I have a sweet tooth. I think I inherited the gene from my Dad. He needs his piece of chocolate each night. I'm not a chocoholic like he is, but I do like a little something sweet each day. I can't eat pies and cakes every day or, if I did, I would have to exercise a lot more than I do! Cookies are my go-to sweet. They are easy to make, easy to pass out to friends and neighbors, and a cookie or two eases my craving for sweets!
After all the richness of Christmas treats I wanted something a little lighter and more plain. A shortbread cookie seemed perfect. This particular shortbread cookie has lemon zest and juice in it. The lemon flavor is very subtle but it gives it a little something extra. These cookies take no time to make and were the perfect sweet treat for my afternoon tea break.
Lemon Shortbread Cookies
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons lemon zest finely grated (I used Meyer lemons)
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg yolk
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Process sugar and lemon zest in a food processor for 30 seconds (or make sure the lemon zest is finely grated).
Cream butter, lemon zest-sugar mixture, and salt in a large bowl with a mixer at medium speed. Add in the egg yolk until well blended, then the egg, vanilla, and lemon juice. Reduce speed to low and slowly add in the flour until just combined. Divide the dough in half and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Working with one batch of dough at a time, roll out the dough to 1/4-inch thickness. (The dough is sticky so use a well-floured surface or roll between two sheets of waxed paper). Cut out shapes using cutters. ***
Bake until the cookies are slightly golden brown at the edges (about 8 minutes). After baking, immediately transfer to a cooling rack and cool to room temperature.
*** My Mom bought me this cute cookie stamp a few years ago (thanks, Mom!) I stamped the dough, then cut out with a round cookie cutter. If you don't have a cookie cutter, you can also cut out using the open end of a drinking glass.