almond butter shortbread cookies (2 ways)

a flaky & tender almond butter shortbread that is delicious enough to be enjoyed on its own, but also subtle & versatile enough to be finished with either a dunk of dark chocolate & sprinkle of fleur de sel or sandwiched around a sweet almond butter buttercream (or both!).  almond butter shortbread cookies are going to be the best addition to your holiday cookie plate this year!almond butter shortbread cookies | via plays well with butter | a flaky & tender almond butter shortbread that is delicious enough to be enjoyed on their own, but also subtle & versatile enough to be finished with either a dunk of dark chocolate & sprinkle of fleur de sel or sandwiched around a sweet almond butter buttercream (or both!)

so you know that feeling you get when you bite into something & the most delicious taste imaginable explodes into your mouth?  

it happens instinctively, the moment right before you turn into a foodie & start to over-analyze what it is you’re eating & why it tastes so delicious. 

the feeling that makes some people close their eyes & savor, & other people do a little happy dance?

me?  that feeling makes me giggle. 

i really couldn’t tell you why this happens, but it’s like joy just bubbles up inside of me & i can’t contain it. i turn into a school girl & start giggling uncontrollably. 

like these mini chai scones.  they totally make me giggle.  & that moment you get to savor the pasta bolognese that’s been seducing you from the stove as it bubbles away, developing rich, craveable flavor.  that has me giggling like a fool.    

& let me tell you. these almond butter shortbread cookies totally give me the food giggles. almond butter shortbread cookies | via plays well with butter | a flaky & tender almond butter shortbread that is delicious enough to be enjoyed on their own, but also subtle & versatile enough to be finished with either a dunk of dark chocolate & sprinkle of fleur de sel or sandwiched around a sweet almond butter buttercream (or both!)

an update to traditional shortbread, these almond butter shortbread cookies are so simple, requiring just pantry staples that you probably have on hand already:  butter, sugar, flour, & almond butter.  

because almond butter makes everything better, right?  right.

i make my shortbread cookies slice & bake style, rolling the dough into a log & slicing 1/4 inch thick cookies.  you could, of course, roll out the dough & cut with a cookie or biscuit cutter, but sometimes you just don’t want to deal with the mess.  

the butter & almond butter come together, resulting in a rich cookie with a mouth-wateringly tender & flaky texture.  it’s the kind of cookie that makes the perfect simple dessert with a glass of great red.  it’s also the kind of cookie that makes an even better breakfast, dunked in a piping hot cup of coffee.  almond butter shortbread cookies | via plays well with butter | a flaky & tender almond butter shortbread that is delicious enough to be enjoyed on their own, but also subtle & versatile enough to be finished with either a dunk of dark chocolate & sprinkle of fleur de sel or sandwiched around a sweet almond butter buttercream (or both!)

& while they’re great as-is on their own, their almond flavor is subtle enough to make them a great canvas to transform into different cookies for some variety on your holiday cookie plate.  

like these chocolate-dipped almond butter shortbread cookies with a sprinkle of fleur de sel.almond butter shortbread cookies | via plays well with butter | a flaky & tender almond butter shortbread that is delicious enough to be enjoyed on their own, but also subtle & versatile enough to be finished with either a dunk of dark chocolate & sprinkle of fleur de sel or sandwiched around a sweet almond butter buttercream (or both!)

for chocolate-dipped almond butter shortbread cookies with fleur de sel, simply bake the shortbread per the recipe below, let them cool, & dunk them into a pool of dark chocolate.  almond butter shortbread cookies | via plays well with butter | a flaky & tender almond butter shortbread that is delicious enough to be enjoyed on their own, but also subtle & versatile enough to be finished with either a dunk of dark chocolate & sprinkle of fleur de sel or sandwiched around a sweet almond butter buttercream (or both!) almond butter shortbread cookies | via plays well with butter | a flaky & tender almond butter shortbread that is delicious enough to be enjoyed on their own, but also subtle & versatile enough to be finished with either a dunk of dark chocolate & sprinkle of fleur de sel or sandwiched around a sweet almond butter buttercream (or both!) almond butter shortbread cookies | via plays well with butter | a flaky & tender almond butter shortbread that is delicious enough to be enjoyed on their own, but also subtle & versatile enough to be finished with either a dunk of dark chocolate & sprinkle of fleur de sel or sandwiched around a sweet almond butter buttercream (or both!) almond butter shortbread cookies | via plays well with butter | a flaky & tender almond butter shortbread that is delicious enough to be enjoyed on their own, but also subtle & versatile enough to be finished with either a dunk of dark chocolate & sprinkle of fleur de sel or sandwiched around a sweet almond butter buttercream (or both!)

