Thursday, July 15, 2010

Time for cookies - Lemon Shortbread

Last week, I received a surprise email from a fellow blogger friend - Pei-Lin from Dodol & Mochi. What was surprising was that she was planning to come down to Singapore in August and she is inviting me together with several SG food bloggers for a Blogger's Meetup.

I almost jumped with excitement at the thought of Pei-Lin coming over and attending the meetup. This would be my first time meeting her in person and my first blogger's meetup. Woah, two first times at one go! It would be an enriching experience meeting up like-minded people who have the same interests in food. Keeping my fingers cross that day will come soon..

It has been a week since I baked anything. When it comes to baking, I am indecisive. Most of the time I would not bake something I have carefully planned. Having said that, the Lady Baltimore cake which I intended to do has been shelved for nearly 3 weeks. Coupled with the fact that I have endless recipes waiting for me to try them out, making a decision is never an easy chore.  Indecisiveness + recipe overload = headache!

In the end, I settled for a simple lemon shortbread recipe. In the past, I have always thought that shortbread =  a type of bread. How naive I was. Shortbread is a cumbly textured cookie which comprise of a few very basic ingredients such as sugar, butter and flour. In my case, lemon zest, salt and rice flour were added.

The addition of rice flour served its purpose well. Previously, I have made lemon shortbread without rice flour and they turned out crunchy. However, these cookies did not keep the crunch well. It did not take long for these lemon shortbread to lose their crunch in the unfriendly humid weather. It was an awkward outcome. On the other hand, this batch of lemon shortbread using rice flour fared much better. They turned out to be more crumbly than crunchy and did not turn soft easily.

Lemon Shortbread ( recipe adapted from I Can Bake by Agnes Chang)
Serving size: 20- 24 squares
Equipment and materials:
1) Stand electric beater/ handheld electric beater or wooden spoon
2) Flour sieve
3) Grater with fine holes
4) Measuring spoon set
5) Spatula
6) Mixing bowl
7) Wire rack
8) baking trays/ cookie sheets

125g unsalted butter
70g caster sugar
120g plain flour
60g rice flour
1/2 tsp salt
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon (grate lemon zest over sugar)
caster sugar or demarara sugar for sprinkling (optional)

1) Sift both types of flour into a big bowl. Add salt and use a whisk to ensure mixture is evenly distributed. Set aside.
2) Beat the butter, sugar and lemon zest on medium speed for 2 minutes until butter mixture is pale and fluffy
3) Add the flour to the butter mixture and mix until just combined. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure loose flour is incorporated.
4) Turn the dough into baking/parchment paper and roll the dough into a 1 inch x 1 inch (2.5cm x 2.5cm) square log. Refrigerate or freeze until log is firm. Slice the log into squares of 1 cm thickness. Sprinkle with sugar if desired.
5) Place squares onto baking trays lined with baking/parchment paper. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C and bake for 18 - 25 minutes.
6) Remove cookies and leave to cool on wire rack. Store in airtight container when completely cooled.

1) Rub the lemon zest and sugar to impart more flavour to the cookies.
2) If log is too firm it may become brittle and hard to slice. Let log soften a little until it is easier to handle.
3) You may choose to roll the dough into a circular log instead of a square log. If doing so, give the log a quater-turn periodically as you slice it to maintain the circular shape.
4) Alternatively, roll the dough between 2 sheets of baking/parchment paper. Chill dough until firm and stamp out shapes using a cookie cutter into attractive shapes.


  1. Shortbread, regardless of flavour is my all-time favourite cookie. Love the buttery look!

  2. *ROTFL* You just made me laugh! So, did I actually freak you out!? *Faint* You already made this public ... How leh? Later we all kena stalked ... *LOL* Not worried about me being long-winded!? Haha! Eh, I feel pressured lar ... I still have so many things to settle down for my southbound trip ... Of course, I do hope things will work out as planned. I have too many 師傅 there to meet with!

    Yes, rice flour does make our food crispier/crumblier/crunchy. It's a good alternative when it comes to gluten-free baking/cooking. When I deep-fry fish/pisang goreng/etc., I mix some rice flour into the dry ingredients. I once experimented with adding home-milled rice flour into my checkerboard cookies( and cranberry-butter cookies ( Somehow, these bakes never find their way into my blog. Haha!

    You placed these little cookies in a LARGE cookie jar!? *LOL* Hey, they look perfectly square to me! Somehow, mine turn out oftentimes round instead! =P

  3. Hi busygran,

    Thanks for visiting =] I have to say that shortbread is fast becoming my favourite cookie after choc chip cookies. Would love to try out more flavours if I have the time.

    Hi Pei-Lin,

    I was plesantly surprised, haha. Dont worry, I din mention where and when we are meeting. The stalker/s must be really formidable to know where we are meeting up.

    Dont need to feel pressured. We'll help you out if possible. Anyway you did a real good job and i'm sure it'll turn out fine as planned. =]

    yea i think rice flour and corn flour makes cookies crunchier/crispier/crumblier. I believe famous amos cookies contain cornflour since the closest choc chip cookies I have made contains cornflour. Your craneberry butter cookies look lovely and almost same shaped as mine. Next time I might just add rice flour to all my future butter cookies.

    Thats the only air-tight cookie jar I have. Besides I halved the recipe so the jar wasnt fully filled with cookies. I took pictures the 2nd day so some cookies found their way into someone's stomach.

  4. These look so yummy, I can almost taste the lemon and buttery flavours of the shortbread. I love shortbread!!

    I've only tried making shortbread with plain flour. Next time, I'll try using rice flour. And good job on the nice squares. They look very professional.

    Thanks for sharing :)

  5. Hello, Bakertan, this shortbread looks good. I have never bake shortbread before. I shall book mark this. thanks for sharing.

  6. Hi NEL,

    Thanks for the kind words =] I have tried recipes with purely plain flour but unfortunately the shortbread do not keep well in our warm humid weather. In this case, the rice flour helps to maintain the crumbly texture of the cookies

    Hi Yummy Koh

    Thanks for dropping by and the kind words =] Shortbread cookies are just like butter cookies but it is more crumbly and less tender as there are no eggs and leavening agents.

  7. Hi Bakertan,

    Your shortbread looks really good! Lemon's a good flavour for shortbread :).

    Anyway, your sentiments sound like mine! I always tried to plan my baking schedule but it has never worked out the way I've planned. Like you said, too many recipes! Which is why I am overloaded with ingredients unproportionately to the number of things I make with them :).

  8. Hi Allie,

    Thanks for dropping by and the kind words =]I love lemon flavoured cookies. They are just so good!

    I have since stopped planning for my baking sessions. Will list out a few recipes that catch my attention and decide on the one that I am in the mood to do. The only ingredients I stock up these days are just butter and chocolate since they are used quite often.


Dear readers, thanks for visiting my humble little blog. Feel free to leave a message so that I can learn and be a better baker. Its a great feeling to share our culinary experience and adventures in the kitchen.

Thank you and have a nice day! Cheers =]

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