This is cookie week at the Food Network’s #ComfortFoodFest! I thought I would share one of my favorite cookies of all time, shortbreads. Rich, buttery and subtly sweet, they are perfect with a cup of tea or coffee for a soothing break from the hassles of a challenging day.
I usually only flavor them with vanilla but this time I wanted to add Meyer lemons, the most beautiful lemon and only available for a short time each winter. Meyers are sweeter and more floral than the typical lemon you find in stores. They are smaller, deeper in color, and have a very delicate nearly smooth skin. Each year I wait with bated breath for the first fruits to arrive in stores.
This year I was extremely lucky because one of my friends who has a couple of trees and shared her harvest with me! She handed me a large bag filled with Meyers and I nearly swooned as I smelled their lovely fragrance. Yep, I love them that much! Thank you dear Cathy for your generous gift. I see a bottle of Limoncello in your future!
If you haven’t baked with Meyer lemons before, do yourself a favor and buy some. They are my personal favorite for baking and add the most intoxicating flavor and aroma. They are also fabulous in savory dishes, but I usually save the delicate taste for cookies, cakes, breads, and other sweets.
One of man’s greatest culinary creations is fruit curd. Despite what you might think, it is nothing like cottage cheese. That’s what I used to think before I tried it the first time. It is a creamy, luscious, slightly tart citrus pudding. Lemon is the most common curd but you can make it with any type of citrus – orange, kumquat, grapefruit, etc. Typically served at English teas with cream scones. If you preserve it, you can enjoy the flavor all year long!
You need to be careful about canning lemon curd because it isn’t as acidic as normal jams and preserves. Follow the directions at this link to preserve your jars in a water bath and make sure you keep it refrigerated after opening the jar. The curd will last a couple of weeks in the refrigerator. For a plethora of mouthwatering recipes, check out my friend Sean Timberlake’s website, Punk Domestics. You will fall in LOVE with that site and you won’t come up for air for weeks. Don’t blame me if your family starts grumbling that you’re never available ~ I warned you, LOL!
Shortbread can range from sandy to creamy and may hit every texture in between. My version is delicate but not particularly sandy and not at all gritty. It is almost as if you take a bite and it immediately melts on your tongue. I’ve tried many shortbread cookies over the years and these are my absolute favorites. I was a little concerned when I had to convert them to gluten-free, but if anything they are even better! If you are baking with gluten-free flours, using Authentic Foods Superfine flours in your blends makes all the difference! You will never get any grittiness in your baked goods and people will have trouble telling that anything you make is gluten-free!
Lemon curd is the taste of pure happiness for me I can eat it with a spoon, but when you combine it with these delicate, perfectly buttery cookies, it takes on a whole new level of fabulous! Thank goodness the recipe only makes about 30 cookies because I would eat them all in one sitting. When The Artist gets up in the morning, he and I are going to have to negotiate to make sure we both get the same number of cookies. Yep, this is one cookie that requires a signed contract so you get your fair share, LOL!
Have a fabulous weekend and make sure you check out all the cookie recipes at the end of the post – they are outstanding! And don’t miss the entire collection for all seasons on our Pinterest page.
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
The amount of sugar you use will depend on the sourness of the fruit and how sweet you like your desserts. Taste and make adjustments as needed.
Substituting my gluten-free flour blend made no difference in these cookies – if anything they are even more delicate and delicious than the ones I’ve been making for years!
Meyer Lemon Shortbread Cookies with Meyer Lemon Curd (Gluten-Free)
© 2014 Jane Bonacci, The Heritage Cook. All rights reserved.
Yield: about 30 to 32 cookies
Meyer Lemon Curd
8 large egg yolks
1 cup freshly squeezed Meyer Lemon juice
2 tsp freshly grated Meyer lemon zest
1-1/2 to 1-3/4 cups granulated sugar
10 tbsp chilled butter, cut into cubes
3/4 cup cornstarch (gluten-free if needed)
1 cup all-purpose flour or gluten-free all-purpose flour blend
1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 tbsp confectioners’ sugar (gluten-free if needed)
2 tsp pure organic vanilla extract
1 tbsp finely grated Meyer Lemon zest
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting, optional
Make Meyer Lemon Curd: In a 3-quart saucepan, whisk the egg yolks until smooth. Add the lemon juice, zest, and sugar. Whisk until sugar has been dissolved into the liquids. Turn the heat on to medium-high and cook, stirring constantly, until it comes to a full boil. Cook for 1 minute then reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 10 to 12 minutes.
