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

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  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.

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Strawberry Tarts

I don’t know if it’s just me, but I’m automatically drawn to anything that comes in small, tiny portions.

That’s pretty much why, when I had a package of pie crust that needed to be used up, as well as a box of strawberries, I decided that I’d make these :) Though tarts of this sort normally have a shortbread crust, I was lacking a lot of ingredients, including absolutely no butter, cry. In my household, we almost NEVER buy strawberries except when they’re cheap, which is pretty much just once a year. So even though I’d gladly savour them as they are, I wanted to do something a little different and special.

These were really simple to make, especially since I didn’t make my own shortbread crust — it’s just a mix. The pastry cream is REALLY delish after it’s been chilled — cool, creamy, and best of all, not too eggy! :D It makes the perfect portion for these, which is just enough to fill 12 mini tarts. There’s really not much of a recipe to be followed  to make these, since you could use whipped cream or any kind of filling you want instead of the pastry cream. If anything, I’ll just post a recipe for the cream.

I didn’t take many pictures of  these since I was feeling uninspired the day I took them, haha. S’ALL GOOD.

Pastry Cream

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 -1/2 cups milk (divided into 1 cup and 1/2 cup)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

  1. Whisk together egg with 1/2 cup of milk. Set aside.
  2. Mix the sugar, flour and salt in a small saucepan. Stir in 1 cup of milk and mix until  smooth.
  3. Bring mixture to a boil at medium heat, whisking constantly. Be careful of clumps. Cook another 2 minutes and remove from heat; the mixture should have thickened up dramatically.
  4. Combine egg and milk mixture with the mixture in the saucepan, whisking vigorously to combine. Return to heat and cook until it just starts to boil. Keep whisking until smooth.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap directly touching the surface to prevent any skin from forming.
  6. Chill for at least an hour in the fridge before using.

OneRepublic – Waking Up

More music! :D

I actually am starting to really enjoy OneRepublic’s music, despite the overplayed Apologize (I admit, I still like that). I heard their most recent album Waking Up for the first time today, and I love it! Being only familiar with All The Right Moves prior to listening to this album, I wasn’t really sure what to expect but I was liking the album quite a lot. I love how they blend together strings and traditional sounding instruments with catchy hooks. There’s a few songs that I think STAND OUT for being so flipping good, though, like with most albums.

So here’s a short selection of my favourites:

  • All The Right Moves – well, this was kind of a no-brainer for me. I loved it from the first listen for its catchy but unique chorus and the subtle melodies in the background during the verses. Sounds pretty classic OneRepublic to me, and I love it.
  • Made For You – I can’t quite place what I love about this song so much, but I remember the first time I ran through the album, this one really stood out to me. It has a gorgeous piano line, imo. I love piano, hah.
  • Marchin On – begins with a pulsing beat, and I absolutely love the chorus with all its adlibbing. Catchy! :D
  • Secrets – ohh, I love the strings in this one. Leads into a stunning singalongble chorus (lol yeee making up words is fun). Especially love a section in the verses that is sung extremely fast (I’m bad at explaining, but you’ll notice it). Love!

Switchfoot – Hello Hurricane

YAY MUSIC

I’ve had this for quite awhile, but never got around to writing about it. I’ve been a lifelong listener of Switchfoot, pretty much, with Dare You To Move being, hands down, my favourite and earliest Switchfoot song. I didn’t like the album before this, Oh! Gravity very much, since it was louder and, I guess, quirkier than music I tend to like. In any case, I thought Hello Hurricane was a lot more subdued in a good way. Like most times, there were still tracks I didn’t like, but there were a couple of AMAZING tracks. I’ve listened to the album so many times that all the songs have pretty much grown on me, but the amazing tracks still remain:

  • Always – AHHH!! I listen to this one all the time as a pick me up, since the lyrics are so simple yet satisfying [lyrics excerpt below]. I love the gentle melody that perfectly delivers those heartfelt lyrics. Definitely, by far, my favourite off this album. It’s next to Dare You To Move for me in terms of awesome. Aw ye.

“This is the star, this is your heart
This is the day you were born
This is the sun, these are your lungs
This is the day you were born.
And I am always, always, always yours
And I am always, always, always yours.”
– from Always

  • Enough To Let Me Go – begins with some really catchy guitar that I love, and the whole song manages to be soft and subdued yet catchy. Sounds really comforting :)

  • Your Love Is A Song – probably a little more epic sounding compared to the other two, haha. At the same time, it still carries the same soft sound as the rest of the album, with a gorgeous chorus. I especially love the lyrics in the chorus – your love is a symphony, all around me, running through me ~ Good stuff. :)

Snow Patrol – Run


Listened to this way too many times already, but I’m still in love with it. I adore the instrumentals as well as the softly spoken verses. And, of course, the chorus…ridiculously good. I still keep coming back to listen to it randomly.

“I’ll sing it one last time for you
Then we really have to go
You’ve been the only thing that’s right
In all I’ve done
And I can barely look at you
But every single time I do
I know we’ll make it anywhere
Away from here

Light up, light up
As if you have a choice
Even if you cannot hear my voice
I’ll be right beside you dear.”

– excerpt from Run

Stars – The Five Ghosts

Wow. I love you, Stars.

I haven’t blogged about music in awhile (my fault, really, hehhh), but I just had my first listen of Stars’ latest album, The Five Ghosts. It is by no means mainstream, so I don’t know if everyone’d like it, but if you have a similar taste in music you’ll love it. Actually, this isn’t even normally the kind of thing I like in particular, but it still impressed me. Most of the tracks on this album, I’d say, are not at all cheery though. This album is more on the mellow side, with a couple of AMAZING tracks, drool. I actually don’t really like their more popular but upbeat stuff, like Ageless Beauty, so this is perfect for me. Like always, their lyrics are downright amazing. I’ll stop rambling now :)

Some particularly amazing tracks (I’m pretty much picking my favourites, which are always the most mellow):

  • Dead Hearts – I’ve always loved her angelic voice, and coupled with these incredibly well written (but sad) lyrics = instant win for me. You have got to read the lyrics to this as they sing, it’ll break your heart.
  • Wasted Daylight – Verses are mediocre for me, but amazing chorus. Once the song picks up, it never loses its momentum – it’s awesome. I don’t mind, I don’t mind, this wasted, shaded daylight…
  • The Last Song Ever Written – READ THE LYRICS [see below for an excerpt]. Makes me inexplicably sad. Quite the chill sounding song throughout, and I particularly like the part where the girl (Amy) sings her part so quietly it’s hard to make out what she says.
  • “This is the last song that was ever written
    Melody is over and done
    All of the words we sing erase each other
    You only need songs when you’re young.
    There was a strange goodbye outside the station
    There was a letter three weeks later in the mail
    We didn’t know we knew you till we lost you
    You tried to leave us all alone, we wish you had failed

    We’re gonna sing a song without words
    And a tune you haven’t heard in a long time
    Not since the year you were two
    And she sang to you in the wintertime
    And it goes la, la, la, la…”

    – from The Last Song Ever Written

DevART Update

Just some recent stuff I’ve added to my DeviantART – click the thumbnails to see. I don’t know if anyone visits my DA so I’ll post it here as a filler post, LOL.

Will do a  real post sooner or later, haha!