The temperatures are still in the teens. I was hopeful this bizarre weather would continue and we would have Phoenix temperatures into the spring. But NO! Suddenly mother nature remembered it’s winter.
It’s easy to fall into a funk in January. The days are grey and the air biting. I find it hard to stay motivated and can lean to feeling a little down.
The other day as I was fighting back winter blues by wandering the aisles of the local grocery store I discovered the most beautiful Meyer Lemons. I feel it’s important to explain that the local grocery store in our small town is “The Walmart”. It’s important you add the word “the” if you’d like to feel like a local. You don’t go to the gas station you go to “the Maverick”. If you want to go to a movie you go to “The Towne Theatre” and if you want to buy groceries you go to “The Walmart.” When you live in a small town every outing is significant because when you go out, you’re bound to see just about everybody you know especially at “The Walmart”!
“The Walmart” is the ONLY large grocery store within sixty miles which means the shelves can be pretty picked over and because it’s one of the smallest Walmarts in the country the selection is pretty slim to begin with. So going to “The Walmart” looking for a specific ingredient is a bit of a crap shoot. I’ve learned to not even bother with grocery lists and instead just grab what looks good and try to figure out what to do with the found ingredients when I get home.
One this dreary January day the citrus fruit was glorious!
I loaded up with Ruby Red grapefruit, deep green limes and clementines. It’s been citrus heaven around our house. Lately, I’ve been craving shortbread cookies. It’s just such a comforting little butter cookie. I love the simplicity of shortbread—the delicate crumb, the buttery sweet layers. It reminds me of pastry. And you know how I LOVE pastry! Lemon shortbread is a perfect combination. It’s not overwhelmingly sweet and since you’re using fresh fruit it’s practically a health food! *wink, wink*
And what could possibly be a better way to push those winter blues away than Sunny Iced Lemon Shortbread cookies! Shortbread is a dream to make anyway because it’s a snap to create, keeps for weeks and can be sweetened if you need a sugar fix or toned down to make a more subtle buttery texture similar to European biscuits.
This recipe takes a standard shortbread adds fresh lemon juice and zest to the dough for a subtle lemony flavor similar to the crust of a lemon bar. The shortbread alone pairs perfectly with a cold glass of milk or… if really want to crank up the sweet lemon flavor and impress the neighbors cover the bars in lemon icing and cut into bars. It is out of this world!
I promise you won’t be disappointed. Unless you’re trying to keep your new years resolution. Then you might feel a little bit guilty after your fifth cookie. Except these are practically a health food remember?!
Be warned, these cookies can be pretty addicting. I think it’s the sweet, salty combination of the dough with the sweet sour icing. So yummy.
So keep a plate for yourself and one to share! Or eat them all yourself and enjoy cookies for days!
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 Tbls cornstarch
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup butter, softened slightly but still firm
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- juice from two lemons
- zest from two lemons
- 3 cups confectioners sugar
- 1-4 Tbls milm
- juice from one lemon
- zest from one lemon (only the yellow part) reserve one tsp for garnish.
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 9 x 9 baking pan with aluminum foil with sides overlapping.
- With electric mixer cream butter until light and fluffy. Add confectioners sugar and mix until light and fluffy and very creamy. The mixture may appear powdery at first but keep mixing until the sugar is completely incorporated and creamy. Add lemon zest and juice from lemons.
- Sift salt and cornstarch into flour and whisk until combined. Add flour to butter mixture and carefully mix until just combined and looks like course meal. If dough is sticky and wet add additional flour 1/4 tsp at a time until dough just holds together when pressed between your finger and thumb (you want the dough SLIGHTLY crumbly so cookies will have the classic shortbread crumb.
- Press into the prepared baking pan bake at 325 F. degrees for 30 minutes until edges are barely golden brown. Cool completely in baking pan.
- With a hand mixture combine sifted confectioners sugar and zest. Add one tablespoon milk and juice from one lemon. Blend until fully combined and smooth. Mixture will be thick. Add additional milk one tablespoon at a time until icing runs off beaters in thick smooth ribbons.
- Pour icing onto shortbread cookies and spread until smooth. Sprinkle with reserved zest and allow icing to set.
- After icing is set remove cookies from pan by CAREFULLY lifting on aluminum foil. Remove foil and cut into bars.
- Store in airtight container. Shortbread will keep for up to 10 days at room temperature. Or freeze unfrosted cookies for up to six months.