Chocolate Chestnut Mousse Tarts with Shortbread Crust for Club House

chocolate chestnut mousse tart recipe on

Because his father was Scottish, the HH is very particular about his shortbread. Since his mother never learned to bake, however, he grew up thinking that “real” shortbread came in a box. (But hey, he was very particular about which box).

In our house, where baking was as natural as tying your shoelaces, there was only one kind of shortbread: the recipe my mother clipped out of Good Housekeeping magazine in the 70s, which involved copious amounts of butter, all purpose flour, cornstarch and  sugar. They were crisp on the outside, soft, buttery and slightly sandy on the inside. I copied that recipe to take with me when I moved out on my own, and continued to make it for years to come.

gluten-free, vegan, sugar-free chocolate chestnut mousse tart recipe on

When the folks at Club House (a division of McCormick Canada) contacted me to see if I’d be interested in developing a recipe with their new gluten-free rice flour and potato starch, I knew immediately what I wanted to make.  Living on an anti-candida diet for life means that I would have to modify my mom’s old shortbread recipe, of course. I’d been contemplating creating an ACD-friendly version of the classic cookie using potato starch (probably my favorite starch in general, one that’s already in my own all-purpose mix) rather than the cornstarch; and rice flour, of course, is a must for traditional shortbread recipes.

I started playing with the ingredients. The Club House flours come in pouches that stand up on the countertop for easy scooping, with resealable tops. They’re also certified gluten-free by the Canadian Celiac Association and certified kosher. The rice flour has a lovely, really fine texture, which proved finer than other rice flours I’ve used. I also received some of the new Minute Tapioca, and lost no time cooking it up into a rich, thick pudding using coconut milk. Wonderful on its own, but I bet it would also be terrific with berries (or. . . chocolate).

Club House Minute Tapioca on

[Tapioca pudding made with coconut milk and sweetened with stevia. Perfect pudding for dessert. . . or breakfast?]

But back to the tarts! I was thrilled with how my shortbread turned out. If you’re looking for a classic shortbread cookie, bake the dough on its own and cut into squares (I’ll be baking several more batches in different flavors as gifts this holiday season).  But when baked into tart shells and filled with the chocolate chestnut mousse, this recipe is truly elevated to something spectacular. These tarts are a real show-stopper–an elegant, enticing finish to a festive meal, and one that will have guests reminiscing about dessert long after the party is over.

vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free classic shortbread with club house flours on

[The dough baked as shortbread cookies. Light, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth. And no rolling required!]

I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to fall in love with chestnuts, but now that I have, I pretty much want to eat them with everything. As I mentioned recently on Instagram, I am entirely besotted with this chocolate chestnut mousse! The shortbread crust offers the perfect counterpoint both visually and texturally: its light, sandy, tender, and perfectly sweetened base contrasts exquisitely with the silky and alluring mousse.

The HH took one bite of his tart and practically swooned. “The mousse, the shortbread. . . wow. This is THE perfect shortbread,” he pronounced. “Just like my mom used to get.”  Well, I didn’t have the heart to tell him “uh, no.” But it was still nice to know this recipe provides the same sandy, buttery Scottish shortbread flavor and texture as the “real thing.” Yep, a classic.

Giveaway tomorrow! Be sure to come back and visit the blog tomorrow, when I’ll be giving away a gift pack of all three of these Club House products so you can make your own tarts (and more)!

Vegan, gluten-free chocolate chestnut mousse tart recipe with Club House products

Never miss a recipe–or a comment from The Girls! Click here to subscribe to via email. You’ll get recipes as soon as they’re posted, plus cookbook updates and news about upcoming events! (“We love subscribers, Mum. . . almost as much as we love treats!”)

This recipe is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesday.

[Disclaimer: this post may contain affiliate links. If you buy using these links, at no cost to you, I will earn a small commission from the sale.]



  1. Oh wow, this looks and sounds so great 🙂 I love chestnut and the combination with chocolate is genius^^

    • Thanks, Liane! I clearly love that combination, too! I couldn’t believe how rich and silky it became with the chestnuts added. . . a new fave! 🙂

  2. oh yes, chestnuts and chocolate, yummy! I used to love Scottish shortbread, but haven’t eaten any in years, and strangely enough I’ve never tried to make it since i’ve been vegan and gluten free – but I will now:) thank you

  3. Ricki–these look STUNNING! You’re recipes & photography just knock my socks off. When are you going to start your own line of sweet treats???!

    • Aw, thanks so much, Janae! And, um. . . I already did have my own bakery!! LOL! It was just too much work for me physically. I ended up closing up shop and converting those recipes into my first cookbook, Sweet Freedom. So I guess it did all work out in the end! 🙂

  4. I MUST make that mousse! Quick question:

    “6 Tbsp (1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp or 50 g) coconut sugar”

    Do you mean 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp?

