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closeup of lemon shortbread cookies

Lemon Shortbread Cookies

Classic lemon shortbread cookies are crisp, buttery, and melt in your mouth delicious. Lemon zest and lemon glaze take this cookie over the top! A lemon lover's dream come true!
5 from 4 votes
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Prep Time: 1 min
Cook Time: 12 mins
chilling: 2 hrs
Total Time: 2 hrs 13 mins
Serves: 48 cookies
Calories: 91kcal

Ingredients

Lemon Shortbread Cookies

  • 8 ounces (227 g) unsalted butter, room temperature 1 cup
  • 6 ounces (170 g) granulated sugar 1 cup
  • 1 large (50 g) egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 12 ounces (340 g) all-purpose flour 2 cups
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon citric acid optional, just adds an extra lemon-tart flavor

Lemon Glaze

  • 7 ounces (198 g) powdered sugar, sifted 1 3/4 cups
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice plus more if needed

Instructions

  • Whisk together your flour, salt, and citric acid in a bowl and set it aside.
  • Cream your softened butter and sugar together in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment for 1-2 minutes until it's light and fluffy.
  • Add in the room temperature egg, lemon extract, and zest and mix until combined.
  • While mixing on low, add the flour mixture to the egg mixture until the dough just begins to stick together. Do not over-mix.
  • Divide the dough in half and roll into logs about 3" in diameter. Roll in sanding sugar sprinkles if you desire. It adds a nice sparkle to the finished cookie.
  • Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for two hours or overnight.
  • Preheat your oven to 350ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Slice your lemon shortbread dough into 1/4" thick slices. Arrange them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper with about 1" of space in between each cookie. They won't spread.
  • Bake at 350°F (180°C) for 12-14 min until slightly golden brown around edges.
  • Let your cookies cool for 5 minutes then carefully transfer them to a cooling rack to fully cool down.

Lemon Glaze

  • Sift your powdered sugar and whisk in your lemon juice. Add more if the glaze is too thick.
  • Drizzle the glaze over the cookies with a spoon or a piping bag. The glaze will fully set up after 24 hours and then the cookies can be stacked or packaged.

Notes

BEFORE YOU START

1. Bring all your ingredients to room temperature or even a little warm (eggs, buttermilk, butter, etc) to ensure your batter does not break or curdle. 
2. Use a scale to weigh your ingredients (including liquids) unless otherwise instructed (Tablespoons, teaspoons, pinch etc). Metric measurements are available in the recipe card. Scaled ingredients are much more accurate than using cups and help ensure the success of your recipe. 
3. Practice Mise en Place (everything in it's place). Measure out your ingredients ahead of time and have them ready before you start mixing to reduce the chances of accidentally leaving something out.

TIPS FOR THE BEST SHORTBREAD COOKIES

  • Don't over-mix your dough or you'll end up with chewy shortbread instead of crisp.
  • I find these cookies to be the easiest if I make the dough a day in advance. Knead the dough until it just starts sticking together then roll the dough into a log and wrap it in plastic wrap.
  • Let the dough chill overnight or for a minimum of 2 hours and the dough will be very easy to slice and bake. Chilling the dough also keeps the shortbread from spreading while it bakes. 
  • Don't overbake your shortbread. There will be some very light browning around the edges and that's it. If you overbake them, they will be very hard and dry instead of light and crisp.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 91kcal (5%) | Carbohydrates: 13g (4%) | Protein: 1g (2%) | Fat: 4g (6%) | Saturated Fat: 2g (10%) | Cholesterol: 14mg (5%) | Sodium: 51mg (2%) | Potassium: 11mg | Fiber: 1g (4%) | Sugar: 8g (9%) | Vitamin A: 124IU (2%) | Vitamin C: 1mg (1%) | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 1mg (6%)