Thursday, July 7, 2011

Buttery Shortbread Cookies

These cookies helped change my perception of shortbread. Before, my thoughts of shortbread were of the box of Girl Scout cookies that sat unopened in the pantry months after the thin mints were gone. These shortbreads, however, probably won't make it very long in your pantry at all. That's because it's pretty hard to resist eating them. I polished off my test batch at an embarrassingly quick pace. Rich and buttery, sweet without being overly so, these cookies are what shortbreads should be. I wound up eating a lot of them with my coffee, finding it an unexpected compliment, and imagine they would be good with tea as well.

The original directions for this recipe call for these to be rolled cookies. But I could not get the dough to roll out. I tried both refrigeration and additional flour to no avail. It is pretty humid here, but I also have central air and can't be sure the weather is to blame. I tried rolling the dough into balls and pressing down with a drinking glass, but the dough was too sticky to pull off the glass cleanly. Finally, I decided to press the dough balls with my fingers. Not only did this work, but the dough squished a little around my middle finger, creating an attractive ridged appearance. I am a bit sad I didn't get to use my Hello Kitty cookie cutter but still very happy with how these cookies wound up looking.


1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 c. superfine sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
zest of half a lemon (I chose to zest the whole lemon, because I love lemon)
2 c. all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
granulated sugar for sprinkling

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour and the salt. Set aside. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter. Gradually add in the superfine sugar. Beat in the lemon zest and vanilla extract. Incorporate the flour mixture into the butter mixture in small batches. The dough should come together and clean the sides of the bowl.

3. Refrigerate dough for about a half an hour (this step can be skipped if it's cold in your kitchen). Roll dough into one-inch balls. Place balls on parchment paper and press down with your first three fingers. Recipe makes about 26 cookies.

4. Bake cookies for about 15 minutes, or until edges turn a very light brown. Do not over bake. Remove cookies from oven and immediately sprinkle with desired amount of granulated sugar (sugar will only stick when cookies are hot). Let cookies rest on their baking sheet for a couple of minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. Store cooled cookies in an air-tight container.

Source: Sarabeth's Bakery: From My Hands to Yours


  1. Good call on the lemon zest! I love lemon too!! I actually was admiring the design on top of the cookie and wondering how you did it :) I hate that they gave you so much trouble, but looks like they turned out perfect in the end. They look delicious!

  2. I love shortbread.

    Looks really good. Hope you'll share your recipes with us at
    Simply Delish.

  3. I am making these for my step dads bday next week. He LOVES shortbread!!

    Thanks for linking up to Foodie Friday. I hope to see you again next week!!

  4. Mmmmmmm. Those look delicious!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I also have two demanding kitties (Eloise is currently assisting me with my typing), love cooking, and vintage. I love your blog!

  5. Shortbread is probably one of my top 3 treats, if not my favourite type of cookie which is dangerous considering how easy they are to make! Your shortbread looks really lovely, buttery and crumbly like a good shortbread should be :) Really nice photo too!

  6. I love the impressions you put on top of the shortbread. So simple and homey.

  7. These look delicious -- saving to my recipe file!

  8. Shortbread is one of my favorite cookies. I can't wait to try your recipe! Thanks!

  9. These look delicious! I love simple cookies like this. They don't need any embelishment because they taste so great just like they are. I'd like to invite you to share your recipe on A Well-Seasoned Life's Sweet Indulgences Sunday.

  10. Yum! I love shortbread Cookies! You can't just eat one, it's impossible!

    Congrats on being the #1 viewed recipe on last week's Melt in Your Mouth Monday! :)

  11. They look fantastic! I will have to give them a try.

  12. I love shortbread cookies. This recipe looks tasty! Thanks for sharing. Please stop by and link up to my Share the Wealth Wednesday Link Party! I'm your newest follower!

  13. I would love it if you linked up to my Tuesday Confessional link party going on now. There is also an awesome giveaway to go with the party, so you should check it out.
    I hope to see you soon!

  14. Yummy... with a cup of coffee hummm :)

  15. I know this sounds weird but my cats love shortbread, and will eat whole cookies in a couple of minutes. Surely it can't be good for them... :l


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