It’s Christmas cookie season! I love taking old favorites and making them low carb, and Christmas cookies are no exception! These almond shortbread cookies, called Finska Kakor, are both exceptionally easy and super delicious. My two favorite things!
Low Carb Finska Kakor
“Finska Kakor” is Swedish for… “Finnish Cookie.” I don’t know why I find that so funny, but I do.
This is not a cookie I grew up with at Christmas time, but was introduced to it when I married my husband. I love the flavor of these cookies and when I discovered how easy they are to make, I started making them every year.
These cookies are really light and crisp, with a lovely almond flavor. They’re topped with almonds and sugar, traditionally, though for this low carb application we’ve swapped out the sugar for a low carb alternative.
Let’s talk ingredients. For the dry ingredients, we use a mixture of almond flour, xanthan gum, my sweetener blend, and tapioca starch.
TAPIOCA STARCH?? Yes, Keto Karen, I said tapioca starch. Grains and starches are generally not used on a ketogenic diet, so if you’re freaking out right now, just know that you can leave it out if that makes you feel more comfortable.
But the single tablespoon of tapioca starch we use here goes a long way to getting the texture of these to be nice and crisp like the original. And before you freak out about the carbs, even with the tapioca starch these are only 0.5g net carbs per cookie.
Other than that, we use butter, almond extract, almonds, and some granulated sweetener. More on sweeteners later.
I found the best texture comes from using a food processor. I have this one and it’s a total work horse that I can’t recommend highly enough.
Pulse the dry ingredients, then add some cold butter. Add 1 tsp cold water and the extract and pulse until it comes together like you see in the last picture. If needed, add another tsp of water.
I love how easy these cookies are to roll out and cut. So very simple.
I roll out the dough between two sheets of parchment until it’s about 1/4″ thick. Then I cut into rectangles with a pizza cutter.
Yes, I realize I’m an adult who still can’t cut straight.
I find it easiest to roll out the dough right after making it, but it’s tricky to separate the cookies in this state. So after I roll it out and cut it, I slip the parchment onto a cookie sheet and put it in the freezer for about five minutes until it’s firm enough to separate with an offset spatula.
Note: This doesn’t make a huge batch of cookies, in part because the longer you store these cookies, the more they lose some of their crispness. But since they’re so fast and easy to make, I don’t mind making a couple of batches through the Christmas season.
After you’ve placed the cookies on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, brush them with an egg white. Then sprinkle almonds over them.
The next step is to sprinkle some sweetener over the cookies.
Let’s talk about sweetener for a minute.
For the most part, you can use any granulated low carb sweetener you like. Allulose isn’t great here, however, because it has a much lower melting point than sugar.
That being said, every granulated sweetener I tried melted more than sugar. So I suggest adding half the sweetener before baking, and then sprinkling the rest on after it comes out of the oven to get the texture of the original cookie.
I tried Sukrin, xylitol, Luv sweetener, and Lakanto monkfruit sweeteners. I intended to also try Swerve, but I was all out.
You can see the some of the differences in the photo above. The darkness of the edges of the cookies has nothing to do with the sweeteners, just that I rolled the second batch of cookies slightly thinner so they cooked a little faster.
Here’s what I found. Xylitol and Luv have larger granules, so I thought maybe they’d stay granulated instead of melting in the oven. This was not the case and I still had to add more after they came out of the oven.
I also found that the xylitol and Luv sweeteners left the cookies a bit softer for longer after cooking. Eventually they still crisped up, but it took quite a bit more time.
Flavor-wise, xylitol leaves the most cooling sensation of all the options. I personally liked the results of Sukrin best, but Lakanto was very similar. I would guess that Swerve would behave similarly to these, but I’m not 100% sure. In any case, use whichever granulated sweetener you like best.
I love both the flavor and texture of these lovely cookies, and I love that they take almost no effort to make. Even my husband, who grew up eating the conventional type, loves the low carb version!
- Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C)
- Combine dry ingredients in a food processor and pulse to combine.
- Add cold butter and pulse until mixture resembles fine crumbs.
- Add 1 tsp cold water and almond extract and pulse until dough comes together. If needed, add another tsp cold water.
- Roll dough between two sheets of parchment paper to 1/4 inch thickness.
- Use a knife or pizza cutter to cut dough into 3/4" x 2.5" rectangles. Reroll scraps.
- For best results, place dough in the freezer for about 5 minutes before trying to separate the cookies.
- Place cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush with egg white, and sprinkle with almonds. Sprinkle with half the granulated sweetener.
- Bake for 7-8 minutes or until set but not browning much.
- Once removed from oven, sprinkle with the remaining sweetener. Allow to cool completely on pan before removing and serving.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Cookies will soften slightly in storage
Nutrition Information:Yield: 40
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 26 Total Fat: 2.4g Saturated Fat: 0.7g Sodium: 6mg Carbohydrates: 0.8g Net Carbohydrates: 0.5g Fiber: 0.3g Sugar: 0.2g Protein: 0.7g