No Roll Lemon Shortbread

These lemon shortbread cookies are great! It could be argued that they’re just a cookie lemon bar but I love them! As some people may know, my new quest is trying to figure out which of my recipes do well when mailed across the country. Some lucky readers will even get to taste these once they make their way through USPS. I wouldn’t count on the reliability of the post in the US at the moment but I’m always willing to try something new. According to the online news sources that I read, the best baked goods to ship across the country are dense and hardy. I can vouch for the density of the cookies, but I’ll have to ask the recipients about their hardiness! I’m hoping that they stand up to the test of the mail but we’ll see! Obviously, once I heard that I needed to make something dense, I HAD to look for new recipes rather than use the old favorites. If these do ship well, I may experiment with those too! So here’s hoping to a problem-free transport process!

These cookies are very easy shortbread cookies. They’re “press-in” shortbread which means that you select the tin of your choice and press the dough in; no rolling out needed! It’s a super simple recipe and I would recommend doing it with your little ones if you have any. In about fifteen minutes, I was able to go from prepping my ingredients to putting the dough into the oven. The recipe calls for using a nine inch square tin however I am somewhat limited by my kitchen storage space so I used my nine inch cake round instead! It worked out really well and like the nine inch square pans, you just need to be careful to distribute the dough evenly as you press it in. If you have any spots that are a lot thicker than the rest of the recipe, they won’t bake properly and will mean that the rest of the dough may burn while you’re waiting for that spot to cook. Again, this recipe is really easy so that’s probably the only part that you could mess up. I hope you enjoy these as much as I did and happy baking!

No Roll Lemon Shortbread Recipe

  • 149 grams (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons lemon zest (roughly the zest of one or two lemons) I like mine really lemon-y so I just pour in the zest
  • 340 grams (3 sticks or 1 1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 390 grams (3 1/4 cup) All Purpose flour
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a 9 inch pan with parchment paper. Don’t just butter or grease, it will prevent the cookies from baking, use paper or a silicone mat inside the tin if you have an appropriately sized one.
  2. Combine sugar and lemon zest with your fingers in a medium bowl. Rub the lemon zest into the sugar with your fingers until fragrant.
  3. In a larger bowl, combine the butter and lemon/sugar mixture. Once combined and fluffy, mix in the vanilla and salt.
  4. Add flour and mix until just combined. Will be thick.
  5. Press into an even layer in the prepared pan. Prick every inch or so (I forgot this step but try to if you can, it’ll help it to bake through)
  6. Bake 30-35 minutes, until just golden. Remove from the oven and let cool 10-15 minutes before cutting or serving.

Lemon Shortbread-Bon Apetit

These were a lovely shortbread recipe that came together in a matter of minutes! These cookies did need quite a while to cool in the fridge so factor that in when you’re planning on making them and make sure that you have plenty of fridge space for all the cookies! I decided to make these after a particularly bad baking day last week. I talked with one of my best friends in the whole world for an hour or two over FaceTime and she inspired me to bake these! I had been wanting to make a lemony dessert for some time; I haven’t been able to let go of the summery feeling that lemons bring and decided to capitalize on this. I grabbed a lemon at the store and was able to make do with what else I had at home. I really loved how crisp and short that these turned out! I haven’t had a ton of luck with shortbread in the past but these were great cookies to start with.

The recipe only calls for a teaspoon or two of lemon zest but I ended up zesting a whole lemon into the dough and it wasn’t too much for me. The dough, sans the lemon zest, is actually a great shortbread base that could be added to to make a ton of different kinds of shortbread. I’ll be experimenting with this in the future so I’ll keep you all posted if I find a good derivative of this recipe for another flavor. The dough also held its shape really well after being rolled out and chilled. I’ve had issues with this in the past and it’s made me wary of using some of my trickier cookie cutouts but go wild here! The cookies will hold so find your craziest cookie cutter and get baking! Let me know in the comments below how it works out for you and happy baking!

Lemon Shortbread Recipe

  • 113 grams (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature (indents when you poke it)
  • 29 grams (1/4 cup) powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons packed lemon zest (I zest the whole lemon but I love lemon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 120 grams (1 cup) All Purpose flour
  • pinch of kosher salt (between 1/8 teaspoon and 1/4 teaspoon)
  • Granulated sugar for rolling
  1. Line two baking sheets. (The dough can be made 3 days in advance and just chill in the fridge until needed)
  2. Beat together butter and powdered sugar. Beat in lemon peel and vanilla extract
  3. Beat in flour and kosher salt and beat until just blended.
  4. Transfer dough to a large piece of plastic wrap and press into a disk. Cover with another piece of plastic wrap and roll out to 1/4 inch thickness.
  5. Place plastic-wrapped disk into the fridge and chill until firm, 20-30 minutes
  6. Position a rack in the top and bottom third of the oven and preheat oven to 350F.
  7. Transfer dough from plastic wrap onto a sugared surface. It replicates the non-stick that flour helps with but coats the dough deliciously.
  8. Cut out shapes in the dough with a cookie cutter or lid of a mason jar or with the lid of a clean drinking glass.
  9. Place cut outs on the cookie sheet about 2 inches apart and chill for 10 minutes. Coat lightly with sugar before putting them back in the fridge.
  10. Bake cookies until light brown, 10-15 minutes. Watch carefully, the cookies around the edge of the cookie sheet with brown faster.
  11. Transfer to a rack to cool and enjoy!