finished with a kiss of fleur de sel (aka fancy-ass french sea salt – you can find it at specialty stores, or even at trader joe’s), these cookies have that perfect rich & sweet & salty thing going on.  almond butter shortbread cookies | via plays well with butter | a flaky & tender almond butter shortbread that is delicious enough to be enjoyed on their own, but also subtle & versatile enough to be finished with either a dunk of dark chocolate & sprinkle of fleur de sel or sandwiched around a sweet almond butter buttercream (or both!) almond butter shortbread cookies | via plays well with butter | a flaky & tender almond butter shortbread that is delicious enough to be enjoyed on their own, but also subtle & versatile enough to be finished with either a dunk of dark chocolate & sprinkle of fleur de sel or sandwiched around a sweet almond butter buttercream (or both!) almond butter shortbread cookies | via plays well with butter | a flaky & tender almond butter shortbread that is delicious enough to be enjoyed on their own, but also subtle & versatile enough to be finished with either a dunk of dark chocolate & sprinkle of fleur de sel or sandwiched around a sweet almond butter buttercream (or both!)

orrrrrr, take your almond butter shortbread cookies to the next level by sandwiching them around almond butter buttercream. almond butter shortbread cookies | via plays well with butter | a flaky & tender almond butter shortbread that is delicious enough to be enjoyed on their own, but also subtle & versatile enough to be finished with either a dunk of dark chocolate & sprinkle of fleur de sel or sandwiched around a sweet almond butter buttercream (or both!)

for almond butter shortbread sandwich cookies with almond butter buttercream you’ll again, bake the shortbread per the recipe below, allow the cookies to cool, & pipe almond butter buttercream on half of them, sandwiching them together for a the cutest little cookie.almond butter shortbread cookies | via plays well with butter | a flaky & tender almond butter shortbread that is delicious enough to be enjoyed on their own, but also subtle & versatile enough to be finished with either a dunk of dark chocolate & sprinkle of fleur de sel or sandwiched around a sweet almond butter buttercream (or both!) almond butter shortbread cookies | via plays well with butter | a flaky & tender almond butter shortbread that is delicious enough to be enjoyed on their own, but also subtle & versatile enough to be finished with either a dunk of dark chocolate & sprinkle of fleur de sel or sandwiched around a sweet almond butter buttercream (or both!)

can you say nut butter perfection??

& because it’s the holidays, aka the time of year when it is most acceptable to be little (erhm, or a lot) over-the-top, you should totally dunk these sandwich cookies in the same dark chocolate & finish them with a sprinkle of fleur de sel.  almond butter shortbread cookies | via plays well with butter | a flaky & tender almond butter shortbread that is delicious enough to be enjoyed on their own, but also subtle & versatile enough to be finished with either a dunk of dark chocolate & sprinkle of fleur de sel or sandwiched around a sweet almond butter buttercream (or both!) almond butter shortbread cookies | via plays well with butter | a flaky & tender almond butter shortbread that is delicious enough to be enjoyed on their own, but also subtle & versatile enough to be finished with either a dunk of dark chocolate & sprinkle of fleur de sel or sandwiched around a sweet almond butter buttercream (or both!)

ermahgerd you won’t even be able to handle it.  almond butter shortbread cookies | via plays well with butter | a flaky & tender almond butter shortbread that is delicious enough to be enjoyed on their own, but also subtle & versatile enough to be finished with either a dunk of dark chocolate & sprinkle of fleur de sel or sandwiched around a sweet almond butter buttercream (or both!)

these sandwich cookies will make you want to sing, dance, share with your friends on all of your holiday cookie plates, &, of course, devour in big ol’ bites.  almond butter shortbread cookies | via plays well with butter | a flaky & tender almond butter shortbread that is delicious enough to be enjoyed on their own, but also subtle & versatile enough to be finished with either a dunk of dark chocolate & sprinkle of fleur de sel or sandwiched around a sweet almond butter buttercream (or both!)

& they may even make you giggle.

almond butter shortbread cookies | via plays well with butter | a flaky & tender almond butter shortbread that is delicious enough to be enjoyed on their own, but also subtle & versatile enough to be finished with either a dunk of dark chocolate & sprinkle of fleur de sel or sandwiched around a sweet almond butter buttercream (or both!)

