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Lemon-Poppy Seed Shortbread


Now that I’m home for more than a whirlwind tour, I have big plans. Naturally, I’d like to catch up on quality time with my bed. Additionally, I want to exercise and counteract that physical activity by baking a lot. I tell myself I don’t like to bake, but then I look at my list of bookmarked recipes and the majority are baked goods of all genres. Of course, the reason I don’t like baking is simple: it’s hard to recover from mistakes. Like yesterday, when I made the dough for the Claudia Fleming’s Lemon-Poppy Seed Shortbread that I first saw and bookmarked on The Kitchen Sink, who found them at Lottie + Doof, two of my favorite new blogs discovered in the midst of finals procrastination. I learned how to cook from my mother who hardly ever uses recipes. In fact, she made me a cookbook as a Channukah present a few years ago–the majority of the recipes either have no measurements or the quantities are inaccurate. It’s also half in English and half in Spanish (sometimes within the same recipe), but that’s a different story. The point of this story is that baking is challenging for me because I actually have to pay attention and can’t just throw things into a pot.

Anyway, yesterday, I was making the shortbread dough, perhaps a bit distracted and a bit rushed. As I put the dough in cling wrap to refrigerate it, I took a pinch to get a feel for the flavor and it tasted a bit odd. I went to look at the recipe and noticed that it called for half a teaspoon of salt. A quick lick of the 1/2 tablespoon confirmed my suspicions–too much salt!

I decided to bake them anyway and they are quite good, though perhaps a bit salty. Regardless of the extra salt’s presence in the dough, the lemon and poppy seed flavors do come out and the texture is wonderful–crunchy, yet soft. Plus they are so fun to look at! Ignoring my careless mistake, this recipe is easy and quick–it took me less than fifteen minutes to make the dough–and it’s great because you can make the dough in advance and have it in the freezer to whip out cookies for on-the-spot entertaining.

The recipe is explicit in stating that after cutting out your cookies, you can’t roll the dough out again, so I took all of the scraps and made tiny bite-sized rectangles and triangles, which were a prefect compliment to the afternoon cafe con leche my dad made us after lunch.

Lemon-Poppy Seed Shortbread
from Claudia Fleming, The Last Course

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until creamy and smooth, about two minutes. Add the lemon juice, zest and vanilla and beat well.

In a bowl, combine the flour, poppy seeds, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix until combined. Form the dough into a disk and, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 3 hours and up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 months.

Preheat oven to 300°. Roll out the dough between two sheets of wax paper until it is 1/4-inch-thick. Return dough to refrigerator for an additional 30 minutes. Cut the shortbread into shapes with a cookie cutter, or use a knife to cut rectangles, and place 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Do not reroll scraps, if using cookie cutter. (Scraps make for excellent nibbles, though!) Prick shortbread with a fork and bake until pale golden all over, 23 to 25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. cookbookapprentice permalink
    01/01/2010 2:55 AM

    These look wonderful! I love lemon poppyseed muffins and never had cookies like this. Happy new year!

    • orangeideal permalink
      01/01/2010 8:45 PM

      That’s exactly what I loved about them! They remind my of lemon poppyseed muffins I ate as a kid, but with the crunch of a cookie (and less mess from crumbs).

  2. 01/01/2010 7:00 AM

    yum! this sounds wonderful!

  3. 01/01/2010 1:52 PM

    Awesome shortbread poppy seed cookies! Love it!!! Nice blog.

  4. 01/01/2010 4:34 PM

    Those cookies looks so pretty and good! Welcome to the foodie blogroll!!

    • orangeideal permalink
      01/03/2010 10:53 AM

      Thanks for the welcome and enjoy the cookies!

  5. 01/03/2010 10:46 AM

    Lemon poppyseed shortbread – never heard of it but this sounds absolutely wonderful! A must try, thank you.

    • orangeideal permalink
      01/03/2010 10:53 AM

      Thanks for visiting–hope you enjoy it!

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