Monday, September 21, 2009

Lemon Shortbread Cookies and a Gift Basket

Our friends recently had their third child, a beautiful baby girl. We wanted to send a gift, but what do you send the proud parents who probably already have most of the baby things they need from the first two children? What does a mother who has three small children really need? Speaking from my own experience, I'd say the parents probably need some sleep and little peace and serenity. I can't help too much with their lack of sleep, but maybe they might look forward to a special treat with a cup of tea at naptime. So we sent a pink package filled with vanilla almond biscotti, lemon shortbread cookies, and raspberry streusel bars, a tea sampler, and a book for baby. The little pink "suitcase" can be used later for doll's clothing or to keep extra wipes or burp cloths looking neat in the baby's bedroom.

These shortbread cookies are a perfect teatime snack. I used the recipe for basic shortbread from Martha Stewart's Cookies and added a little lemon zest (orange would be good too). I rolled the dough out and used a cookie cutter to cut fluted rectangles. They had a nice, sandy texture and terrific flavor. Keep an eye on them and bake them until the edges are just beginning to brown.

Recommended tools: Microplane zester, Silpat baking mat or parchment paper

Lemon Shortbread Cookies
adapted from Martha Stewart's Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp table salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
zest of one lemon

Sift together flour and salt into a bowl. Put butter into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until fluffy, 3-5 minutes, scraping down the sides of bowl when needed. Gradually add the confectioners' sugar and lemon zest; beat until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture all at once; mix until just combined. Shape dough into a small, flat round and wrap with plastic. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F with rack in the center of oven. Roll dough out to 1/4-inch thickness, using a small amount of flour on the work surface and rolling pin to prevent sticking. Cut into desired shapes and place cookies on a Silpat-lined baking sheet. Place the cookie sheet in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. Bake until cookies a just starting to turn golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Cool completely on the cookie sheet.


  1. That is a charming gift. It's something even us babyless types would love to have (with an a adult book, of course.)

  2. This is the perfect gift. I remember when my kids were "new", Food was my gift of choice.



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