  5. This looks delicious! I was just talking to my friend yesterday about making a healthier shortbread to bring to holidays parties but now I can just use your recipe! Thanks so much for sharing, I can’t wait to win the ingredients to make them (hehehe positive thinking)

  6. Hi. I am based in South Africa and don’t have access to chesnuts. What would work as an ideal replacement?

    • Hi Celeste,
      I don’t really know any other nut that is so starchy while still being soft. . . my guess would be either peanuts or, for a different effect, macadamia nuts. But you would likely need to decrease the quantity and change the other ingredients around, too. Since the chestnuts are a major part of the mousse, changing them up would necessarily alter the final product. It would still taste nice, though!

  7. My dear mother was Scottish, never knew about gluten-free anything, but always included rice flour in her shortbread. You inspire me –

  8. Ricki these look beautiful. I love how you pipe so many of your desserts. I never think to do that! I’ve tried to get a gf and df shortbread with coconut oil! I think I’ll just stick with this recipe!

    • Thanks, Maggie! Does it seem like I pipe so many of them, really? Well, glad you like them, anyway! For me, the coconut sugar is also essential. But these are so easy to make, I don’t mind! 🙂

  9. I am crazy about shortbread, and your recipe looks delicious! Coupled with the mousse, and I might have to find a reason to have a dinner party soon!

  10. ooh! these look amazing. you know how I adore anything with chocolate and chestnuts!

  11. Ricki, I’m sick with a nasty head cold and am not very hungry. But you have made my mouth water with this recipe! Love the mousse.

  12. These look utterly divine Ricki! I made castagnaccio recently, a traditional Italian chestnut cake, so have had chestnuts on the brain. I’ve been wanting to make shortbread too so might just have to try your recipe out- both parts together or separately.

  13. I want to dig into one of these right now! Wow!! I have memories of my mom making shortbread with small pieces of those red and green candied cherries placed in the middle. But, we ate our fair share of boxed shortbread too (Marks and Spencer I think! lol, memories).

    I have done very little with chestnuts, but do have some in my pantry waiting for a chestnut pudding – and you now have me wanting to do so! 😀

  14. So beautiful! You constantly leave me in awe!
    I’d love to have access to your pantry 😉

    • Thank you so much for that, Marianne–you’ve made my evening! My pantry is a total mess–but it *is* pretty full. Happy to share, if I could. 😉 Glad you like the tarts, too! 🙂

  15. Ricki, these look amazing! Wow 🙂

  16. Cannot wait to make these delicious looking tarts; I miss those lovely red boxes of shortbread that arrived around the holidays, have to make a batch while I wait for the chestnut order to arrive! Thanks for sharing this recipe:)

  17. Oh my heavens Ricki – that looks like creamy bliss! I’ve still never had a chestnut – oh the shame!

    • I was very late to discover chestnuts, too, Alisa (quite a bit older than you are now, as I recall). 😉 But once you try them. . . oh my heavens is right!! 😀

  18. I have yet to work with chestnuts – I always figured it’s because I’m Jewish and they seem so Christmas-y! But there was a recipe for chocolate cake in the last issue of Simply Gluten Free using chestnuts and I’m very intrigued. Now I’m loving this idea too. Chocolate and chestnuts, yes please!

    • Somehow, the chestnuts just enhance the chocolate, and the chocolate enhances the chestnuts, and the whole is SO much greater than the sum of its parts!! 😀

  19. Oh my, I MUST try this, chestnuts are not a frequent visitor in my kitchen, so I am excited! Pinned and sharing Ricki!

    • Thanks so much, Tessa! They weren’t always a frequent visitor in my kitchen, but now I love them. I have the roasted ones as snacks on their own!

  20. These look so dainty and lovely. I can envision a tray for my next tea … wait, do I do tea? I do now!! 🙂

  21. I was wondering, can you use Chia seeds instead of the xanthun gum? These sound so good, but I would rather not use that. Thanks.

    • Hi Dawn, you can certainly try, but I can’t vouch for the texture if you use chia. I have baked lots of cookies, bars, etc. with chia as well as xanthan, and I find that for certain recipes, xanthan is superior. But do give it a go and let me know how it turns out!

  22. wow, this sounds SO GOOD!!!! want to eat it right now 🙂

  23. YUM! I just love your recipes. I can’t wait to try this one for the holidays.

  24. Wow, Ricki! This looks fabulous. When I saw the picture via Pinterest, I assumed I’d have to either veganize it or make it gluten-free, but then when I read the description and realized it was made that way already, I was a very happy #gf and #vegan girl. Thanks!

  25. You are the dessert QUEEN! Oh my. This looks so adorably delicious, Ricki.

    I have to tell you…I made your sugar cookies again yesterday. Just love that recipe. They have such a fantastic flavor and texture. You really know your baking. I’m so grateful for you.

