Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website.
Vegan Shortbread Cookies inspired by the nourishing Indian drink, Golden Milk or Haldi Doodh. All you need is a few basic ingredients and 15 minutes to prep.
These Vegan Golden Milk Shortbread Cookies are infused with vibrant, warming spices, buttery flavor, and complete with a delicate, crumbly texture that melts in your mouth. Enjoy alongside a warm mug of coffee, tea, or a turmeric latte during Christmas time (or any occasion that could benefit from a warm, buttery cookie)!
Table of Contents
Vegan Shortbread Cookies Inspired by Haldi Doodh
As much as I love indulging in classics like Vegan Snickerdoodles and Wholesome Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal Cookies during the holiday season, I love creating cookies that are inspired by some of my favorite beverages and flavor combinations even more. And after creating the perfect Hot Cocoa Cookies and Vegan Chai Sugar Cookies, I was so excited to finally put a fun twist on the classic holiday shortbread cookie.
These delicious cookies are not only entirely vegan-friendly, but inspired by one of my favorite drinks – golden milk, or more traditionally known as Haldi Doodh! This Indian beverage is packed with cozy warming spices, a flavor profile I’ve now translated into a delicious, melt-in-your-mouth holiday cookie.
If you’re a fellow golden milk lover, these buttery cookies are a must make asap!
What You Need for Vegan Golden Milk Shortbread Cookies
A simple shortbread cookie is one of the best holiday cookies to bake because they require just a few key ingredients. Even these Haldi Doodh-inspired cookies only require 11 simple ingredients! Here’s the rundown:
- Unsalted vegan butter: Please only use unsalted, dairy-free butter from brands Violife, Country Crock, or Earth Balance. Different brands of vegan butter may spread more/less in the oven and affect the final texture of these shortbread cookies. Softened coconut oil is not recommended.
- Powdered sugar: Traditional shortbread cookies are typically made with powdered sugar (also known as icing sugar) instead of cane sugar – this gives the cookie that classic, must-have melt-in-your-mouth texture.
- Flour: You’ll need classic, all-purpose flour. For the best, most accurate results, measure your flour using a baking scale.
- Spices: A blend of vanilla extract, ground turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and black pepper are key to achieving the golden color and aromatic essence of the traditional golden milk beverage.
- Plant-based milk: Used to thin the cardamom glaze into the perfect consistency for drizzling. For the best neutral flavor, I recommend an unsweetened, plain milk.
- Toasted coconut: Adds a distinct, nutty flavor and texture to the cookies that enhances the overall taste. To make, add unsweetened coconut flakes to a pan over medium heat and toast until golden, stirring frequently. I prefer the flavor of toasted coconut, but you can also use regular shredded coconut as well.
How to Make Vegan Golden Milk Shortbread Cookies
- In a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer, cream the shortbread cookie dough ingredients together.
- Knead the cookie dough into a flattened disk, then wrap and chill for at least an hour.
- Roll out the cookie dough until about 1/4″ thick, then cut using a cookie cutter to form cookies.
- Transfer to the parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through.
- While the cookies cool on a wire rack, make the cardamom glaze.
- Drizzle the cooled shortbread cookies with icing, then sprinkle with toasted coconut.
- Rest the decorated cookies until the icing sets, then enjoy!
Caitlin’s Cooking Tips
- Soften the butter 1-2 hours in advance. As with most of my vegan cookie recipes, these buttery shortbread cookies call for room temperature butter. For best results, the butter should be softened, yet still in solid form. Depending on the internal temperature of your home, this typically takes 1-2 hours, but watch carefully to ensure the butter does not become too soft.
- Make sure the dough is smooth before rolling it out. The dough should look completely smooth when you roll it out – if you see any cracks, knead the dough a tiny bit to help develop the gluten. Otherwise, these cracks will show up in the final baked cookies.
- Invest in a bench knife. If you use cookie cutters often, I highly recommend investing in a bench knife. It makes lifting and transferring any cut out cookie to a baking sheet much easier!
The unique Indian influence in these simple shortbread cookies makes them the perfect accompaniment for warm beverages such as chai, haldi doodh, or a cozy mug of your favorite coffee or tea. You also can’t go wrong serving with a tall glass of chilled Nut Milk, or a generous scoop of vegan vanilla ice cream.
If you’re looking for more recipes inspired by Haldi Doodh, you’ll also love these Sugar-Free Golden Milk Energy Bites, Golden Milk Chia Seed Pudding, Golden Milk Mango, or these Baked Golden Mylk Donuts!
