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Cacao Shortbread Cookies

Active Time: 30 minutes / Cook Time: 15-20 minutes / Total Time: 35-40 minutes

Makes 16 cookies

Nutrition Corner: Cacao
Cacao powder is derived from the seeds of Cacao fruit and is used to make chocolate. While sugar-laden chocolate bars are far from a health food, raw cacao powder is a Mayan superfood! Cacao is rich in magnesium, fiber, and antioxidants. It has been used traditionally for thousands of years, and is at the heart of South American culture.

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  • For the cookies:
    • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened and cut into chunks
    • 1/4 cup coconut palm sugar
    • 2 tablespoons raw honey
    • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
    • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cacao powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • For finishing:
    • ¼ cup no-sugar added chocolate chips (we like Lily brand)
    • ¼ cup chopped toasted pecans* (optional)
    • 1 tablespoon cacao nibs (optional)


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle position. Take out a 9x9 baking dish.
  2. Beat together the butter, sugar, and honey with a hand mixer until they are completely combined and resemble creamy frosting.
  3. Add the almond flour, cacao powder, and salt to the bowl. Mix with a spoon just until all of the flour is incorporated and the mixture comes together into a dough. The dough will seem fairly crumbly, but should hold together when squished in your hand.
  4. Press the dough into the baking dish. Use the bottom of a spoon or your hands to make sure the layer is as compacted as possible and in an even layer.
  5. Prick the dough all over with a fork.
  6. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the edges and top of the shortbread turn goldenbrown and pressing gently in the center with a finger the dough stays somewhat firm. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack and let cool completely.
  7. When the cookies are fully cooled, melt the chocolate: place chocolate chips in a microwave-safe glass measuring cup (or equivalent) (or chocolate melter) and heat in 10 second bursts, stirring after each one, until the chips are almost fully melted. Stir to evenly distribute the heat and finish the melting. Spread the chocolate over the cookies in an even layer and immediately sprinkle with pecans and cacao nibs, if using. When the chocolate has set, separate into 16 individual cookies.
  8. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week, with a layer of parchment between cookies. Cookies can also be frozen.

*To toast nuts and seeds, place them in a dry skillet over medium-low heat and cook, stirring often, until they begin to turn golden and give off a nutty smell. Watch them carefully: nuts go from toasted to charcoal in no time flat!