    Have a great weekend.


    • Thanks so much, Amber! And YAY on the cookies! I guess I’ve been baking a loooong time, so it just seems like second nature to me now. Now, if only I could decrease the “eating” part. . . ! 😉

  26. I think the reason I don’t use chestnuts much is that they are hard to find and expensive when I do find them – but I do love the smoothness and think the sound of this mousse is dreamy – and the shortbread really looks so lovely – I confess I had a shortbread overdose at a certain scottish workplace that has made me a bit meh about the packaged stuff but I can still swoon over a fresh biscuit (or should I say cookie)

    • Yes, they aren’t cheap here, either, but the ones in the bags aren’t too bad (I got two bags for about $3.00 Cdn–enough for this entire recipe). And you say biscuit, I say cookie–we can still eat them all! 😉

  27. Oh so pretty!! I accidentally ordered three times the amount of chestnuts I needed for a recipe so… 🙂

  28. i posted about chestnuts today. i love them. this sounds like a great healthy chestnut dessert!

  29. These look AMAZING and I’m sooo excited to try making them this weekend! I don’t have access to chocolate stevia though – do you think using an 85%, slightly sweetened chocolate would be ok instead?
    Thank you for a beautiful website which I am only just discovering!

  30. OMG OMG OMG!!! scrumptious scrumptious scrumptious! my husband loves anything with chestnuts – this is on my to do list :). thank you for all your delicious recipes! xoxo

    • Aw, I’m SO glad you like the look of it! It’s become a staple in my dessert repertoire. 😀 And for an even easier dessert, just omit the crust and make it as a mousse in little bowls–perfect, too. 🙂

  31. I couldn’t look at this picture any longer without MAKING them! I have made two batches. The first one..didn’t exactly turn all. I made a mistake 🙂 Second time around and they turned out perfectly! They aren’t a strong sweet , which I love. Nicely mild and when you said silky for the mousse, I don’t think I could have found a better word to describe it … they really are just that.
    thanks so much for sharing

  32. Wow, Ricki, I am in awe of you. I have never even thought to use chestnuts in this way. I have a chef I interviewed who gave me a recipe to make chestnut flour pasta, and it was delicious. I used a chestnut flour that must have been dried out before it was ground. I love the flavor of roasted chestnuts, does that come through at all in the flavor of the mousse?

    I can’t wait to try this recipe out.

    • Aw, thanks so much, Sandi!! I guess I just always look for the quickest way to include chocolate in any recipe. .. ! 😉 The flavor of the chestnuts does come through in this, though it’s very subtle–I think if someone wasn’t familiar with chestnuts, they’d just think it was a rich, creamy, smooth and decadent chocolate mousse. Hope you like it! 🙂

  33. Hi Ricki

    May I please ask a few questions?
    1.) Starch flours and guts. I find that they gum me up and I react a bit. Is there an alternative for them? I understand that they make GF baking fluffy/ lighter. Surely such a processed product is not good for us esp if you have gut issues.

    2.) I am going to make yr chestnut pancakes. Have you tried making them with chestnut flour? Or anything else with chestnut flour for that matter? I was given 2 bags.

    3.) ACV substitution if one’s allergic to yeast. Lemon juice? Does it work as well?

    4.) Since you’ve written this have you found an alternative to gums? I react to those too.

    5.) Nut milk alternatives in baking and do they work similarly e.g. coconut milk?
    I’m not crazy on store bought rice milk and am allergic to a lot of nuts but most of all almonds.

    Sorry to be painful!

    Thank you


    • Hi Kay,
      Some of these are quick and easy answers: I did use chestnut flour once, years ago, and wasn’t a fan. I haven’t used it since (hence my pancakes with actual chestnuts). Something about the flavor didn’t sit well with me.

      Lemon juice is a fine sub for ACV–you will need to use between 1.5 and 2x as much as vinegar, though.

      For the other questions, these are issues with complex points and there is no one simple answer. In general, coconut milk doesn’t work like other milks. To answer your other questions would require a detailed examination of the recipes you have in mind and likely some experimentation, since it’s not a matter of simply substituting one flour or another for a starch, for instance.

      These are exactly the kinds of questions I answer when I work with clients to determine what ingredients and recipes they can use for their own unique dietary boundaries. If you’re interested, I’d be happy to work with you. You can find out more information here.


  1. […] Chocolate Chestnut Mousse Tarts with Shortbread Crust […]

  2. […] chocolate chestnut mousse tarts with shortbread crust look absolutely insane. They’re so beautiful, I’d be almost sorry to eat one, but […]

  3. […] crumble salé, des toasts chèvre et patate douce, un houmous orange et sésame noir ou encore des petites tartes à la mousse choco châtaigne. Et puis, je vous ai déjà donné un max d’idées dans Recevoir en bio, et je sais que vous […]

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.