Apple and Carrot Shortbread Recipe

An apple and carrot-flecked shortbread recipe inspired by a recipe I came across in Good Tempered Food by Tamasin Day-Lewis.

Apple and Carrot Shortbread

I discovered a small pile of cookbooks the other night as I was cleaning out a bedside cabinet. I must have pushed the books behind closed doors, (and conveniently) out of sight, while tidying up the house at some point. There they've been, undisturbed, for many, many months. When they re-emerged, I felt as if I'd come across a brand new pile of books - a little dusty, but aside from that there they were ready to provide me a few hours of reading on a particularly stormy afternoon. I tagged a few things to try, but one recipe in particular jumped out at me, the Apple and Carrot Shortbread from Good Tempered Food by Tamasin Day-Lewis.

Apple Carrot Shortbread

It's not as if we need another shortbread recipe highlighted on this site - there's already this one and that one. But this promised to be a shortbread of a different breed - this one was buttery, sweet, and flecked with shredded apples and carrots. Even better - I had nearly everything on hand to make them.

Apple Carrot Shortbread

I switched things up a bit from the original recipe, opting for a slightly more rustic version. For the sweetener, I thought a light Muscavado brown sugar would be nice alongside the apples - in place of white sugar. And I used a powdery-soft whole wheat pastry flour in place of unbleached all-purpose. And because I couldn't help myself, I tossed in some lemon zest for a bit of brightness.

Apple Carrot Shortbread

For those of you who are more particular about your shortbread, I should mention, these cookies don't have quite as much snap as a shortbread made without moist, shredded apples and carrots in the dough, but they are charming (and delicious) all the same. I had a couple alongside a cup of one of my favorite white teas - and I have to say, it was not a bad way to spend a few moments looking out our big windows at the trees whipping around in the wind outside.

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Apple and Carrot Shortbread Recipe

You're going to want to use metal (or sharp-edged) cookie cutters here, it will help cut through the shreds of apple/carrot more easily. If you can't track down whole wheat pastry flour, substitute unbleached all-purpose flour, or I suspect white whole wheat flour work just fine as well.

1/4 cup / 2 ounces / 50g semolina flour
1 1/2 cups / 6 ounces whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
5 ounces (150g) unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup / 3 1/2 ounces (100g) light Muscovado sugar (or brown sugar)
2 ounces (50g) carrot, grated (about 1/4 cup)
1 ounce (25g) apple, grated (about 1/6 of a med. apple)
zest of one lemon

Preheat your oven to 350F degrees, or 180C. Sift the semolina, flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl, and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Stir the carrot, apple, and lemon zest into the flour mixture, and mix until well coated and evenly dispersed. Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture until a dough forms, then knead a couple times to bring everything together. Split the dough in two, flatten each piece into an inch-thick patty, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least thirty minutes.

When you're ready to bake the shortbread, roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface 1/2-inch thick/1cm. Use a metal cutters to stamp out cookies, then place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush lightly with a bit of milk and bake for about 10 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies start to brown just a bit.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

This recipe was adapted from Good Tempered Food: by Tamasin Day-Lewis. Published by Miramax (October 2004).

Prep time: 10 minutes - Cook time: 60 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Good, but not fabulous. Enjoyed the Swedish rye cookies much more. So, unfortunately, did the dog, so I have to make another batch tomorrow.


Omg these look amazing! I am doing them for christmas dinner this year! Yummy!


I just made these cookies with a few changes and they came out delicious. Husband doesn't like carrots so i just used all apple instead. Also, preemptively squeezed out the apple and the dough was very easy to work with. Great recipe!


i love shortbread!! and those look so good. what a great fall recipe!


i adore your creativity here (and elsewhere) on your site. wonderful!


Far be it from me to tamper with perfection, but these delicious cookies are screaming for a little maple icing or glaze to cap them off. It's important for me to add calories wherever possilbe. ;-)

tom | tall clover farm

Thank, thank you for grams, Celsius, etc. You have fans worldwide that appreciate these minor notes that make cooking so much faster! (for me- in Latvia) The cookies were good, but mine crumbled easily. Must be because I used Cream of Wheat for semolina flour and whole wheat flour instead of pastry flour.


