For full flavor minus tartness
The urge to use the Meyer Lemons in a dessert had been quite strong for a while, even though I was trying very hard to use them in healthy(ier) everyday things that use lemons anyway. A good squeeze flavored a batch of hummus, some went into guacamole, in dal, in rasam, in all good things that need a little tartness. However, other than some lemon zest in a pasta with broccoli, the zest had been largely neglected. It had also been a long time since I baked anything with just good old flour, sugar, and butter. So finally, I gave in, and decided to do something sweet with the lemons.
I used a recipe for Lavender Shortbread from pastry chef Gale Gand, but used Meyer lemon zest instead of dried lavender. Very tender, flaky, and pleasantly lemon flavored, these were delightful to bake, and even more so to eat. I have made shortbread cookies before, but this was the first time I used a recipe that calls for cornstarch, and I don't know if that was the reason but these were one of the best I have ever eaten. Dare I say, even better than some of those special packages of black and red tartan that come from countries yonder.
They are also likely to be easily adaptable to other flavors, as long it is something that can provide big flavor in small doses. Orange zest for sure, but I think cardamom, which is a huge favorite of mine, would also do well.
The recipe is perfect as it is but I used a food processor with the dough blade instead of a stand mixer. I thought that 1/4th teaspoon salt would be too much, and that just a pinch would suffice. I am noting the recipe here for future use, along with some changes that might make it more useful.
As an aside, this was easily the most distracting photo session I have had with food. At every moment I wanted to grab one of those cookies, making it very difficult to focus. Yes, pun intended.
Meyer Lemon Shortbread
Tender, flaky, and not too sweet
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cool unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
pinch of salt
zest of two lemons, about 1 teaspoon
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8 by 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper.
Stir together the flour, cornstarch, and salt in a medium bowl.
Cream the butter until soft in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or in a food processor with the dough blade. Add 1/4 cup sugar and mix until incorporated.
Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix at low speed just until the ingredients are almost incorporated, then add the lemon zest, and mix until the dough starts to come together.
Flour a work surface, turn the dough onto it, and knead it 5 to 10 times, to bring the dough together and smooth it out. Reflour the work surface. With a rolling pin, roll the dough out to a little less than 1/4-inch thick to fit the 8 by 8-inch pan.
To transfer to the pan, roll the dough up onto the rolling pin, lift it up, and unroll into the pan. Or, press the dough thoroughly into the pan with your fingers. Prick the shortbread all over with a fork, to prevent any buckling or shrinking. Sprinkle the surface evenly with 1 tablespoon of the remaining sugar.
Bake for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, deflate the dough by knocking the pan once against the oven rack then rotate the pan to ensure even cooking and a flat surface. Bake 10 to 15 minutes more, until golden all over and very lightly browned. As soon as it comes out of the oven, sprinkle the surface evenly with the remaining tablespoon of sugar. Let cool about 5 minutes. Using a very sharp knife, cut into 3 rows by 5 rows making about 1 1/2-inch by 3-inch bars.
Let cool completely in the pan. Remove from the pan and store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
Sending this to Jhiva - Lime and Lemon.