These lemony delights will be shared at the Kentville branch today and were baked by Jai Soloy, Community Engagement Assistant. The recipe can be found on page 22 of Christmas by Elizabeth Baird and Anna Hobbs.
Bake this crunchy shortbread as individual cookies or in a square pan.
1 cup (250 ml) butter, softened
1 cup (250 ml) icing sugar
2 tbsp (25 ml) poppy seeds
2 tbsp (25 ml) grated lemon rind
2 cups (500 ml) all-purpose flour
2 tbsp (25 ml) granulated sugar
In a bowl, beat butter with icing sugar until fluffy; stir in poppy seeds and lemon rind. Gradually blend in flour. Gather dough into a ball and chill for 30 minutes if sticky.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to ¼-inch (5 mm) thickness; cut into 2-inch (5 cm) rounds and place on ungreased baking sheets. (Or, press dough into a 9-inch (2.5 L) square pan; prick surface all over with a fork.) Sprinkle with the granulated sugar.
Bake in a 300°F (150°C) oven for 20 to 25 minutes for cookies, or 35 minutes for square, or until set and very faintly browned. Let cookies cool on a rack. or let large square cool in pan before cutting into bars.
Shortbread can be stored in airtight containers for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 1 month. Makes about 40 cookies or 24 bars.
Notes: We made our shortbread in a square cake pan. This is the fastest method with the least amount of cleanup.
Some general cookie baking tips:
Try to follow the recipe closely on the first attempt. If you actually taste the cookie and think it has too much or not enough of something, make a note for the second batch. Just because you like one certain ingredient on it's own is not a good enough reason to double it. This especially holds true for strong flavours like, say, lemon rind. Don't worry, "1st Day of Cookies" cookie- tasters in Kentville, I learned this lesson on an earlier batch. Not yours.
If you must double one ingredient, double all of the other ones too. Extra cookies are always welcome this time of year. If they don't have enough, say, lemon rind, they can be used to nicely pad out your cookie display.
Didn't follow my advice and ended up with a cookie that tastes too...something? Don't panic! Uneaten shortbread can be used as hay bales in a small nativity scene, or building blocks for the kids if they have to sit through a long patch of time at the grown-up table after dinner.