Thursday, August 7, 2014

Vanilla Lemon Shortbread

So, I am a really avid reader.  I love to read!  If my boys are asleep I can easily lose myself in a book and then look up hours later and be mad at myself for staying up so late.  A few years ago one of my friends recommended Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series.  If you like historical fiction or love stories, I highly encourage you to pick one up.  Each book is super long and every time a new one comes out I re-read the entire series if that gives you an idea of how much I like these books.   In exciting news Starz has developed a new series based on the books!!!

The official premiere is Saturday, but they showed the first episode a week early On Demand.  We left the kids with our husbands and got together to watch the show.  The series takes place in Scotland so we decided to celebrate with a Scottish potluck.  As you can probably tell by now, my favorite thing to make is dessert so I decided to try my hand at shortbread.

It was my first experience with shortbread but all of the ladies said it was exactly how shortbread should be, buttery, crumbly, and delicious.

If you have a stand mixer, shortbread is super easy to make.  If not, you are in for a little bit of an arm workout.  You start by creaming 2 sticks of butter until it has expanded and lightened and is nice and smooth.  Then you add in sugar and granulated sugar and cream it together for a long time.  You want the sugar to be totally absorbed.

While your mixer is doing the work for you, zest a lemon and sift some flour.  Once the sugar is totally fully incorporated, beat in some vanilla paste and the lemon zest.

Add the sifted flour to the bowl, wrap it in plastic wrap, and turn your mixer on low just until the flour is incorporated.  Give it a final stir to make sure everything is mixed together.

Use a spatula to press the dough into a 9-inch springform pan and sprinkle a little sugar over the top.

Bake at 300 for 50-60 minutes, until the edges are lightly golden.  Place the pan on a cooling rack and immediately use a thin knife to divide the shortbread into wedges.  I made eight, but you could easily make sixteen.  Then take a fork and use it to make a little pattern on the top.  I made lines of dots, but you can do whatever looks nice to you.

Then let the shortbread cool in the pan for half an hour.  Remove the sides of the pan and let it cool the rest of the way on the cooling rack.  When the shortbread is cool, run a spatula underneath the shortbread to ensure it is completely loosened from the pan and then slide it onto your serving plate.

The lemon zest adds the perfect fresh burst of flavor to offset the rich, buttery shortbread.  On top of that I always love the way that vanilla complements buttery treats, and this Vanilla Lemon Shortbread is no exception.  It is the perfect cookie for any occasion!

Vanilla Lemon Shortbread
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Scotch Shortbread

  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tbls. for sprinkling
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tbls. vanilla paste
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 1/2 cups flour, sifted
  1. Preheat oven to 300.
  2. Cream butter in stand mixer for about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add in sugars and continue to beat on high until the sugar is fully absorbed, about 5 minutes.
  4. Mix in vanilla paste and lemon zest.
  5. Add in sifted flour and mix on low until just combined.
  6. Press dough into a 9-inch springform pan and sprinkle the 1 tbls. sugar over the top.  Bake 50-60 minutes, or until  the edges are lightly golden.
  7. Place the springform pan on a cooling rack and immediately use a thin knife to cut the shortbread into wedges and use a fork to decorate the top.
  8. Cool in the pan on the cooling rack for 30 minutes.  Then remove the sides of the pan and continue to cool on the cooling rack.
  9. When completely cool, slide a spatula underneath the shortbread to ensure it is loosened from the bottom of the pan and then slide the shortbread onto a serving plate.
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