Friday, March 21, 2014

Lemon Shortbread Cookies

Yesterday, I was in a little bit of a bind.  My friend Yvette was coming over for coffee and I had nothing to serve with it…literally nothing.  I needed to give Gabby lunch, put her down for a nap and figure out how to make my coffee break delicious.  As I was laying with Gabby, I tried brain storming for a quick recipe that required minimal ingredients because I also needed to go to the grocery store (the "to do" list never ends).  Then, I thought of it…shortbread!  In honor of the first day of spring, I wanted to add something that would reflect the change of season.  I recently bought this beautiful bag of organic lemons and I knew a lemon would work perfectly.  This recipe is so quick and simple - most of the ingredients are probably sitting in your refrigerator.  Another great aspect is that these cookies are nut free, egg free, soy free and can be made dairy free very easily.  Everyone can enjoy these delicious little treats and they are mouth watering.  Rich and buttery with a subtle hint of refreshing lemon, makes a perfect compliment for afternoon coffee or tea.  And when Gabby woke up and Mason came home from school, there was a great little snack waiting for them.  Enjoy these scrumptious cookies and happy spring!  

*The secret to this recipe is ice cold, good quality butter.  Also, the dough needs to sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes but in a time crunch, the freezer for 15 works well too!

La Recette:  

1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus more for dusting
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
1 cup gluten free baking mix
1/2 teaspoon sea salt like Maldon or kosher salt works too
1/2 cup cold, unsalted butter cut in small cubes
3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

*If you need this recipe to be dairy free, replace the butter with Earth Balance vegan sticks and use a non-dairy creamer instead of the heavy whipping cream.  If you don't need this recipe to be GF, replace with all purpose flour and add a pinch of baking soda.

-In a blender or food processor, combine the sugar and lemon zest.  Pulse until well combined and set aside.
-In the bowl of a stand mixer using a paddle attachment or in a medium bowl using a hand mixer, combine the gluten free baking mix, butter, and salt.  Beat on a low speed until the dough looks crumbly.  2-3 minutes.  Add the sugar mixture, cream and vanilla and beat until the dough comes together.  Do not over beat.
-Remove the dough from the mixer and roll it into a 10 inch log.

-Wrap the dough in plastic and put it in the refrigerator for a least 30 minutes or the freezer for 15 minutes.  Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

-After the dough has chilled, slice it into 1/4 inch rounds

-Place the rounds on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and give a light sprinkle with granulated sugar. 

-Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes or until lightly browned.  Let them cool on the baking sheet and serve immediately.  They can be kept in an airtight container for 4-5 days and the dough can be kept in the freezer for up to one month.

-Make sure you leave ample space in between the cookies.  I put them a little too close together.  Maybe three cookies per row.  
-If you are working in batches, make sure the dough that isn't in the oven, stays in the refrigerator.   
-Makes 24-28 cookies.

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