It seems as if I've been on a lemon kick lately. First it was the Lemon Curd Icebox Cheesecake, then the Lemon Blueberry Marble Cake now these Lemon Cornmeal Shortbread. I even made something lemony again today- I can't get enough! I hope you guys don't mind :-)
I actually made these as a last minute treat to take to the book store to drink with my coffee :-) I know that's kind of like sneaking snacks into the movie theater, but I'm okay with that. Last week I was meeting a friend for coffee and chatting at B&N. Usually we just grab a couple of lattes, we walk around looking for a comfy chair or two and when we don't find one we head back to the noisy cafe area to chat about the weekly events. She mentioned that maybe next time we could get one of their desserts from the bakery counter and I agreed. Then I pondered that idea and changed my mind. Yes I wanted a sweet treat to accompany my beverage but I didn't want a cupcake, cereal treat or slice of cheesecake that had been sitting there for who knows how long. I wanted something fresh.
I did mention that I made these at the last minute right? When I say last minute, I mean I made these right before I hopped in the shower to meet her. They cooled while I was getting ready and I packaged them up before heading out the door while they were still a tad warm. They're simple and quick and they satisfied my craving for buttery shortbread. These shortbread fingers have the addition of lemon zest for added Summery flavor and cornmeal for a slight toothy crunch. I topped them with a little raw sugar for a little more sweetness and they were just right. They kind of reminded of lemon bars but without the gooey filling and a little more crumbly- delicious.
Lemon Cornmeal Shortbreadadapted from Fine Cooking
- 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup or 12 T.) unsalted butter, room temp.
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 Tbsp. finely grated lemon zest
- 1/2 tsp. lemon extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup finely ground yellow cornmeal
- 1/4 tsp. table salt
- 2 Tbsp. Turbinado or sparkling sugar (optional)
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and heat oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly grease the sides and bottoms of an 8x8-inch square baking pan. Line with a sheet of parchment. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine butter, sugar, lemon zest and extract. With a hand mixer, beat on medium high speed til light and creamy; about 3 minutes. Add the flour, cornmeal and salt and mix on low speed until the dough begins to form moist clumps. Dump the dough into the prepared pan.
Using a rubber spatula (I used my hand moistened with water) spread the dough into the pan in a smooth even layer. Dip the tip of a knife or a bench scraper in flour to prevent sticking and score the dough all the way through the bars. Cut the bars into finger like shapes (I cut the bars into 6 pieces on one side and 3 on the other side for a total of 18 pieces). Sprinkle the tops of the uncooked shortbread with turbinado or coarse grain sugar.
Bake until the tops look dry and are golden, about 35-40 minutes. Transfer the pan to a rack. Immediately cut the shortbread into bars using the previously scored lines as a guide (they will have faded a bit during baking). Let the bars cool completely in the pan before removing them from the pan.
NOTES: It's important to cut the shortbread as soon as it comes out the oven . If you wait til it's cooled, it will crumble when you try to cut it.
~ If you leave an overhang on the parchment paper, it will be easier to remove from the pan.