Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Lemon Shortbread

Another great recipe from "Tartine", my new favorite cookbook. My prior post was about a recipe from this book also : Gingerbread cookies, and they were delicious. I feel very happy when I find a good cookbook, and excited about trying all of its recipes! People who worked on this book did a wonderful job and deserve a big: Thank you!
Lemon Shortbread

I don't know what are the origins of shortbread but I guess every country has its own version. In Algeria we have something similar called "Ghribia". Very tender, melt in your mouth cookies made into different shapes (pyramid shape happens to be the most popular) and decorated with an almond. Some versions have ground almonds or peanuts in the dough. The way these cookies are made is a little different from the "American" shortbread but both have almost the same taste and texture.

The original recipe didn't call for lemon zest nor vanilla, but I added some for extra flavor. Shortbread is so rich and the lemon zest adds a hint of freshness and lightens up these cookies.

Lemon Shortbread Cookies (Adapted from "Tartine")

1 cup + 2 tbsp unsalted butter, very soft.
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 3/4 cups + 2 tbsp all purpose flour.
1/2 cup +2 tbsp cornstarch.
1/4 tsp salt (reduced from the original 1/2 tsp).
Zest of 1 lemon.
1/2 tsp vanilla extract.
1/4 cup superfine sugar for topping.


1- preheat the oven to 325. Butter a 6-by-10 inch baking pan.

2- Place the butter, the 1/3 cup of sugar and salt in a mixing bowl and mix well with a wooden spoon. Add the lemon zest and vanilla extract and mix until well incorporated.

3- Sift the flour and cornstarch. Add to the butter mixture and mix until a smooth dough forms.

4- Pat the dough evenly into the baking dish and bake until the top in lightly browned, about 30 minutes. Let cool the shortbread until warm to the touch.

5- Sprinkle the shortbread with the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and cut into rectangles. If the cookies have become cold they will not slice well, so try to cut them while still warm. chill thoroughly before removing from the baking dish.