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Lemon Shortbread Cookies

Today I made Lemon Shortbread cookies from the magazine Baking Heaven, which I purchased while I was in London at Harvey Nichols. This magazine is so wonderful–it is page after page of beautiful pictures and inspiring recipes with minimal advertisements. I had a hard time narrowing down my recipe options, but after closer examination, I knew this was the first recipe I would have to try.

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Why? Why this recipe? Well, upon reading the recipe in greater detail, I noticed that the recipe for the frosting instructed the baker to roll it out and cut it with cookie cutters! This was especially confusing, because right after it tells you to roll out the frosting, it mentions that you can simply spread the frosting onto the cookies if you want to. I was so intrigued by a frosting that could be either rolled out (which I had never heard of before) or spread, so I knew this was the recipe for me. In addition, I happen to have flower cookie cutters, which are perfect for celebrating the warm weather we finally have here in Minnesota. 😛

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The shortbread portion of the recipe is very simple, and I think it could be tweaked to create many different flavor variations using the same base. Once the dough comes together, I colored the batter with some pink food coloring. I removed about 1/3 of the batter, then added more food coloring to the remaining batter. This time I removed about 1/2 of the batter, then once again added more color to the remaining batter. I loved the pink with the flower cookie cutters I used, and it looked nice in the pictures in the magazine when butterfly cookie cutters were used. However, depending on the cookie cutters and the occasion, I think orange, yellow, purple, or a combination of warm colors would be nice. If you wanted to use a variety of different food colorings, first separate the dough into portions before coloring each individually.

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After the dough had chilled, I rolled it out and cut it into flowers. I have three flower cutters, and used the smallest to cut holes out of the larger two. I really like the way my cookies turned out, but I could see this recipe working for a variety of cutters, including circles.

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After the cookies baked and cooled, I made the frosting. The trick here is there is a small amount of butter, and enough sugar to create a dough like consistency. Using a liberal amount of powdered sugar, carefully roll out the frosting, turning it often to ensure it doesn’t stick to the table. Then, use the same cookie cutters as before and cut out sections of frosting. Carefully move each piece of frosting to the top of a cookie, then sandwich another cookie on top of it. You want your frosting to be sticky enough that the top cookie and the bottom cookie become sandwiched together. If this doesn’t work, take a paintbrush and paint some water onto the frosting before sticking the cookie on top of it. If this intimidates you, add less powdered sugar and maybe a little milk to the frosting, then spread it onto the cookies.

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Tada! Beautiful multicolored flower cookies ready for the start of spring!

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Lemon Shortbread Cookies

Ingredients:

12 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cup flour
1 lemon, zested
pink food color

Directions:

1) Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg and lemon zest and mix until thoroughly combined. Add in the flour and mix until a dough like consistency is formed.
2) Add in a small amount of food coloring and mix. Remove 1/3 of the dough, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. Add more food coloring to the dough, then remove 1/2, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate. Finally, add more food coloring to the last portion of dough, then again wrap in plastic and refrigerate.
3) After 30 minutes, remove the dough one section at a time and roll it into a 1/4 inch thick disk. Using cookie cutters, cut out cookies then place them on baking sheets. Place the cookie sheets in the refrigerator and let them rest for another 30 minutes.
4) Place the cookies into a 170 degree Celcius oven and bake for 7 minutes. Remove and cool completely.

Shortbread Filling

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar + more for rolling
1 lemon, zested

Directions:

1) Beat all ingredients until thoroughly combined, and until a dough like consistency forms.
2) Using a liberal amount of powdered sugar, roll out the frosting to about a 1/4 inch thickness.
3) Using the same cookie cutters as before, cut out sections of frosting and place on the top side of half of the cookies.
4) Sandwich a cookie of the same size but a different color on top of the frosting. Use a little water to get the frosting to stick if it is too dry.
(If you do not wish to roll out the frosting, add less powdered sugar and maybe a little milk or lemon juice to the frosting. Then spread it onto the cookies.)

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