Friday, May 21, 2010

In Honor of Zestyness

I have to admit I have been making cookies for a long time. I don't remember when I started, exactly, but the recipe for these cookies comes from the first cookbook that was my very own. It is the Better Homes and Gardens Complete Book of Baking, and my parents gave it to me for Christmas in 1996 with the inscription "because you bake such wonderful cookies." I would have been a few days away from being 12 years old then, and I hope my cookies are now better than ever—my husband tells me they are! The first time I made these for him he didn't like them too much (he's not a shortbread fan), but I won't tell you how many he has eaten today! But I have to tell you, these are addicting. They are almost bite sized and once you have one you always want just one more...

These cookies also are also rather special because I actually remember the very first time I made them. My grandparents were visiting us, on their way either to or from their home in Vermont to Borrego Springs, California, where they would spend every spring for many years. Grandma was sitting on the couch reading a book, and I had gotten to the part of the recipe where you are supposed to knead the dough. Apparently Grandma had not taught me to make her bread at this point in my life because I did not know how to knead! The cookie dough wasn't coming together and so I took my bowl over to her and asked what I was doing wrong, and so my grandma taught me how to knead.

I hope you enjoy these cookies - I actually usually make them with lemon, but the original recipe called for orange zest. Experiment and find your favorite! May they add a little bit of zest to your day : )

Choco-Lemon Shortbread
Makes about 24
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2/3 cup butter (no substitues!)
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp finely grated lemon peel (or the citrus of your choice)
  • 3/4 cup miniature chocolate chips (if you use regular sized, just coarsely chop them a little to make them smaller, otherwise the cookies don't hold together as well)


  1. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the flour and powdered sugar. Using a pastery blender, cut in the butter and lemon peel until the mixture resembles fine crumbs and starts to cling. Stir in chocolate chips. Form mixture into a ball and knead until smooth.
  2. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Using the bottom of a glass, slightly flatten balls to 1/2-inch thickness. Bake in a 350ยบ oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until the bottoms just start to brown. Cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute. Remove cookies from cookie sheet and let cool on wire rack. Place in an airtight container and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.

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