What a great twist on shortbread. They sound delicious :)


Fantastico blog ... great recipes .. congratulations. I invite you to visit my last job ... Tiago Lopes

Tiago Lopes

Heidi, I followed this recipe to the letter and I must say that they are not quite shortbread. They also took a bit more than 10 minutes to get golden at the edges. At my house, the hungry taste testers agree that they are nummy cookies but you're right, they are not "shortbread" tasting enough. They're a pretty little cookie and I made them for All Saint's Day church bake sale in the shape of angels. I thought it fitting. Thank you for a lovely autumn flavored cookie.


I tried these and they were super yummy! I actually didn't even have any apples to use, so I used some extra carrots and a little bit of extra brown sugar and they were great.

Rachel Keele

Mmmh! By the picture itself it invite you; eat me! Thank you for adding new recipe in cookbook.


To Diane Proctor: Light Muscovado sugar is light brown sugar- sometimes called golden brown sugar. FüsunA


Does anyone know what the British equivalent of whole wheat pastry flour would be? I have seen flour called "Whole wheat" and "wholemeal flour for bread" but none marked specifically "pastry." I know these flours can differ, even from one field of wheat to the next, but any ideas how to match most closely? Many thanks.


I didn't have the flours listed in the recipe so I substituted with white flour and little bit of whole wheat and just grated in a handful of the carrot and apple. Delicious.


loved this! we made it with purple carrots!


I can only imagine what your house looks like. Cookbooks and magazines popping out from every corner, warm and delicious smells wafting out of the kitchen...For some of us, this is Mecca. I love this recipe. It's so charming and wholesome. Those carrots looks so dainty baked inside those sweet little rounds...


these were exceptional.

dredlock's cooking

Ooh what a great combination... and your photos of the bowls are sooo pretty :)


Great recipe--I love shortbread! This is also an excellent way to sneak fruits and veggies into your child's diet.

Hot Blonde in the Kitchen

What a sweet way to get some more fruits and veggies into my picky little ones! Thanks for sharing :0)


Heidi, this recipe inspired me to make something 'puppy friendly' to celebrate my Snoop Wally Dogg's 14th birthday. I used corn flour in place of semolina, canola oil for sweet butter and stevia in place of sugar...I don't measure very often so I am not sure how much carrot and Granny Smith apple I added but I can tell you this...I ate more of them than all four dogs put together which was NOT my intention. DELICIOUS!!! I had planned to incorporate chopped walnuts at the last minute but forgot and will do that next time. B.T.W. the pups LOVED them too. Dog treats are a whole area of expertise that we need to cover to get people to stop poisoning their wards with processed foods and cheap Chinese-produced pet products. It is a travesty!!!


Another apple recipe that I have learned these few days. New things are always exciting. For example, I have learned a Chinese style stir fried soybean sprouts recipe that involves apple. Before I cooked it, I had thought that apple, a fruit, cannot be stir fried. But now, me belief has been challenged. I like this apple shortbread recipe. I guess the refrigeration step cannot be missed, right? What's the role that this step plays then? I am looking to using white sugar instead of brown sugar. I believe it would be crystal in another way. Thanks.


I tried these cookies last night thinking they were sure to be exciting, but I have to say, they came out kind of...flat. To be fair though, I did alter things a little. Like Theanda said above, I followed the same recipe except using all purpose flour because it's what I had on hand, and had a sort of wet goo that I could never have rolled out to cut. I decided to add a bit more flour to solidify it a bit, and ended up almost doubling the amount of flour. This is probably why they weren't so flavorful. I'm thinking the moisture wouldn't have been as much of an issue if I had squeezed the carrots and apples out before adding them in. Oh well, I've been experimenting with dipping them in chocolate and caramel and icings to give them a bit of flavor. HS: Hmm. Now I'm wondering what is going on w/ all that moisture? My dough wasn't goopy at all. From memory I'd say I used the equivalent of 1/6th of a medium apple (grated), and then oh, about 1/4 cup of grated carrot. I weighed all the ingredients, so I'm not 100% sure, but that should be about right. Let me go remeasure the flour, to make sure that is a correct conversion to cups. Ok, so I think everything is a-ok as far as the recipe goes - I just reweighed the flours....Anyone else have any ideas as to what could be going on here? My guess is you might have used too many carrots/apples? I'd love to get to the bottom of it. I'm just hoping that I'm not overlooking something obvious!


