Citrus Shortbread Cookies
Happy Almost-New Year’s Eve from one greasy human who has lived in a bathrobe and Ugg slippers for the past few days. I have intentionally unplugged from the interwebs and social media this last week in an effort to fully embrace all that comes with this time of year, and can I just say that it feels kinda good? Although I’ve resolved to dig in hard after the new year to bring you loads of goodies I’m going to keep my online banter on mute for now and simply settle into these last few days of December.
To keep your sweet tooth satiated for the next few days, I have these citrus shortbread cookies to share with you. It took a few batches to get the sweet to zesty ratio just right but I kinda love the outcome. These cookies are intensely buttery, yet somehow still refreshing. Coated with a simple sugary glaze and edible glitter sprinkles, these cookies are the perfect accompaniment for your glasses of bubbly and midnight kisses this coming New Year’s Eve.
To make these citrus shortbread cookies, cream together butter, citrus zest, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer until smooth. I prefer lemon here but orange and lime (or a combo of all three!) would work splendidly. Add flour, salt, and vanilla and stir until the mixture comes together into a dry dough. I found that when using a hand mixer that the dough didn’t really pack together the way I wanted, so if you have a stand mixer, use it here. Work the dough into a ball and flatten it into a round disk to chill in the fridge.
Once you’re ready to bake your citrus shortbread cookies, roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and use round cookie cutters to cut out cookies. Here’s where you have a few options: for intensely buttery, semi-crisp cookies, roll the dough out thin, about ¼” thick. These will bake up golden brown and literally melt in your mouth. Otherwise, stick with the traditional thick shortbread at ½” thick for soft, crumbly butter cookies. Both taste delicious, but while I prefer the look of thicker cookies, I definitely favor the taste and texture of the thin ones. Bake in the oven for a few minutes and allow them to cool before topping with a glaze.
I used citrus juice (lemon is my choice!) for the glaze on half of these cookies and champagne for the remaining. You don’t really catch the flavor of the champagne, but it definitely adds a little something different as opposed to more tart citrus flavor. I like to keep mini bottles of sparkling wine on hand for projects like this, but if you’d prefer to use up the juice from the citrus you zested that totally works too. Your call. For color, I used a tiny bit of red and peach food coloring to make a pink glaze, and I topped the whole thing off with edible glitter and stars. Aimee totally flipped when she saw these- maybe her favorite treat of 2018. She thought they were incredibly special, and I have to agree that the edible dust certainly works overtime on these otherwise simply cookies. You can pick some up at a craft store or purchase on Amazon like I did.
I hope you enjoy these citrus shortbread cookies and have the best time celebrating next week. On behalf of my family, this site, and myself, I want you to know what a joy you all have made this space in 2018. I’m so happy to have a home here because of you all and the love we share for butter and sugar. Many blessings, love, and cookies to you in the coming year.
If you like these citrus shortbread cookies you should try:
Citrus Shortbread Cookies
These citrus shortbread cookies are sweet and buttery cookies with zesty citrus and a lemony/champagne glaze!
- Prep Time: 10
- Cook Time: 25
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 20-40
- Category: dessert
For the cookies:
- 1-1/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons citrus zest (I prefer lemon or lime)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (vanilla extract will also work)
- 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
For the glaze:
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 3+ tablespoons lemon juice or champagne
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, and citrus zest just until combined, about 45 seconds. Add the vanilla, flour, and salt and beat on low speed until the dough starts to come together. You may have to get in there with your hands to pack it together into a dough. Work the dough into a flat, round disk and wrap it in plastic wrap. Allow it to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes while you preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- When you’re ready to bake, line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and lightly flour a work surface and rolling pin. Roll the dough out ½” thick (for softer shortbread cookies) or ¼” thick (for crispier cookies). Use 2” round cookie cutters to cut out pieces of dough and place them 2” apart on the cookie sheets. Bake in the oven until the edges turn golden, about 15 minutes for thin cookies or 22-24 minutes for thicker cookies. The browner they get, the crisiper, but don’t let them bake too long! Allow to cool completely while you prepare your glaze. Simply stir together the powdered sugar and champagne or lemon juice. You want it thick enough to where it will stay on the cookie but thin enough so that the icing isn’t glooped on there. Add food coloring and sprinkles as desired! Allow to set prior to serving.
Adapted from Ina Garten