I am a huge sucker for lemon and vanilla desserts, and if you aren’t already, you will be after baking these cookies! I’ve played around with this shortbread cookie recipe from Epicurious for a few years, by dipping them into melted chocolate, folding in hazelnuts, and adding in all kinds of tasty flavors, but this variation with lemon zest is my absolute favorite! The pop of lemony citrus balances out the super buttery texture and flavor, and the vanilla just makes these cookies feel like a big hug. Make your friends, family, and significant others feel loved by baking these for them for Valentine’s Day! As a note, this recipe yields about 40 cookies, which makes it great for baking to give out in care packages as gifts. If you don’t need that many cookies you could easily halve the recipe!
Lemon + Vanilla Shortbread Cookies
- 1 and 1/2 Cups 3 sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 and 1/3 Cups sugar
- 2 Teaspoons Kosher salt
- 3 Egg yolks
- 2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
- 2 Teaspoons Lemon zest
- Interior scrapings of 1/2 split vanilla bean
- 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- Combine the butter, sugar, and salt in a stand mixer or with an electric hand mixer, and beat on a medium speed, about 2 minutes.
- Add the egg yolks, one by one, until fully incorporated. Add the vanilla extract, scrapings, and lemon zest, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and mix on a low speed.
- On a low speed, gradually add the flour and mix until it’s fully incorporated. You will likely have to turn off the mixer a few times to scrape the sides of the bowl to make sure everything is well mixed.
- Remove the dough from the bowl, and on a non-stick surface such as parchment or wax paper, roll the dough into a rectangle that fits into a 13×18″ baking sheet. Cover dough in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for at least 20 minutes, and preheat your oven to 325*.
- Once the dough has chilled for 20 minutes, remove from refrigerator. Use a heart shaped cookie cutter to shape the cookies and bake until slightly golden brown, about 15-20 minutes depending on your oven. Cool the cookies on a wire rack. Enjoy! I like to package these cookies up in small gift bags for friends, family, and loved ones!
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