Your comments are closed on the acorn squash with corn pudding recipe! So I have to post here. WE LOVED IT! Used shallot because had no scallion, 2 eggs, and I could not find my fennel in my crazy little kitchen so I used some Mexican Tarragon from my garden, which has a bit of an anise-ey taste. My only issue--the squash had to cook SO long! We ate the ramekin full with leftover baked butternut squash, and the stuffed acorn squash has to wait for tomorrow :) I had a slice when it was done and YUM. I think I'll be doing it again, and just extra roast the squash before filling. Really beautiful stuff, as always. I'm really wanting to make that garlic soup....


Just made this recipe.. Only made 18 2.25 cookies. If you use whole wheat flour, it is hard to tell when edges are brown, baked them longer than 10 minutes as suggested by recipe. The cookies were sort of tasteless. I am an experienced baker and these cookies are not worth the work or extra work of grating the carrots and apple.


Apple and Carrot cookies!!! Sounds like a perfect sweet treat.


This shortbread recipe sounds gorgeous - I've never heard of these flavours in a cookie before but they sure look good. And I happily have the book they are from - going on the to-bake list!


Would it be possible to make a gluten-free version? What kind of flour would be a possible substitute for the wheat flour? I could try making oat flour from quick-cooking oats, and using a little cornstarch with that, maybe?? I will see if I can also sub agave sweetner. Oh, boy! This is going to be an adventure ;->


OH, found ckbks. what a treat!! I occasionally pull one or two out of my 300+ stash and am always thrilled to discover this or that! Thanks again for a great blog.

susan McKee-Nugent

Heidi, for those os us who like to bake vegan, what are your suggestions for alternatives to unsalted butter? I've used Earth Balance sticks, but never seem to see any unsalted varieties.

Better Plate

Heidi: I have a question. Why did you use more shredded carrot than Apple? I am a old fashioned cook. I have found that using even amounts put more flavor in the product you are making. Like you I use brown sugar in place of white. I am diabetic now and don't dare eat a lot of sweets. I must say my sweet tooth thinks I am starving it to death. I still make lots of candies, seafoam, divinity, buckeyes, peanut butter fudge, chocolate nut fudge, and many more.


making these tonight - they look too good to pass up! :)

leigh anne

First of all congratualations for such a good webpage. Tasty, healthy and easy recipes. The question is: what about using olive oil instead of butter?


thanks so much for the carrot and apple short bread .my family and myself enjoyed every little bite of the shortbread. if you can write the equal measurements in cups or spoons .i'll be very greateful.


Hey Heidi! Greetings from New Zealand! I found this recipe today and simply could not wait to try it. I took a stroll down the charming Symonds Street in Auckland, New Zealand to round up these deliciously healthy ingredients. I rushed home and went straight to the kitchen. Unfortunately, the finished product left something to be desired. I followed the recipe with the exception of the semolina (instead substituting all-purpose flour) and rather than creating a cookie dough, I created some sort of mushy carrot goop. I went ahead and cooked them anyways and instead of a flaky shortbread, I found some carrot balls resembling some fried fritter/hashbrown concoction. LOVE your site, but this recipe was somewhat of a disappoint. Do you know where I went wrong? by the way, i hope you have a simply magical time in Paris.


This is a really interesting recipe. It has so many healthy ingredients - I would totally have this for breakfast with tea as well!

Erika of The Pastry Chef At Home

Thanks,wonderful healthy recepie,as my husband is diabetic but fond of eating good food sure he will enjoy these healthy short breads,

Farhat Ali

Those look especially good. Love the idea of apple and carrot together. A nice autumn sweet.

Charles G Thompson

Lovely. I've been on an apple kick since I got several in my CSA this month.


All I can say is YUMMMM...these will be made ASAP!!


These adorable little cookies taste great I bet! I love all the flavors...yum!

