Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cookie Jars :: Lemon Zest Shortbread

Last night, with way too many things on my to-do list, I decided to not do any of them and instead: bake cookies! So much more fun. Well, I rationalized it with the fact that the holidays less than 2 months away so it's really time to start picking/testing cookie recipes. :-)

The truth was that I had bought a new cookie cutter in the morning and could not wait to try it. Especially when I realized that the size fit perfectly into my glass jars! (...yes, I know, I am obsessed with these) But how cute are these glass jars filled with cookies? I wanted a cookie that would keep well for a few days, so I came up with Lemon Zest Shortbread cookie jars. A few jars for us, and a few to share.

Shortbread is the most basic cookie recipe: flour, butter, sugar, and a bit of vanilla. That's it! It's a Scottish tradition, dating back to the 12h century. It's name coming The traditional recipe is 3 parts flour, 1 part sugar, and basically for every cup of flour, 1 stick of butter. This is all about the ingredients, so you need to use good quality butter and pure vanilla extract. When researching shortbreads I found out that butter has a rating system (who knew!). Look on the box and look for a "AA" rating. As for vanilla, I *heart* Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Vanilla.

I think it's the perfect holiday cookie... Picture a snowy holiday morning, staring out the window, with a big cup of tea and little shortbread cookies.

PS: I'll warn you... there are alot of pictures of cookies coming up! Sorry, but what better way to start the weekend than cookies? :-)

Enjoy! Happy Friday.

3 cups of all-purpose flour
1 cup fine sugar (or powdered sugar)
3 sticks unsalted butter
1 teaspoon of vanilla (pure, not vanilla extract)
1/4 teaspoon of salt
*Optional: Zest of 2 lemons

Preheat the oven to 350F. Combine the butter and sugar with a hand blender until creamy. In a separate bowl mix the flour and salt. Add the flour and salt to the butter and eggs, along with the vanilla and lemon zest. Continue to mix with a hand blender until the dough has started to come together.

Place the dough on a light floured surface. With your hands shape the dough into a large disk. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

Roll the dough to 1/4" thick and cut your cookies. You can use a cookie cutter, or use a pairing knife and a ruler and make straight cuts along the dough to get rectangular cookies. To bake, place on top of parchment paper or on a lightly buttered and greased cookie sheet, and into the oven for 20 minutes or until the edges start to brown. (At this point - you could also freeze the dough).

Remove the cookies from the baking sheet and allow them to cool on a rack. I don't own a cookie rack, so I use the rack from my microwave oven. It does the trick!

When the cookies are at room temperature, store them in air tight containers. They will keep for over a week.

Enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea for dunking. :-)


Mae said...

Hi! I found your blog via my friend Sofie - who swears by your cooking, and thought I'd enjoy reading your blog because I like to cook as well!

Just thought I'd say hi and introduce myself!


Joanna Goddard said...

oh my goodness, we LOVED these!!!!! thank you so much!!!!!! xoxo joanna

337 Greenwich said...

Hi Mae - Welcome to 337! I'm glad your friend forwarded on the address. :-) Hope you enjoy!

337 Greenwich said...

Hi Joanna - Glad you enjoyed the cookies! :-)

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