Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Stamped Lemon Shortbread Cookies
Let's start by saying this-- if you've never considered what short bread cookies are made out of, then turn away now and never read this post. Eat your tin of Walkers in blissful ignorance and rejoice in it's delicious splendor......If you already know what goes into a shortbread cookie, then, welcome, pull up a chair-- let's clamp off our aortas together. :-)
As you may have guessed by their flaky, delicious nature, shortbread cookies are pretty much pure butter. WHICH IS WHY THEY ARE SO AMAZING. My baking tends to err on the side of extra chocolaty, a habit I've needed to break since a number of the recipients of my baked goods do not eat chocolate. (Shocking, I know....I'm not sure why they are my friends....) I also like to have a couple of things in my arsenal that are a light, refreshing balance to some of the heavier chocolate based items. These lemon shortbreads are something I created to serve alongside my favorite brownies. I mean, let's be honest-- there is a tray of cookies/brownies.....who eats ONE, right? But two of my favorite brownies leads to being curled up in the corner wishing that I had the good sense to only eat one, so, enter the lemon shortbread!
Despite being less than light on calories, these cookies are light and flaky with a strong 'zing' of lemon. I created this recipe by starting with this standard shortbread recipe, and playing with the amount of lemon juice/zest until I achieved a good balance. The great thing about shortbreads is that they are SUPER easy to make. I stamped these to make them pretty, but if you don't want to do that, this is a fast and easy cookie to add to your arsenal.
A quick note on the stamping-- stamping cookies is super easy and looks great. Shortbread cookies are so butter based that they do not hold the stamp image as clearly as a sugar cookie, so I stick to floral images or images that look pretty even when slightly distorted by baking. You don't need any special equipment to stamp a cookie-- just a regular rubber stamp from the craft store. (Make sure it is one that is clean and has never been used with ink or paint.)
(For a printable version of this recipe, click here)
Lemon Shortbread Cookies (Yield - 2 dozen 3 inch cookies)
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Step #1 - Mix together all the ingredients until well incorporated an the dough resembles playdough.
Step #2 - On a floured surface, roll dough 1/4 inch thick and cut with the cookie cutters of your choice.
Step #3 - Place cut out cookies on a well greased (or parchment covered) cookie sheet. To stamp, grease your rubber stamp with butter or cooking spray and press gently into the top of each cookie. Re-grease the stamp every 2-3 cookies as needed.
Step #4 - Place cookies in the refrigerator for 10 - 30 minutes before baking; this will help them hold their shape.
Step #5 - Bake at 350* until set, but not brown. For a 3 inch cookie, baking time is 8-10 minutes. Baking time varies depending on the size of your cookies. A cookie is set when it holds it's shape and slight cracks form in the surface. Cool completely before serving. Dust with powdered sugar if desired.