Nutmeg Nanny

Thanks for jumping in regarding translating oz. into T. I'm also wondering -- as somebody else earlier asked -- about the purpose/importance of the semolina as that's not something I generally have on hand. They look and sound charming.


Gorgeous little cookies. I'm not much of a fan of shortbread, but these unconventional beauties make me want to give them another try.

Kristen @

I'm a sucker for any cookie that contains vegetables! These look darling - I will have to get some cookie cutters pronto.

Michelle @ Find Your Balance

I cannot wait to make these cookies, however I have no clue as to where one might secure light Muscovado sugar. Any hints? I live in Concord, MA, near any number of creative food sources. Thanks for the divine cooking ideas and any practical shopping hints that may follow. Diane

Diane Proctor

i just looked up conversion -- 1 oz. = 2 Tlbs cause they do look yummy :) and i want to make some tonight


What a great remnder. I made these from Good Tempered Food years ago and enjoyed them immensely. I'd forgotten about that, so thanks for reminding me. I have some apples and carrots hanging around so I think I'll have to whip up another batch.

The Runaway Spoon

Those look yum yum! I'll try them with some cinnamon instead of the lemon zest. Thanks


It looks really yummy :) Great photos :)


...ok, this is one to make with my grandson. he loves cookie cutters!


I love this take on such a classic as shortbread. Will definitely bookmark this one for making this weekend! I


These look positively delicious! It's too bad I'm not a fan of apples, but I love them baked in things, so I should give this a whirl! When adding apples to any kind of regular cookie recipe, does anything else need to be adjusted (temp, flour, etc)?

Kristina Medhus

Apple and carrots are a delightful combination, but I have to agree that it makes healthy what otherwise is somewhat decadent. I guess I'll have to cook up both to make a comparison -- taste testing is SUCH fun!


for a slight variation try adding some chopped dried pineapple and chopped carrrots....ooh is just heavenly.


Apples and carrots detract from the sinfulness of a pure shortbread - and that's a good thing !


Very nice recipe.... but apart from that, I am thrilled to know that I'm not the only one who finds cookbooks behind pieces of furniture. :-)


Heidi says in the first line that 1/4c=2oz=50g for the flour. Use the same logic for the carrots. Use half the amount for apples.


Heidi, these look amazing!! I am wondering, though, would do you think it would work to substitute solid coconut oil in place of butter to make it vegan? Just curious if that might work. They look scrumptious! HS: I think you could. And if you give it a try, let me know how they turn out. I can update the head notes.


Thank you Heidi for using GRAMS! This is a good thing! I moved to the Netherlands a few years ago, and everything I buy is of course marked using the metric system. It's so frustrating to make guesses. I use google but it doesn't always work between certain measurements. Please keep it up!

Dawn Milner

ounces and grams? cups and teaspoons please! Thanks!


Anyone have any ideas on quantity if I wanted to substitute agave for the brown sugar in the recipe? ...and if this would ruin it or not? thanks!


Good day, Hedi & online family, I believe that you are right on once again. This is the perfect cookie for the up coming holiday season and a smart way to feed the little mores more vegetables. I look forward to your next post. I think I might even drizzle a bit of white or milk chocolate ont my finished product.


I love offering two types of dueling shortbreads at dinner parties. I think your apple-carrot version would go great with this coconut shortbread. Thanks for the recipe!


This is one of my favorite cookbooks, I'm so glad to see you try out one of the recipes and put your own spin on it. Can't wait to try both versions and compare.


The measurement for the carrots and apples is in ounces. Is that weight or volume?


fantastic! i have all the ingredients on hand too. :)


What a lovely recipe! Who would have thought of adding apples and carrots?

Kimi @ The Nourishing Gourmet

Ok, I'm behind the times and don't have a kitchen scale at home (although I bake and cook every day) - anyone have an idea approximately how much apple/carrot = 2 ounces (50g) carrot, grated 1 ounce (25g) apple, grated


so cute! i am not a shortbread fan, all i can think of are those gross girlscout cookies, but this looks like the type to change hearts. Lovely alterations, there is always room for lemon zest ;)


These look beautiful! I'm always looking for something to do with all the carrots my CSA has been supplying me with.


