• mix in the coconut and vanilla extract.
• with the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture, xanthum gum, guar gum, and celtic sea salt. mix just to combine. do not over mix.
• remove the work bowl from the mixer and using a rubber spatula, add the ground nuts, coconut, and lime zest until all is incorporated.
• place dough on a piece of plastic wrap and bring it together without over working the dough. wrap tightly in the plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour or up to 24 hours (if not using right away, dough can be frozen for up to one month).
• cut dough in half. wrap up one half of the dough and place in fridge while you work with the other half of the dough.
• on a lightly floured work surface (I use a marble slab), roll your dough to 1/4″ thick (I also flour my rolling pin). This dough gets warm rapidly, so you want to work quickly. place slab of dough on a piece of parchment paper and place on the frozen cookie sheet. place the cookie sheet in the fridge while you repeat this process with all of the remaining dough.
• loosly cover your slabs of dough with plastic wrap and place back in the freezer for 20 minutes.
• preheat oven to 325*
• working with one slab at a time, cut your dough into desired shapes. set shapes on parchment lined cookie sheets, about 2 inches apart.  place back in the fridge while you cut the rest of your dough. repeat until all of your dough and scraps have been utilized.
• brush the tops of each cookie with egg wash. sprinkle with remaining coconut.
• bake 15 – 20 minutes, rotating the sheets top to bottom, and back to front, mid way between baking.
• let cool completely before removing from the parchment paper.
• store cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 days (if they last that long).
* note: juice limes and place juice in ice cube trays. once frozen store in baggies or a freezer safe container for future use.

The Urban Baker /

 More Recipes to make with Coconut:
Coconut Macaroon Nutella Nests – Two Peas + Their Pod
Coconut Lavender Cookie Balls – Epicurean Mom
Homemade Samoas Cookie – Bakers Royale
Chocolate Coconut Rice Krispie Treats – My Baking Addiction

Showing 26 comments
  • Kim

    These cookies look really awesome! I like these flavors, coconut and lime are my favorite!

    • Susan

      Hi Kim, yes, coconut and lime is a winning duo. I made some “failed” baked doughnuts with this combo but that won’t stop me from trying again!

  • Reply

    incredible looking! Great flavor combination

    • Susan

      Thanks Alison. This flavor combo would be much better savoured on a Hawaiian beach…but this will have to do for the time being!

  • Reply

    These are lovely. The flavor combination sounds perfect for this time of year; bright, tropical-esque! Another beautiful creation from you!

    • Susan

      Thanks so much, Toni. They were a huge hit and am looking forward to using this dough for many more creations! Have a wonderful Tuesday!

  • Reply

    Love the flavor combo. I am such a fan of coconut. For some reason, it relaxes me, maybe because I feel like I should be lounging on the beach every time I eat or drink anything coconut!

    • Susan

      I love that coconut relaxes you, Allison. It’s kind of like your “glass of wine” at the end of the day. Love this concept!

  • aida mollenkamp

    Such great flavor combos, Susan. This just might be the thing to help me get over the sadness of returning from my Hawaii trip!

  • Reply

    I love the alternative name you came up with for these lol. The original works too 😉 I wish I had some to taste right now!

    • Susan

      After all, they are a “butter” cookie, right? Thanks for stopping by, Rachel!

  • marla

    Such a FUN cookie recipe you came up with!!

  • Nancy@acommunaltable

    These look absolutely addictive!! Shortbread is definitely addictive – my grandmother used to make it about once a week – I can still remember her getting out the wood cutting board, plopping a cube of butter on it, adding so flour and sugar and then working it together on the board until she had a dough. She’d then pat it out (thick!) cut it out with these little cookie cutter and then putting it in a tin in the oven to bake.. amazing how three simple ingredients can create something so incredibly divine!

    • Susan

      Nancy, that is such a wonderful story. I sure hope you have those sentimental cookie cutters today. If so, you and I may need to do a little baking together!

  • Kristina Vanni

    Light, fresh and delicious. Great combination of flavors! Beautiful photos as well!

  • Reply

    Macadamia nuts are my latest obsession, and well coconut is always welcome.

  • Cookin' Canuck

    I have a tough time resisting shortbread, too. The flavors in this sound perfect for summer – fresh and bright.

    • Susan

      I know, Dara. It’s just so good – and one can never eat just 1!

  • Esi

    I need to try adding lime to buttery cookies. It sounds delicious.

  • Patricia Scarpin

    Oh, Suz, so many of my favorite flavors together! These cookies look amazing – love the tropical feel!

  • HJ

    Hi! Your cookies look so scrumptious! Glad I found your recipe on Foodgawker. I’m quite new to certain ingredients, such as xanthum gum and guar gum – are those “must-have” ingredients or can I swap with something else?

    Thanks for sharing the recipe!

    • Susan

      Hello! Glad you found me and stopped by. By omitting the gluten from the alternative flours, you need something that is going to bind your dough together. The xanthum gum and guar gum do just that. Although, new findings are showing that chia seeds and a few other ingredients (I am not an expert and am just now researching it) will have the same effect on the end result. Shauna from Gluten Free Girl and the Chef has a number of posts explaining why some recipes work and why others dont. You may want to read about her journey as she has been on this path for a lot longer than me. I am still a student, learning each day, but with that said, having a lot of fun experimenting! Good luck!

  • mark

    These look great! What would be the regular recipe (non-gluten free).

    Many thanks!

  • sally cameron

    Oh Susan you’ve done it again. These sound fantastic! Love lime and coconut. I rarely bake cookies as I don’t want the calories and temptation around the house, but a treat once in awhile is ok. I’ll have to try these! And love your photos. Wonderful post. Thanks.

    • Susan

      Thanks, Sally! They were really good and I am now just thinking of making another version for friends that are having a tough time. And yes, having cookies around is very tempting. That’s why I try to get them packaged and delivered as soon as they are made!

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