Lemon Cornmeal Shortbread Cookies
Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Holiday Cookies 2012 and Fine Cooking Cookies Holiday 2012
Makes 18 bars
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ¼ cup all purpose flour
¾ cup finely ground yellow cornmeal
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup confectioners sugar
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1. Lightly spray the bottom and sides of a 9x9-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line the bottom with parchment paper, allowing about 2 inches to overhang on opposite sides. Lightly spray parchment with cooking spray as well; set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, and salt until combined; set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter, confectioners’ sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Gradually add flour mixture and mix until combined.
4. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and lightly knead together dough holds together. Transfer dough to prepared pan and press into a smooth, even layer. Using the tip of a knife, score the dough all the way through, cutting into bars measuring about 1 ½ inches by 3 inches. Using a fork or the end of a wooden skewer, poke holes evenly along the bars. Cover pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
5. While chilling, preheat oven to 325F. When chilled, sprinkle granulated sugar evenly over dough. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until golden brown and top looks dry, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven and using a sharp knife or a bench scraper immediately cut through scored marks into bars again. Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes before using parchment overhang to lift shortbread out of the pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.
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