These AIP Speculaas/speculoos are the most delicious light and crispy spiced biscoff shortbread cookies that are perfect for the holiday season. They’re AIP, paleo, vegan and coconut-free.
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These AIP Speculaas/speculoos are one of my favorite holiday cookies. They’re perfectly crispy and buttery tasting without the dairy, wonderfully spiced with ginger, cinnamon, vanilla and cloves and have the most subtle hint of bright citrus from the lemon zest. They’re AIP, paleo, vegan and coconut free and they make perfect holiday gifts because they keep well on the counter in a sealed container for up to 3 weeks.
I’m so excited to bring you this recipe in collaboration with the lovely Michelle from Unbound Wellness! We wanted to do something fun for the holidays and put our heads together. I created these AIP speculaas and she an amazing cookie butter that uses these cookies as the base of the batter. Drool! Have you ever had cookie butter? If not, now’s your chance. Everything Michelle makes is fantastic – you won’t regret it!
Here’s what you’ll need for these AIP Speculaas:
- palm shortening – for the classic buttery flavor and texture of speculaas/speculoos, without the dairy. This is a dairy-free, coconut-free fat alternative for folks who cannot tolerate coconut
- maple syrup – the unrefined sweetener
- lemon zest – for a subtle, delicious pop of citrus
- vanilla extract – ensure it’s pure vanilla without any “natural” flavors
- cassava flour – grain-free, gluten-free flour
- cinnamon, cloves & powdered ginger – the ultimate AIP-approved spice mix that adds the perfect amount of spice, flavor and warmth
FAQs for AIP Speculaas
How do I store these?
These keep really well in a sealed jar/container on the counter for up to 3 weeks. They’re perfect for gifting!
What can I use to imprint my cookies?
Some speculaas are made using cookie molds. In lieu of that you can imprint your cookies using a cookie stamp or embossed rolling pin. Don’t have one? Try imprinting your cookies with the side of a grater, a gnocchi board or even a fork. You can also skip this step altogether – they’re just as tasty!
Can I replace the palm shortening?
I haven’t had luck replacing the palm shortening with another ingredient in this recipe.
If you loved these AIP Speculaas I would appreciate it so much if you would give the recipe a star rating and short review. Also, be sure to snap a picture of the finished product and share it with me on Instagram by tagging @healmedelicious and using the hashtag #healmedelicious.
Looking for more gluten-free, dairy-free, AIP/paleo holiday Cookies? Try:
- AIP Linzer Cookies
- AIP Gingersnaps
- ‘Chocolate’ Plantain Chip Cookies
- Paleo Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
- Grain-free AIP/Paleo Thumbprint Cookies
- AIP/Paleo Cutout Christmas Sugar Cookies
- AIP/Paleo Holiday Cookie Roundup
grain-free, AIP/paleo spiced shortbread cookies (DF, GF, vegan, coconut-free Speculaas)
- Total Time: 38 minutes
- Yield: 18 – 20 cookies 1x
These AIP Speculaas/speculoos are the most delicious light and crispy spiced shortbread cookies that are perfect for the holiday season. They’re AIP, paleo, vegan and coconut-free.
- 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp palm shortening
- 3 TBSP maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp lemon zest, finely grated
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp cassava flour
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 TBSP cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp powdered ginger
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Add palm shortening, maple syrup, lemon zest and vanilla extract to a stand or hand held mixer and mix until combined.
- In a large bowl add cassava flour, baking soda, sea salt, cinnamon, cloves and ginger and mix until combined.
- Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add in palm shortening mixture. Use a fork and then your hands to combine ingredients into a ball of dough.
- Remove dough from bowl and place between two pieces of parchment paper.
- Use a rolling pin to roll out dough to a rectangle 1/4 inch in thickness
- Refrigerate rolled out dough for 7 mins.
- If desired, use a cookie stamp or embossed rolling pin to imprint the surface of the cookie dough or skip this step!
- Use a pastry knife, pizza wheel or large knife to cut the dough on the parchment paper into evenly-sized rectangles. Dough will be fragile so there’s no need to move the cookies around/space them out on the parchment paper as they don’t spread while baking.
- Carefully transfer parchment paper with cookies to a large baking sheet.
- Bake in middle rack of oven for 12- 13 minutes.
- Once the cookies are out of the oven, allow them to cool completely before handling or they will break.*
* These cookies will be incredibly fragile once out the oven and still hot. I do not suggest moving them off the cookie sheet until they have cooled completely.
- Prep Time: 25 minutes
- Cook Time: 13 minutes
- Category: Cookies
Keywords: aip, paleo, coconut-free, dairy-free, cookies, holiday cookies, speculaas, speculoos
These are SO yummy. Thank you!
These turned out delicious and were such a nice reminder of wonderful time spent in Europe! I’ve done several stages of reintros on the AIP, so I added some cardamom, anise and nutmeg, which really captured that authentic flavor I remembered. Im sure they’re delicious as-is, though too!
Heal Me Delicious Team
Those are great reintros, so glad you liked them. Thank you for leaving your review!
Hi Nicole, How necessary is the lemon zest here? I don’t have organic lemons now and want to make these. I know in some recipes they are just not the same without the lemon juice or zest and then in others it’s just an enhancer but the recipe is not reliant upon it . Can I get your opinion here on this because I’ve made tons of your recipes and you have never steered me wrong! We are making our family favorite – your delicious sweet potato beef ‘buns’ again this weekend. Thank you in advance!
