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Aug 10, 2013

Meyer Lemon Vanilla Shortbread Cookies

Meyer Lemon Vanilla Shortbread Cookies

These Meyer lemon vanilla shortbread cookies are a little softer and more airy than your typical shortbread because they contain some cream and baking soda. I'm telling you that as a baking expert.


I have no idea why one shortbread is different from another. I do know that most of the shortbread recipes I've tried do not have leavening or extra liquid. Thus my scientific observations.

I will tell you that this recipe created a lot of naked lemons. The victims...

Meyer Lemon Vanilla Shortbread Cookies

We have a very productive Meyer lemon tree in our tiny back yard. I have no idea how old it is, but the lemons it produces are huge but the rind is very thin, so I am guessing that if you make these cookies with "regular" lemons, you will not need as many.

Meyer Lemon Vanilla Shortbread Cookies

These cookies have a mild lemon vanilla flavor. The lemon is not overpowering, and they are not overly sweet. I think they are perfect with tea. Even so, my young grandsons loved them and declared them "delicious." They don't usually do that with any dessert that does not contain chocolate, ice cream, or whipped cream.

So there you go. For cake-like shortbread cookies, check these out. If you want them to be a little more "sandy" and crumbly, freeze the dough before cutting and baking the cookies.

Meyer Lemon Vanilla Shortbread Cookies

Adapted with permission from Miette: Recipes from San Francisco's Most Charming Pastry Shop.


5 ounces sugar
2 T lemon zest
10 ounces all purpose flour
1 C cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
6 T heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
Sparkling sugar for sprinkling


  1. Stir the lemon zest and sugar together in a small bowl, using the back of the spoon to rub the two ingredients together. Make sure they are fully combined. 
  2. Combine the flour, butter, salt, and baking soda in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix with the paddle attachment on low until you have a mixture that resembles corn meal. 
  3. Add the cream, lemon sugar, and vanilla until just combined. Don't over mix. 
  4. Roll the dough into a log that is one inch in circumference and wrap it with plastic wrap. Place in the freezer for at least one hour, and up to 24 hours. 
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  6. Slice the log into 1/2 inch rounds and place them 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Place any dough that doesn't fit back into the freezer to bake after the first sheet is done. 
  7. Sprinkle the cookies with sparkling sugar (if you don't have it, regular sugar will do just fine) and bake, one sheet at a time, 10 to 12 minutes, until golden. Remove the cookies to a cooling rack. 
  8. Bake and cool the second group of cookies as you did the first. 

Would you like to comment?

  1. Weeeeellllll, the baking soda needs acid to work, so the citrus helps with that. Aaaaaaaand cream makes EVERYTHING better. So, you're right.

    Consider yourself an expert.

  2. Such a shame that meyer lemons are not available here, and if they are I´ve yet to find them. It does look more airy Karen, and very yummy!

    1. Paula, I think in this case, any lemon would be fine. If you want to create the flavor, mix lemon and orange (mostly lemon) rind. Meyer lemons are sweeter than regular lemons.

  3. Karen, I made these today to go into my Christmas cookie box and they were a disaster. Even after several hours in the freezer they melted into each other in the oven and were just crumbs. Help! What went wrong?

    1. I'm so sorry to hear that! Did you use parchment paper? That's the only thing I can think of. I also used King Arthur all purpose flour. I'm really sorry!

    2. Just figured it out. :blush: I put in a pound of butter instead of a cup. I will try to salvage the rest of the dough by adding more flour. Thankfully it is still in the freezer.

    3. Oh phew! Yay. That's double the butter!

  4. Approx how many cookies does this make, Karen?


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