Friday, December 19, 2008

Lemon Shortbread




Cookies have been showing up all over in bloggerland. Since I usually do all my baking on December 23, I’ve been feeling a little left out. Thankfully the holiday party for my Writers’ Group gave me an excuse to start baking.

One of my favorite cookies is shortbread. The fact that nobody else in my family gets excited about them is a bonus because then there’s more for me. My ex-mother-in-law was the first person to turn me on to these flaky buttery treats. She used to make them every year for Christmas and continued to give me some even after her son and I divorced twenty years ago.

At some point she stopped baking, so now I make shortbread every year for her. A few years ago she gave me this wonderful ceramic shortbread pan made by Brown Bag Cookie Art. It makes the prettiest shortbread cookies with little raised animals.



I usually make the classic shortbread in the little booklet that came with the pan, but this time I decided to try the lemon shortbread. The cookies tasted great, but they didn’t come out of the pan as easily as they usually do. And sadly, the little animal figures just didn’t show up very well. That’s what I get for messing with a classic.

If you don’t have a shortbread pan, you can still make great shortbread. Just form the dough into a circle about 1/2 inch thick and score 8 wedges before baking. Make sure you liberally prick the surface of the shortbread before baking it so the shortbread doesn’t puff up unevenly during baking. Another important tip is to cut the shortbread while still warm so it doesn’t crumble or break.

To make them fancier, you can dip them in chocolate, spread them with jam or drizzle them with a glaze of your choice, but I like them just plain. They store well, and unlike other cookies their flavor actually improves with age.

I’ve already confessed that I only bake cookies at Christmas here. So how funny is it that my Mom read my post and felt so bad for my kids that she bought me this cookie jar at an antique store? It is the same cookie jar that was on my Grandma Palmer’s counter all through my childhood and it made me so happy, I’ve resolved to keep it full.



And one final cookie note: My cookies have been featured on the new Cape Women Online e-zine in an article called, “Making Sweet Memories,” written by my dear friend Debi Boucher Stetson. It’s a wonderful e-zine, full of great ideas, wonderful writing and even poetry and fiction.

Now I can’t wait for cookie day! What’s your favorite holiday cookie?

The Recipes:

Classic Shortbread
From Brown Bag Cookie Art

1/2 cup butter at room temperature
1/3 cup powdered sugar, unsifted
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour, unsifted

Cream butter until it is light. Cream in the powdered sugar, then the vanilla. Now work in the flour. Knead the dough on an unfloured board until nice and smooth. Spray the shortbread pan very lightly with non-stick vegetable spray. Firmly press the dough into the shortbread pan. Prick the entire surface with a fork, and bake the shortbread right in the pan at 325 degrees for about 30 – 35 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Let the shortbread cool in its pan for about ten minutes before you loosen the edges with a knife and flip the pan over onto a wooden cutting board. If the shortbread does not come right out, tap one edge of the pan. Cut the shortbread into serving pieces while still warm. Let the pan cool before washing it.

For a printable recipe click here

Lemon Shortbread
From Brown Bag Cookie Art

1/2 cup butter at room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar, unsifted
2 teaspoons lemon peel
1 cup flour, unsifted

Cream butter until it is light. Cream in the powdered sugar, then add the lemon peel. Now work in the flour. Knead the dough on an unfloured board until nice and smooth. Spray the shortbread pan very lightly with non-stick vegetable spray. Firmly press the dough into the shortbread pan. Prick the entire surface with a fork, and bake the shortbread right in the pan at 325 degrees for about 30 – 35 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Let the shortbread cool in its pan for about ten minutes before you loosen the edges with a knife and flip the pan over onto a wooden cutting board. If the shortbread does not come right out, tap one edge of the pan. Cut the shortbread into serving pieces while still warm. Let the pan cool before washing it.

For a printable recipe click here

4 comments:

Debinhawaii said...

I love lemon and shortbread so it sounds great, even if it didn't turn out the same as your regular one does. The cookie jar is a wonderful gift--its beautiful!

Dawn said...

I know, I have been seeing soooo many cookies all over the place! I feel like I need to bake more of them! ha ha
I love that shortbread cookie plate/cutout thingee (forgot the word here).
How much snow did you get? We got about 5 inches, lost power for a bit last night and was ever so thankful to have it back on.
I loved the pics of you at the tree farm...you look great!!

Laurie said...

Thanks, Deb! I love my "new" cookie jar.

Dawn, we got 10 inches! But we never lost power so it was the best kind of snow storm - beautiful, but not too inconvenient.

Anonymous said...

So glad to see someone promoting the wonderful shortbread cookies using the Brown Bag shortbread molds. I, too, have been making them for the past 20+ years.

FYI, your mold with the square farm animals - I have among my 8 different molds. I have found that when making the lemon I use the pie shaped heart mold and it comes out nicely with the beautiful design intact. I use the square ones for plain shortbread only.

Helen -
San Jose