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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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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