Monday, December 31, 2012

whipped lemon shortbread cookies

Shortbread has to be one of the most perplexing cookie recipes I've ever come across. It's so simple with the fancy butter, good flour and sugar. So complicated once you change up the sugar, add cornstarch and other garbage. Also, given that in the end there's only a small handful of ingredients it's also so easily messed up. Too much flour (or even sugar) and things get crusty and crumbly and dry. Not enough and the dough won't do anything.

Once you do get the texture right, then you have to contend with the fact that shortbread has very little taste in and of itself and needs to have something added for flavour. I'm a little lazy with flavours today, to be honest, and just felt like going with something simple and bright: lemon. Granted, the lemon can be replaced with any citrus, really. I do a lot of lemon desserts, though, and maybe I should stop. They're just all so good.

This recipe for whipped shortbread, adapted from allrecipes.com is one of the dead simplest I've ever come across. As long as the butter's nice and soft when you start this is all easily done in a mixer and the hardest bit is portioning out the cookies. It's not quite my family recipe but it's a pretty damned good one.

Whipped Lemon Shortbread

Ingredients (for the cookies)
  • 1 cupbutter, softened
  • zest of 1 lemon
Ingredients (for the glaze)
  • juice & zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, combine butter, flour, lemon zest and confectioners' sugar. With an electric mixer, beat for 10 minutes, occasionally scraping the bowl down until the dough comes together in a clumpy ball.
  3. Spoon onto cookie sheets, spacing cookies 2 inches apart.
  4. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the bottoms of the cookies are lightly browned.
  5. While the first tray bakes, put together your glaze. Mix the lemon juice, zest and the icing sugar together until the sugar fully dissolves in the liquid. If the consistency is too thick for your tastes, add a little more lemon juice or water. If it's too thin just add more icing sugar a spoonful or so at a time.
  6. Remove from oven, and let cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer cookies on to wire rack.
  7. Drizzle the lemon glaze overtop the cookies and allow to cool and set for about 10 minutes before transferring to storage or serving trays.

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