Lemon-Cornmeal Shortbread Cookies

Lemon-cornmeal shortbread cookies.

Cookies can be a problem for me. I can’t stop eating them, always crave them and am thinking about new ideas for them all the time. One of the most simple cookies to make, shortbread, is both versatile and a crowd-pleaser.

This recipe is a great jumping-off point for your favorite flavors: Experiment and add nuts, spices, sweets or sprinkles. For this recipe, I prefer using Braggadocio popcorn cornmeal from McKaskle Family Farm in Braggadocio, Missouri, which provides a unique flavor and texture.

Look for popcorn cornmeal in specialty grocery stores, or make your own by grinding popcorn kernels in a home mill. To save dough for later, wrap log tightly in plastic wrap once firm and freeze for up to two months. Transfer dough to refrigerator one day before you want to slice and bake.

Lemon-Cornmeal Shortbread Cookies

| Yields | 2 dozen cookies

  • ½ cup room-temperature unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup tightly packed brown sugar
  • ¹⁄₃ cup plus ¼ cup granulated sugar, divided
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1¼ cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ½ cup cornmeal or popcorn cornmeal

| Preparation | In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine butter, brown, sugar, ¹⁄₃ cup granulated sugar, salt and lemon zest on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add egg yolk and vanilla and continue mixing on medium speed, scraping bottom and sides of bowl as needed, until smooth. Reduce speed to low and slowly add flour, baking soda and cornmeal; mix until well combined, taking care not to overmix. Transfer dough to a clean work surface, roll into a 1-by-12-inch log, wrap in parchment paper and refrigerate for several hours until firm, up to 4 days.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Remove dough from refrigerator. Slice into 24 half-inch-thick rounds and place on prepared sheets. Sprinkle tops with remaining ¼ cup granulated sugar. Bake until edges are medium-golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for up to 1 month.