The list of ingredients looks very promising. Even better, I have them all at home ( the semolina flour I have is wholemeal though). Anyway, I'll make them first thing tomorrow morning. Thanks for sharing.


I'm definitely going to make these, they look even nicer than the very delicious carrot cookies I made from this website. They made me think of an apple and vanilla cake I had recently from Ottolenghi, a small chain of delis in (posh areas of!) London. It was the nicest cake I've ever had ... do you know a good recipe for apple and vanilla cake?! I read your blog and regularly wish I could slice cabbage thinly!!


Your shortbread cookies are so cute and dainty! I agree these cookies pair well with tea. I like that the ingredients in this recipe are so accessible. Thanks for sharing!


These sound delicious - I'll definitely be trying the recipe. You can never have too many shortcake recipes :-)


Noo, if only I'd read this yesterday, lol... I have all those ingredients and ended up making ordinary applesauce cookies. Next time for sure, and yes they'd make a great gift. Beautiful.


What a unique flavor combination. It's funny to me to think of some things as healthy as the apple and carrot going along for the ride in a shortbread.


Mmmm I love apples and I love carrots so naturally this is the perfect cookie recipe for me :) Thanks for sharing and the pictures and food you do are breathtaking!!


Thanks so much for adding he grams to the recipe! Every time I get excited about a recipe, it always takes me quite a while before I can actually make it, because of al the conversion I have to do!


absolut delicious!! I love this idea...... so sweet..... Thank you, your recipes are perfect. Kiss from spain. ;o)


I'm excited about these. I just made your carrot loaf cake (as cupcakes) this weekend, and I have loads of carrots left over. I wonder how these might taste with date sugar. Do you think that would work? Also, what is the purpose of the semolina? I always wonder about it.

Kylie of Thin Crust, Deep Dish

Thanks for posting this recipe! I love that you added carrots and apples! What a great addition!

Estela @ Weekly Bite

You've always got the best substitutions and I don't mind making things like this since they're not as bad for me as other recipes!

Tabitha (From Single to Married)

Oh I just made a soup with apples and carrots that I'll be posting about later this week - it's such a great combination! Your shortbread looks delicious!

Simply Life

Really interesting with the apple and carrot. I'll have to try these.

Kari @ Eating Simply

What an interesting looking cookie! I bet the apples & carrots add great texture.


Wow, these seem delicious!! I will definitely try them :-) Thanks for sharing!


I am so looking forward to winter's quiet. This recipe feels like a prelude to peaceful weekends, curled up in a chair beside a toasty wood stove with books, books and more books. -Michaela

The Gardener's Eden

What a nice variation on an old recipe :)


These look great! I love adding apples to cookies, muffins, etc. Yum.


Adding apples and carrots sounds like a great way to update basic shortbread - which I haven't had in years. Sitting back with a few cookbooks in hand is one of my favorite rainy day activities!


What a wonderful fall recipe! These are delicious little bites of warmth! I love your substitutions. They were made with health and flavor in mind. The lemon zest and Muscovado sugar bring this shortbread to a whole new level.


These look wonderful! There is something about cold, blustery weather that makes filling the house with warmth and baking very appealing. And apple, carrot, and lemon are three of my favourite flavours. Must try!


Funny, I've had Tamsin's book for ages but never once noticed this recipe when I've been flicking through. It's not a book I've gone back to often as I found it a bit heavy and meaty, but we obviously spot new things in books when we 'rediscover' them so maybe I'll give it another look! Love the idea of a bit of lemon zest for freshness. Ginger is lovely in apple and carrot juice - I wonder if that would also be good in these cookies.


I love the idea of rediscovering the cookbooks that you keep around the house. I have far too many myself, but I love to read through them and see what's good to make again! I feel like there is a trend of mixing veggies into sweetened baked goods as of late, although this is a delicious diversion from the normal chocolate zucchini bread that I've seen everywhere. I love the idea of using carrots - they are one of my favorite vegetables!

Carter @ The Kitchenette

Thanks for posting this! I'm quite particular about shortbread and biscuits in general as I hate white sugar. These are perfect, and they look delightful. Yours are incredibly cute too--they look like the perfect thing to put in a little box and give to someone as a gift :O)


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