& because it is that wonderful holiday cookie plate time of year, & because i have a tribe of bad-ass blogging friends who i’m a little bit obsessed with, i’m SO excited to be also sharing with you six of their amazing holiday cookie creations today.  check out their cookies below the recipe card below, & get ready to drool.  

seriously.  you’ve been warned.  

almond butter shortbread cookies (2 ways!)
Yields 30
a flaky & tender almond butter shortbread that is delicious enough to be enjoyed on their own, but also subtle & versatile enough to be finished with either a dunk of dark chocolate & sprinkle of fleur de sel or sandwiched around a sweet almond butter buttercream (or both!)
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
1 hr
(recipe below yields 24-30 shortbread cookies, or 12-15 shortbread sandwiches)
for the almond butter shortbread
  1. 3/4 stick (6 tbsp) butter, softened to room temperature
  2. 1/3 c + 1 tbsp almond butter
  3. 1/2 c + 1 tbsp sugar
  4. 1 tsp vanilla
  5. pinch of kosher salt
  6. 2 1/4 c all-purpose flour
for the almond butter buttercream for shortbread sandwich cookies (optional)
  1. 1/3 c almond butter
  2. 1/4 c butter
  3. 1 tsp vanilla
  4. 1 c powdered sugar
  5. 1/2 tsp kosher salt
for a chocolate dip (optional)
  1. 1/2 c dark chocolate melting wafers or chips
  2. 1/2 tsp coconut oil
  3. pinch of kosher salt
  4. fleur de sel, for sprinkling (optional, can also use a fine sea salt)
for the shortbread dough
  1. in the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the almond butter & butter on medium for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. the two butters should come together & get light & airy.
  2. add sugar, vanilla, & pinch of salt to the bowl & cream together for another 2-3 minutes, until fully combined & light & airy.
  3. in 3 batches, add flour & mix until just combined.
  4. form the dough into a ball onto a lightly floured countertop & use your hands to gently roll it into a log shape. the dough may be a little crumbly (this is a great thing - it means your shortbread will have that tender & delicate texture you're looking for!), so don't be afraid to press the dough together as needed.
  5. transfer shortbread log into a zip top bag & place in the freezer for 10 minutes to allow it to firm up.
bake the shortbread
  1. preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
  2. after dough has rested in the freezer for about ten minutes, remove from freezer & slice into 1/4-inch to 1/3-inch slices. 1/3-inch slices are great if you plan to eat the cookies on their own & the 1/4-inch slices are great for shortbread sandwich cookies. whichever way you go, just be sure to take your time & get consistent slices to ensure even baking time.
  3. place shortbreads on a parchment-lined baking sheet & bake for 17-20 minutes, or until the shortbread just begin to turn golden brown. (if your oven has hot spots, you can facilitate even baking by rotating your pans halfway through).
make the almond butter buttercream (optional, only if you're planning to make sandwich cookies!)
  1. in the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the almond butter & butter on medium-high for 5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. the two butters should come together & get very light & airy.
  2. add vanilla & salt to the bowl & cream together for another minute, until fully combined.
  3. in 3 batches, add sugar & mix until just combined.
  4. transfer into a piping bag with a round tip.
melt the dark chocolate (optional, only if you're planning to make chocolate-dipped cookies!)
  1. heat the dark chocolate & coconut oil in the microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring between each interval, until chocolate is glossy & melted. set aside
after cookies cool, assemble your shortbread
chocolate-dipped almond butter shortbread with fleur de sel
  1. dip cookies into dark chocolate & sprinkle chocolate with a pinch of fleur de sel. set chocolate-dipped cookie down on a wire rack or a wax paper-lined baking sheet to allow chocolate to harden.
almond butter shortbread cookies with almond butter buttercream
  1. arrange cookies on a baking sheet so they are near a cookie with a similar shape & size, which will help make sandwich cookies that are consistent & easy to eat.
  2. pipe about 1 tbsp of buttercream onto the bottom of one cookie, & press the bottom of another cookie down onto the almond butter to form a sandwich.
  3. optional, but encouraged, dip your almond butter shortbread sandwiches in dark chocolate & sprinkle with fleur de sel (per the steps above). if you go this route (you totally should), you may wish to pop your shortbread sandwiches in the freezer for 5 minutes prior to dipping them in to allow the buttercream to firm up a bit so it doesn't melt into the dark chocolate.
plays well with butter http://playswellwithbutter.com/
almond butter shortbread cookies | via plays well with butter | a flaky & tender almond butter shortbread that is delicious enough to be enjoyed on their own, but also subtle & versatile enough to be finished with either a dunk of dark chocolate & sprinkle of fleur de sel or sandwiched around a sweet almond butter buttercream (or both!)

almond butter shortbread cookies | via plays well with butter | a flaky & tender almond butter shortbread that is delicious enough to be enjoyed on their own, but also subtle & versatile enough to be finished with either a dunk of dark chocolate & sprinkle of fleur de sel or sandwiched around a sweet almond butter buttercream (or both!) almond butter shortbread cookies | via plays well with butter | a flaky & tender almond butter shortbread that is delicious enough to be enjoyed on their own, but also subtle & versatile enough to be finished with either a dunk of dark chocolate & sprinkle of fleur de sel or sandwiched around a sweet almond butter buttercream (or both!)

