Zesty Citrus Shortbread

It wouldn’t be the holiday season without delicious, seasonal cookies. Shortbreads are one of my favourite cookies. I have my stalwart recipes–hazelnut shortbreads, pinwheel shortbreads, and chocolate sables. But I also like to try new recipes in my quest for the “perfect” shortbread recipe.

Shortbread supposedly has its origins in medieval Britain, where it began as as twice-baked bread, sometimes sweetened and spiced. The shortbread that we know today appeared in 18th century Scotland. Because of the expensive ingredients (especially sugar), it was reserved for holiday celebrations.

I saw a recipe a month ago in the Canadian House and Home magazine for a Scottish shortbread. It sounded but promising, but needed a bit of zing. So I made a batch, adding some fresh citrus zest. Any sort of citrus zest would work–clementine would be delicious, as would grapefruit. I settled on a combination of lemon and lime.

To store shortbread, keep them in a wax paper-lined cookie tin rather than a plastic container–they will stay fresh and retain their delicate texture longer!

Zesty Citrus Shortbread

3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
1 tsp citrus zest (I used the zest of one lime and half a lemon)
2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup rice flour
1 tsp salt

1. Preheat oven to 275F.
2. Add sugar and citrus zest to food processor. Grind sugar and zest together for a few seconds. Add butter, and process until butter and sugar are smoothly incorporated.
3. Add flour, rice flour, and salt. Run food processor until mixture is combined. OR scrape butter and sugar mixture into a bowl, and add dry ingredients. Stir by hand until combined, and the mixture forms a uniform batter.
4. Wrap dough in cling film and let chill in refrigerator for a half hour.
Divide dough in half. On lightly floured surface, roll out dough into 1/4 inch thickness.
5. Using a 2 inch cookie cutter (round or square), cut dough. You can reroll dough scraps once, but avoid rerolling too many times or dough will become tough.
6. Place on ungreased cookie sheets, about 1 inch apart. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until cookies are a creamy colour.

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