You want a tart curd but not so tart that it makes you pucker. Carefully (because it is hot) taste the mixture and add more sugar if needed. If you add more, put it back on the heat and cook for another minute to make sure the sugar if completely dissolved.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the butter, one piece at a time, waiting until each is completely melted before adding more. After all the butter has been added and melted, whisk until completely incorporated and smooth.
Pour the thickened curd into a heatproof bowl, press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface (to keep a skin from forming), and let cool to room temperature. Place in the refrigerator and chill until thick, about an hour. The curd will appear solid, but remains soft and pudding-like. The curd will keep up to a week, covered, in the refrigerator if you want to make this ahead.
If you want to preserve the curd for longer storage, prepare a water bath, have clean canning jars and lids ready, and follow the directions here.
Prepare the Cookies: Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, flour and salt until thoroughly blended.
In the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth; add sugar and mix until combined. Add cornstarch-flour mixture, blending well. Add the vanilla and beat it until smooth. Refrigerate dough for about 10 minutes to make it easier to handle.
Portion dough into pieces with about 2 tbsp of dough each using a spring-loaded scoop, roll into balls and place on parchment-lined cookie sheets about 1-inch apart. Flatten each ball with the bottom of a dampened and sugared glass. Dip a flat-bottomed glass into water then into granulated sugar; press onto dough to flatten. Repeat moistening and sugaring as needed.
Use the rounded side of a measuring spoon (I used the tablespoon) to press an indentation into the top of each cookie. This will help make an area to hold the curd once the cookies are baked.
Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until just barely colored on the edges – do not over bake. Let cookies cool on the baking sheet for several minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool thoroughly.
If you want to make the dough ahead, you can roll it into a log, wrap with parchment paper and then seal with a layer of plastic wrap. Freeze or refrigerate until ready to bake. Slice the log into small disks, roll into balls and bake as directed above.
Finish the Cookies: Place the cooled cookies onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Using a serving spoon, scoop some of the lemon curd into a piping bag fitted with a round tip. Pipe a small dollop of curd onto the top center of each cookie. Set cookies aside to allow the curd to firm up slightly. If making ahead, place a second baking sheet upside down on top of the cookies and refrigerate. Set out to warm up to room temperature about 30 minutes before serving.
Alternately, you can sandwich two cookies together with a dollop of lemon curd in between. This is the preferred preparation if you are going to transport these to an event. The curd is too soft to stack the cookies.
When ready to serve, transfer cookies to a serving platter. Place a couple tablespoons of confectioners’ sugar in a fine wire sieve and tap it over the top of cookies to lightly dust them. Serve immediately.
You can use the leftover lemon curd on waffles, toast, and baked goods such as scones. It also makes a fantastic gift for family and friends. If you want you can also use it to fill a small tart crust. Top with whipped cream or a meringue if you like.
Create a New Tradition Today!
This recipe is part of Food Network’s weekly Comfort Food Fest. See the links below for more inspiration and great recipes!
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Quinoa Oat Cookies
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: French Palmiers
Weelicious: Homemade Oreo Cookies
Devour: Top 5 Chocolate Cookies
Taste With The Eyes: A Korean Sweet Treat – Hwa Jeon with Honey and Flower Petals
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Cornmeal Thumbprint Cookies with Chocolate Ganache Filling
Red or Green: Chocolate, Almond and Ginger Cookies
Domesticate Me: Healthy Dark Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookies with Cherries and Sea Salt
Food for 7 Stages of Life: Rose and Cardamon Nankhatai (Eggless Indian Shortbread Cookies)
Virtually Homemade: Oatmeal Caramel Skillet cookie with Marshmallows and Chocolate
The Sensitive Epicure: Almond Butter Cookies (Gluten-Free)
FN Dish: Cookie Comfort
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