Sesame Shortbread Cookies

#NScookbook, Desserts, Recipes

Sesame Shortbread Cookies gluten free dairy free | Nutrition Stripped

Happy middle of December, everybody! It’s that time when holidays are in full swing and you may be prepping for parties, gift swaps, or family dinners. One of my favorite things to do over the holiday is get in the kitchen with my family and bake up some cookies. Baking hasn’t always been friendly to me, though, since dairy and gluten (two pretty basic foundations of all baking recipes) don’t play well with my digestive system. I still love a good cookie, so I’ve experimented with different gluten free flours and omitting dairy and have landed on THESE deliciously sweet, nutty, and crunchy Sesame Shortbread Cookies. They’re gluten free, dairy free, vegan, and don’t have any refined sugar. So truly ANYONE can enjoy these! Keep reading for the recipe.

Sesame seeds are a real stunner when it comes to nutrition. Sesame seeds contain minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, copper, manganese, magnesium, iron, zinc, and selenium. They’re also one of the most unique flavors from any nut or seed I’ve tried, yet I often neglect using them in the kitchen outside of good ole’ tahini. After watching a documentary about Asian cuisine and all the unique ways sesame seeds are used, I was completely inspired to make my take on a savory dessert that could also double as a snack. The combination of sesame seeds, buckwheat, quinoa (which are both technically seeds), and pecans give these cookies a crunchy texture with a nutty flavor that’s completely addicting.

I enjoy these most when eaten plain alongside a mug of hot tea, coffee, Turmeric Milk (see my website), homemade nut or seed milks, and even sesame seed milk if I really want to pack in the sesame goodness. Another accidental discovery was topping homemade raspberry chia jam on top for an amazing sweet and savory combo—it effortlessly crosses genres between dessert/snack/breakfast. Be prepared to be completely smitten with sesame seeds.

Tip: You can sub buckwheat flour for oat flour and quinoa flour for brown rice flour (or more oat flour).

Sesame Shortbread Cookies
Recipe type: dessert, cookie
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12-16
Gluten free and dairy free shortbread cookies topped with sesame seeds and poppy seeds for a sweet, nutty, and crunchy dessert.
  • 1 cup pecans, ground
  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1⁄2 quinoa flour
  • 1⁄2 cup gluten-free all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1⁄2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar + 1 tablespoon coconut sugar for topping
  • 1⁄2 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1⁄2 tablespoon white sesame seeds
  • 1⁄2 tablespoon black sesame seeds
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a food processor, pulse pecans until they’re ground into fine flour. Add buckwheat flour, quinoa flour, all-purpose flour, and coconut flour to the food processor to combine.
  2. Transfer into a large mixing bowl. Add baking powder and sea salt.
  3. In a blender, add melted coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and coconut sugar and blend well. Pour this mixture into the dry ingredient bowl and stir until the dough forms.
  4. Divide the dough into two halves, wrap with clear wrap and chill the flattened dough in the clear paper in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  5. Place a piece of parchment paper on your surface, lightly dust with about 2 tablespoons of flour, followed by half of the dough, then place an additional piece of parchment paper on top. Gently flatten by rolling a pastry roll on top, about 1⁄2 inch-thick. Repeat with the other half of the dough. Chill in the fridge for another 30 minutes, or until firm.
  6. In a small bowl, mix coconut sugar, poppy seeds, and white and black sesame seeds. Set aside—this will be sprinkled on the top of the cookie before baking.
  7. Using a sharp knife, cut the cookie dough into small squares or in diagonal squares about 2 inches per side.
  8. Place on a lined baking sheet with parchment, sprinkle the tops with the sesame seed mixture and gently press the seeds into the tops with your fingers making sure they stick. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack and cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.
Note: The dough can be made days in advance and stored in a ball, simply roll out the dough when you’re ready to bake.

Open Sesame

What do you think about sesame seeds on a cookie? If you try this at home, be sure to leave a rating or tell me what you think in the comments! Plus don’t forget to share on Instagram with #nutritionstripped so we can see!

xx McKel

Photo by Katie Newburn

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Share your thoughts

  • I am so going to make them this Christmas! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • McKel Hill

      Enjoy! They’re one of my favorites!

  • I’m not sure, typically most if not all GF flours contain some type of gum or else you wouldn’t get that binding characteristic. I haven’t talked about it on the blog because I haven’t come across such controversy/health issues with it but will if I come across any literature! Thank you for the kind words and glad you enjoy the recipes!


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