almond butter shortbread cookies | via plays well with butter | a flaky & tender almond butter shortbread that is delicious enough to be enjoyed on their own, but also subtle & versatile enough to be finished with either a dunk of dark chocolate & sprinkle of fleur de sel or sandwiched around a sweet almond butter buttercream (or both!)
almond butter shortbread cookies | via plays well with butter | a flaky & tender almond butter shortbread that is delicious enough to be enjoyed on their own, but also subtle & versatile enough to be finished with either a dunk of dark chocolate & sprinkle of fleur de sel or sandwiched around a sweet almond butter buttercream (or both!)

afraid you’ll miss a recipe or entertaining idea?  be sure to follow along with plays well with butter on bloglovin, & for daily foodie musings & tips, follow along with @playswellwithbutter on instagram & facebook!

bonus, as promised: six other drool-worthy cookies that totally need to make their way onto your cookie plate this holiday season:

how cute are these vegan peanut butter blossom cookies from my friend kaila at healthy helper?  your vegan friends will go nuts for them.  vegan peanut butter blossom cookies & 6 more holiday cookies for your holiday cookie platter | via plays well with butter

i DIE for these sweet & spicy peanut butter buds from my friend ellie at hungry by nature!sweet & spicy peanut butter buds & 6 more holiday cookies for your holiday cookie platter | via plays well with butter

& my friend kara at byte sized nutrition KILLED IT with these bailey’s chocolate chip cookies.  because cookies.  & bailey’s….bailey's chocolate chip cookies & 6 more holiday cookies for your holiday cookie platter | via plays well with butter

& actually drooling over these dark chocolate drizzled snickerdoodles from my friend ellen at my uncommon everyday.dark chocolate drizzled snickerdoodle cookies & 6 more holiday cookies for your holiday cookie platter | via plays well with butter

allie from miss allie’s kitchen updated thumbprint cookies with superfoods with her superfood thumbprint overnight cookies.  has superfoods, so is healthy, right??superfood-overnight-thumbprint-cookies-2

chocolate kissed gingerbread cookies from the sweetest blogger gal i know, emily, at beauty in christ.  because the only thing better than gingerbread is when it’s kissed with chocolate…chocolate kisssed gingerbread cookies & 6 more holiday cookies for your holiday cookie platter | via plays well with butter

so, i’m obviously dying to know:  what foods make you giggle?  are you a food giggler, or a food singer, or a food dancer, or a close-your-eyes-&-savor kind of person?  what’s on your holiday baking list this year??  do you have any go-to recipes that you make time & time again for the holidays?  let me know in the comments below.  i’d LOVE to chat!

About jess

i help modern gals turn everyday moments into celebrations with recipes that are just as easy as they are elegant.

24 Comments

  1. Your pictures are seriously stunning, girl!! And I looooove the sprinkle of sea salt on top!!! So yummy. These look incredible.

  2. These are so pretty, Jess! I love that you made them into sandwich cookies – two cookies is better than one 😉

  3. First of all, hubba hubba to these bad boys! I need to make these ASAP and am obviously going or the sandwich + chocolate dipped option + sea salt, obviously. And second, your photography is STUNNING. Seriously, so so good. Send me all your tips and tricks 😉

    • ellie, you’re going to love them. i’m secretly thrilled you’ll be going the sandwich + buttercream + chocolate + salt route…it’s the best! let me know how it goes!!

  4. These are just perfection! I could eat 1000000 of these! You killed it, as always!

  5. These are super cute! I absolutely love how creative this cookie is and that you used almond butter. A plus!!!

  6. Giggling so hard right now over your food giggles. And simultaneously drooling over these cookies.. in public. There is definitely some hardcore judging taking place by onlookers but IDONTCARE. I literally want to hop on a plane right now to Minnesota so that you can make me these cookies (because I know mine would never turn out as beautiful or amazing) and giggle for hours while eating the whole batch. Sound like a plan? Oh and I’m with Ellie – teach me your food photography skillzzzz!

    • well this is awkward because now i’m giggling about you giggling about me giggling about these cookies! 🙂 #screwthejudgers! also, my doors are open for you sweet friend!!

  7. I love shortbread, and these ones look amazing! Your pictures are so stunning and inspiring!

  8. Totally pinning this! Will be a winner for the holiday season!

  9. Okay now these sounds INSANE!!! Ill take 12….dozen!!!

  10. These look incredible!! What a cookie showstopper!

  11. can’t wait to try your stuff!

  12. Do you know if anyone has tried making these gluten free? They look soooo good!

    • hi lynne! i unfortunately have not tried to adapt these into a gf recipe. i would assume that you could swap out with a gf flour blend that subs with ap flour at 1:1, but haven’t tried myself. let me know if you do try – i bet they’d be lovely!! xx

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