Tender Lemon Shortbread Recipe: A Lemony Taste of a Scottish Bakery by Ann Marie Patitucci

Desserts Cookies
a year ago

Tender Lemon Shortbread Recipe: A Lemony Taste of a Scottish Bakery

This dessert recipe may just be the perfect one for me. First, I love all things U.K. I studied abroad in England twice, visited Ireland twice (once with a friend and once with my siblings) and traveled to Scotland twice (once for work and once with my hubby). While abroad I fell in love with several different foods, mostly desserts, including shortbread.

I also love all the lemon desserts: lemon mousse, lemon poppy seed bread, lemon cheesecake, lemon curd, lemon meringue pie, lemon pudding – and lemon shortbread!

The lemon zest really makes this shortbread recipe. The best news for amateur bakers like myself is that this recipe is hard to mess up!

Cuisine: Scottish 
Prep Time: 25 minutes plus 1 hour to cool
Cook Time: 40 minutes (approximately)
Total Time: 2 hours and 5 minutes


Here's how to make it: 

  1. Spray a 9-inch square baking pan with baking spray. Line the pan with parchment paper, about 8 inches, almost as wide as the pan. Cover the bottom and two sides of the pan with the parchment paper. The other two sides will remain greased with the spray but not lined with paper. This will help you remove the shortbread after it's baked.
  2. In a large bowl, mix butter with the lemon zest and vanilla. Add the powdered sugar and incorporate well so there are no lumps. If sifting the sugar, sift it directly over the butter mixture.
  3. Add the flour and salt in two parts, mixing with a spatula until it is smooth and well combined, with no dry spots remaining. Transfer the dough to the pan, scattering small amounts on the bottom.
  4. Lightly pat the dough with your hand until it covers the whole surface. Make sure the edges are covered. Make it as even as possible. (It will not be very smooth, but that's OK.)
  5. Cover the pan in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 24 hours. This helps prevent the butter from melting before the shortbread is baked.
  6. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Sprinkle the granulated sugar over the top of the dough before baking.
  7. Bake the dough for 35 to 45 minutes, depending on your oven, until the top is dry, it has puffed a little and is beginning to color. If you prefer a more golden shortbread, keep an eye on it as you watch for the color to darken. Just be careful not to let it dry out.
  8. Let shortbread cool 10 minutes on a wire rack and carefully "cut" into sticks or squares with a smooth bladed knife. (If you want "dots" on the shortbread, prick the top with a toothpick.) Let cool on the cooling rack completely, lift the whole square of the pan with the aid of the parchment paper and carefully break each piece. Store shortbread in airtight containers.

Note: You can make the dough a day ahead of time, pat it in the pan, cover it with plastic wrap and stick it in the refrigerator until ready to bake.

Need help converting cooking and baking measurements? Here are some handy kitchen conversion charts.

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Elisa Schmitz
Wow, Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead , I'm with you on this being the perfect dessert! Love shortbread and love lemon. And, it's simple. YES! I'm trying it with gluten-free flour. Thank you for the YUM!
Ann Marie Patitucci
I hope it works well with the GF flour!
This looks so amazing...
I'm going to make this for mother's day!

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