Lemon Shortbread Cookies

I made these for the first time last summer, but I never posted about them. I tried making them again yesterday, and they turned out yummy! Crumbly and buttery, just like how shortbread should be, but brightened up with lemon. Mmm…

These took longer than I thought they would, although most of that time was spent waiting for the dough to chill to make the cookies easier to cut out. And doing dishes. Uh, and watching Fairly Odd Parents. >_> DUN JUDGE

Although shortbread can be left uniced, I decided I wanted to pretty them up with the simple sugar cookie icing I always use. I just mixed together half a cup of icing sugar, 1 teaspoon milk and 1 teaspoon of corn syrup, mixed it all together, and piped it on the cooled cookies. It hardens when it dries and when fully dried, the cookies can be stacked with no problem :) They also add a slight sweetness to the cookies, since the shortbreads themselves aren’t very sweet.

I ended up making quite a few — enough to fill a box for my parents to take to work as well as a box to keep at home to snack on, nom. I cut mine quite small, but if you used average sized cookie cutters you’d probably end up with about 2 dozen. I had at LEAST 3 dozen, mainly because I made a lot of those tiny hearts, hehe.

I threw in quite a lot of lemon zest to brighten up the flavours a bit, and also cause I LOVE LEMON. Honestly, I think one lemon would probably already do the job, but I couldn’t help it and had to throw in another. The third one up there in the photo wasn’t zested, it’s just up there for kicks. NAKED LEMONS OMG wut

Onto the recipe:

Lemon Shortbread Cookies

Makes: 3 dozen+ small cookies, 2 dozen regular sized cookies


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar (you could use granulated sugar if you wanted it sweeter, but icing sugar gives them a more delicate texture. I might use granulated sugar next time since they weren’t sweet enough on their own, or at least increase the icing sugar)
  • Zest of 1 large lemon (I used 2, but frankly, 1 should be enough)
  • 1-3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Combine flour and cornstarch in a bowl.
  2. Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl (about 2-3 minutes). Beat in vanilla. Add lemon zest and blend well. Gently stir in flour mixture until just incorporated. Flatten dough into a disk shape, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for at least an hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheet(s) with parchment paper.
  4. Roll dough out until about 1/4″ thick. Cut with cookie cutters or a knife. Arrange cookies on baking sheet. (If at any time the dough begins to stick too much and gets too hard to work with, just put the whole tray into the fridge to let it firm up for maybe, 10, 15 minutes before taking it out to work with it again.)
  5. Bake for 12-14 minutes in preheated oven or until cookies or lightly brown. Cool on rack. Decorate if desired.

By the way, I don’t know if you noticed, but I tried a different style for this set of photos. I tried making the setup a bit more detailed, adjusted the exposure and in postprocessing, I tried a more “artsy” style. I think it looks a little more homey and less “overly clean”, I guess. I dunno if I like it more, since it’s obviously Photoshopped, but I think it gives a nice effect. :) Might do more of this instead.

  1. Yum! Lemon just makes everything better, especially in summer! These look refreshing and yet still satisfying as a delicious cookie! Awesome!

      • Cheryl Li
      • August 11th, 2010

      Thanks! I love lemon and vanilla in almost everything, haha :)

  2. What lovely cookies and shots!



      • Cheryl Li
      • August 11th, 2010

      Thank you!

  3. What pretty cookies, I like the pictures too!

      • Cheryl Li
      • August 12th, 2010

      Thanks! :)

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