Vegan Scottish Shortbread

I have a lot of sickly sweet memories from childhood, ones which, when recalled in my mind, are glamour shot affected images complete with a cheesy vignette frame. Baking Christmas cookies with my mother can’t be excluded from these precious recollections of my childhood, despite the fact that the older I got the fainter the sugary vignette effect became. That is, my cookies began to resemble male anatomy as opposed to cheerful holiday snowmen and stars.

But one thing remained the same: the terra cotta cookie presses which had a pre-design in mind. No willies would come out of these all too cute shapes, which ranged from kittens and owls to snowflakes and holly. When I was visiting my parents earlier this month I went shopping in the basement and rediscovered these lovelies and, with my mother’s permission, relocated them to England.

Recipe Notes

If you don’t have any cookie stamps, never fear! You can roll and cut these into rounds or squares if you prefer, or even use a proper shortcake mould.

You can get creative with flavours too. For instance if you’d like to add a seasonal touch, throw in some cinnamon and mixed spice with the dry mix and substitute brown sugar.

Please note I have adjusted the recipe slightly to specify Pure brand non dairy spread as I have had a few complaints from people that this recipe doesn’t work with other butter alternatives. I hate to be brand specific, but as it’s an ongoing issue I needed to change it.

Vegan Scottish Shortbread

Makes 10-12 cookies
  • Directions/Method
    1. Pulse sugar and flour in a food processor for one minute before adding cold margarine/butter. Pulse until mixed completely (another minute or so).
    2. Roll into approx 10 heaped teaspoon balls and with a lightly oiled cookie press, press each to about 1/8th-1/4th inch thickness. If you don’t have cool cookie presses, just use a slightly oiled bottom of a glass.
    3. Bake on a lightly greased cookie sheet at 175 C for about 10 minutes (perhaps a little shorter if the cookies are on the thin side), or until cookies just begin to brown (they look prettier with no colour, but I like the taste of them slightly browned around the edges)!
    4. Cool on a wire rack or just eat them straight out of the oven. Whatever.

Any references to teaspoons, tablespoons, cups, or any fraction thereof, are based on American measurements.

* Any links to amazon.com or amazon.co.uk are affiliate links which will earn me a small commission should you make a purchase. This does not affect the price you pay for the item.



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  • Keysaysmeow

    Thank you! Simple and awesome recipe. The cookies seem a tad formless but they’re fine! Very sweet and very good, I added a little vanilla extract and some pink color for Valentines day! I am so grateful, all my non vegan friends love it!

  • http://www.messyvegetariancook.com Kip

    Good idea to use the dye and extract! I bet you could use all sorts of flavour/colour combos…

  • Belen

    I just made them but must have done something really wrong because they’re so oily they look like they’re fried. I won’t give up though!

  • http://www.messyvegetariancook.com Kip

    Hmm what brand of faux butter did you use? I’m wondering if the fat contents vary by brand and if that could be an issue?

  • Belen

    Earth Balance original. I doubled up the recipe because I wanted more cookies, you think that’s it?

  • http://www.messyvegetariancook.com Kip

    That shouldn’t be an issue. If I could get hold of Earth Balance I would try it! My parents are in the states so I might see if my mum will test it out for me. Sorry they didn’t turn out! I hope we can figure out why…

  • Belen

    Trying again doubled up. They’re in the oven right now. Will let you know how they come out!

  • Laura

    Exact same issue as the oily comment. They fall apart and turn brown after only minutes in the oven. There is no way this recipe is successful.

  • http://www.messyvegetariancook.com Kip

    Hi Laura,

    Thanks for letting me know? Can you tell me what butter alternative you used? I think I am going to need to change the recipe to specifically say Pure brand.