How to Store Vegan Golden Milk Shortbread Cookies
Once firm, leftover shortbread cookies will keep best in an airtight container at room temperature. If left in a cool, dry area, the cookies should keep for about 5 days.
Baked cookies will also keep well for up to 1 month in the freezer (with or without icing). Thaw frozen shortbread cookies overnight at room temperature before serving.
The easiest and best replacement for dairy butter in shortbread cookies is vegan butter. Dairy-free butter sticks are designed to mimic the taste and texture of dairy butter, yet are made entirely from plant-based ingredients. It’s the perfect 1:1 swap in baking!
I have only tested these turmeric shortbread cookies using gluten-full all-purpose flour and unfortunately can’t guarantee that a gluten-free flour blend would work. Instead, I’d recommend baking one of my other tested gluten-free cookie recipes: Hot Cocoa Cookies, Ultimate Vegan Chocolate Cookies, or these Vegan Chai Sugar Cookies.
While both buttery and delicious, butter cookies and shortbread cookies are in fact two separate cookies! Butter cookies tend to be lighter and crisper thanks to the higher amount of added sugar. Classic shortbread cookies, on the other hand, contain less sugar, and are known for their rich, crumbly texture that melts in your mouth!
Chilling the dough before baking is required. Skipping this step will not only make it difficult to roll out the dough without sticking, but will cause the cookies to overspread.
The best shortbread cookies should always be tender and melt in your mouth, but have a light bite to them. It’s not uncommon for shortbread cookies to crumble slightly once bitten, but they should not be crunchy!
Enjoy! If you make this recipe and decide to share it on Facebook or Instagram, don’t forget to tag me @FromMyBowl + #FromMyBowl! I would also love it if you could leave a comment below with a recipe rating! Thank you for the support 😊
Golden Milk Shortbread Cookies (Haldi Doodh)
For the Shortbread:
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature (I used dairy-free)
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt use 1/4 tsp for salted butter
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour spooned and leveled
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Cream the Butter: Add the softened butter to a large bowl and beat with a hand mixer on low speed until light and smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. You can also use a stand mixer.
- Form the Dough: Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt to the bowl. Beat again until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the flour, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and black pepper. Beat one final time on low speed, until there is no more dry flour and the spices are evenly incorporated. The dough should look crumbly, but will stick together when pinched.
- Knead & Chill: Use your hands to press the dough together, then knead it a few times to form a ball. Flatten the ball into a disc, cover in plastic wrap, and chill in the fridge for at least an hour, or up to overnight.
- Oven Prep: Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a large baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper and set aside.
- Form the Cookies: Generously dust a cutting board and rolling pin with flour. Unwrap the dough and place on the cutting board; if the dough does not look completely smooth, knead it a few times to help the gluten develop some. Roll the dough out until it is around 1/4” thick, then use a cookie cutter to form cookies. Transfer each cookie to the baking sheet (a bench knife makes this easy!), leaving about 1/2” of space between each cookie.
- Repeat: Knead the remaining dough back together and repeat step 5 until there is no remaining cookie dough. Dust your cutting board with more flour if things start to stick.
- Bake: Bake in the middle rack of the oven for 5 minutes, then rotate the baking tray (to help the cookies cook more evenly) and bake for an additional 5 minutes.
- Cool: Remove from the oven and let sit on the baking tray for 10 minutes to set. Use a spatula to transfer the cookies to a wire rack and let them cool completely.
- Make the Icing: Add the powdered sugar to a small bowl along with the cardamom and 1 tablespoon (3 teaspoons) of milk. Whisk well to form a smooth frosting. The frosting should be easy to drizzle, so add additional liquid in 1 teaspoon increments until it reaches your desired consistency.
- Decorate: Drizzle or spoon the icing over the cookies; I would not recommend dunking them, as they are delicate and may break. Sprinkle the toasted coconut over the wet icing and return to the wire rack.
- Serve & Store: Let the cookies rest until the icing sets and is firm, which can take up to 1 hour. Once firm, store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
- Toasted Coconut: Add unsweetened coconut flakes to a pan over medium heat and toast until golden, stirring frequently. I prefer the flavor of toasted coconut, but you can also use regular shredded coconut as well!
- Vegan Butter: Different vegan butters spread more/less in the oven and will affect the final texture of these shortbread cookies. I would recommend Violife, Country Crock, and Earth Balance brands.