Shortbread cookies are one of my favorite cookies because they aren’t super sweet. They are buttery and tender, and really easy to make. The recipe is similar to my sugar cookie recipe, except there are no eggs. Just flour, butter, powdered sugar, cornstarch and lemon zest, plus vanilla and lemon extracts to round out the flavors.
Similar to a sugar cookie, you do need to chill the dough. You can roll it into a log like I did for round cookies, or into a flattened disk to use for cut-outs. The cookies hold there shape nicely as they bake, making them perfect for decorating.
For the icing, you’ll just need the juice from the lemon you zested plus some powdered sugar. I also added a dash of lemon extract and a pinch of salt to cut through the sweetness of the sugar. The icing looks thin, but can be poured or spooned onto the cookies quite easily.
I added some yellow sprinkles for a little color and to make it a little more obvious that the cookies are lemon flavored. The icing dries fairly quickly, but you want to give it at least a half an hour to harden.
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Yellow sprinkles or additional lemon zestoptional for garnish
In a large bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy; about 2 minutes.
Beat in vanilla and lemon extracts and lemon zest.
In a medium sized bowl, whisk together flour, salt and cornstarch. Stir into the butter mixture.
On a lightly floured surface, roll and shape dough into a log. (For cut-outs, for a disc about ¼ inch thick. Wrap with plastic wrap or waxed paper and smooth. Twist the ends to close.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Slice the cookie dough log into 1/4" discs and lay them flat on the prepared cookie sheets two inches apart.
Bake in the 350 degree oven for about 13 minutes. The cookies won't appear "done." If you're uncertain, try lifting one off the cookie sheet and checking the bottom. Cool on the cookie sheets for 20 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the icing, whisk together powdered sugar and lemon juice. Lightly drizzle over cookies and top with yellow sprinkles or additional lemon zest, if desired.
Cornstarch is the secret to light textured cookies.
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Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.