Heal Me Delicious Team
Hi Holly, the lemon zest in this recipe is a flavor enhancer. You can also try orange zest if you can get your hands on some.
Nicole, I had to report back – these cookies are BETTER than the delicious crunchy wheat based Speculos cookies I used to get on airplanes when I was a kid. Better tasting and much better for me!
I used orange zest because that’s what I had but you really couldn’t taste it. All I could taste was a deliciously sweet, crunchy cookie that is perfectly spiced. Thank you! Your recipes never let me down and I always appreciate the fact that you try to answer your followers questions 💞 Happy Holidays!
Heal Me Delicious Team
We’re so glad you liked them!! Thank you so much for your review and support. Happy Holidays!
Made them as recipe called for… SOOOO good. Exactly what I needed on my AIP journey.
This looks interesting!
These cookies are so delicious that I couldn’t stop eating them 😋. They are light, airy, and melts in my mouth. I substituted coconut oil for palm shortening.and added some nutmeg. I was too lazy to zest the lemon so rather I used lemon extract. They didn’t yield many cookies so next time I’ll double the batch. These are also perfect with my ginger spice tea. I can’t wait to make them again soon.
Rachel Violet Scott
Can I use coconut flour instead of cassava?
Hi Rachel, unfortunately that won’t work in this recipe!
Oh my gosh these are so delicious! I didn’t have palm shortening so I used coconut oil and they came out great.
I made these last night and we are enjoying them. Thank you! I didn’t have palm shortening so u used palm oil and used less than 1/4c like someone else mentioned. Tonight I foundd that toasting them in the toaster oven for a few minutes and then letting them cool a bit makes them even crunchier!
Just made these for the first time. The recipe was simple and easy to follow, plus the ingredients are all very accessible! The cookies themselves have the most wonderful texture – nice and buttery and crumbly, just like real speculoos. I think I rolled mine just a bit too thin, but that just means I’ll have to make them again soon to get it just right. I am so thankful for this site and your recipes!
Thanks for sharing! Do they keep long?
Yes! I give storage tips in the post – mine keep for several weeks at room temp once sealed well
This looks so good! What a great way to still enjoy this flavor while sticking to the good stuff!
These were absolutely fantastic! They have a shortbread style crunch and the flavor is wonderful. About to make them for the second time 🙂
Thanks so much Naomi!
Thanks for this recipe, Nicole! ? I just made these cookies today and they are super yummy! We live in a small town in the French Alps, and it was impossible to find palm shortening. I was so desperate to try these (because I adore speculoos and I’ve been on AIP for 2 months now, so I was cookie deficient ?), that I used avocado oil instead. I used just a bit less than 1/4 cup and they turned out crispy and decadent. There’s only one problem with them…… they’re addicting!! ?❤
Hey Betsy! Hehehe these are super addictive! Thanks so much for your review and I’m so happy to hear that you found an innovative substitution. Great to know 🙂
Can I use coconut butter instead of the palm shortening?
Hi Moriah, no this won’t work the same here.
These turned out so great. The perfect snack I have been missing with my coffee in the mornings since giving up grains. Makes the entire house smell amazing. I didn’t have lemon zest so poured in a drop of lemon juice. It was fine! Thank you for sharing this amazing recipe.
Made these yesterday and OMG they are so delicious! They remind me so much of the speculoos cookies I remember eating years ago! They very much remind me of a nicely spiced shortbread cookie! Sooo delicious with my morning coffee! Thank you for all of your yummy recipes!
Wow! These are incredible! I rarely find a gfree cookie that I like. Nice work Nicole! Can you suggest a way to make these without having roll them out? Thank you for such a great recipe. Happy Holidays and God Bless.
Thanks Holly, happy holidays to you as well! I haven’t tried making them another way because I wanted them to be thin and crispy (hence the roll out). My hesitancy with making them bigger (like drop cookies) is that there is nothing in here to bind them so they will likely break apart when cool. You can also check out my AIP gingersnaps https://healmedelicious.com/aip-gingersnaps/ these are my absolute fave and are drop cookies!
We will definitely try those cookies too! Thanks again.
Er, is no one going to mention the entire world moving away from using palm shortening on account of severe environmental destruction?sorry to be a bummer.
Hi Nik, Thanks for your note. I hear you. This is an issue that worries me greatly and though I only use sustainable palm shortening and recommend the brands that are rainforest alliance certified and RSPO certified I fully recognize that certification can only go so far, especially if trees are being cultivated on previously deforested lands. In my effort to create coconut free recipes for so many folks on the AIP who can’t tolerate coconut oil, I and many other AIP bloggers use this product, but will continue to try very hard to be creative and to test out other coconut free fat alternatives whenever possible to minimize the use of p.shortening
Nicole, do you think these would work with vegan butter instead of palm shortening?
Hi Shelley, I haven’t tried myself so not 100% and it would depend on if the butter liquifies during baking? I think it’s worth a shot.
These are so crumbly and delicious. Not too sweet, just the right amount of spices. I can’t believe they are AIP. Seriously one of the best cookies I’ve had in a long time. I will be making again!
So glad you enjoyed. Thanks for taking the time to write a review ?