Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Snazzy Lemon Shortbread...

Last week, Jeff came home and said he had a request for this week's Weekly Wednesday treat day. One of his co-workers asked if we could make a treat that would go well with punch - Jeff didn't know what was happening, but we went through our recipes and found a few options. Shortbread was the first idea that came into our minds, so after narrowing our choices down, we opted to go with these English Lemon Shortbread Strips.

Before you go crazy beating the butter and sugar together to start these cookies, be sure to take a few minutes before hand to work the sugar and lemon zest together. The coarser crystals in the sugar will tear at the zest, helping to release its unmistakable fragrant oils, creating an intense lemon-infused sugar. Once the butter has been added and combined with the sparkling sugar, we ramped up the puckery notion by adding in a quarter cup of fresh lemon juice just before adding in the flour.

You're not looking to beat the heck out of the mixture at this point - mix the flour in just until the ingredients in the bowl look like chunky crumbles. If you find the dough is sticky once you are working it into the baking pan, lay a sheet of plastic wrap over the top and finish pressing it to an even level with either your hand or the flat bottom of a measuring cup - it will peel right off and your hand will be clean! Baked until golden and left to cool completely, the base will need one more final addition before being sliced into strips.

Confectioners' sugar, softened butter and more of that fresh juice is combined to form a runny glaze to gild the lily - to show that these shortbread are decidedly lemon, we sprinkled on tiny golden flecks of the zest on top. If you can then leave the slab be for another half an hour or so, the butter will firm up and help set the icing before cutting.

Classically tender, buttery and rich, these shortbread scream "Oh baby, I hope you're ready for one sweet tart cookie!". Dainty cut as strips, this zesty shortbread won't soon be forgotten and will certainly be made again... in fact, these would be perfect to bring along to share at a picnic or group gathering this summer!

Because I knew I was going to be busy getting a few errands done, I made sure that tonight's dinner was going to be quick and easy when I was menu planning this past weekend. Pasta is usually a good choice for those kind of nights and to give it a little change up from a typical red sauce, we prepared this Creamy Fettuccine with Two Cheeses.

In this dish, the pasta is cooked in its salted water bath using the same pot we will end up using to make the sauce to coat the strands with... love those one-pot meals! Before you dump the pasta out to drain, be sure to save a cupful of the starch-laden water to possibly use later on. Into that same pot, a couple pats of butter are melted, followed by half-and-half and our two cheeses - Pecorino Romano and Parmesan! You are looking to heat this mixture enough to melt the cheese and bring it just to a bare simmer... try not to let it come to a boil.

Once it comes up to temperature, the pasta is added back in and tossed around to coat - if it looks too thick at this point, this is when you want to add some of that reserved water. Even if it looks "just right", you may want to add a few splashes in because it will tighten up and thicken as the pasta stands. Just before serving, add a smattering of chopped parsley to break through the richness of the sauce with a fresh note and to finish off this effortless dish.

13 comments:

  1. Those cookies look sooooooooo good. I have got to try them. Everything you make looks so delicious. You are a real inspiration.

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  2. Your killing me! Two great recipes, they look mouth watering!

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  3. Jeff's coworkers got a beautiful treat this week. It looks like it melts in your mouth.

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  4. Oh yum.... I can almost taste them... and they look amazing... such perfect beautiful slices.

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  5. I've already printed out the recipe for the shortbread!

    Quinn

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  6. Mmmm. Those both look great!

    Love the new Favicon!

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  7. Jackie - Let us know how they come out!

    Bunny - Thanks!

    Helene - And the best part, they did melt in your mouth!

    BV - Wish you could have tasted one!

    Quinn - Woohoo!

    Erika - Glad someone noticed it! It took me long enough to get around and change it!

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  8. I love the look of the shortbread! YUM!

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  9. Love the looks of the shortbread bars. I bet the zesty lemon cuts through the butteriness of the cookie perfectly.

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  10. oh wow...those look incredible! I am so trying this recipe!

    I really appreciate all the tips you give us about how to do things - that's really important!

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  11. Tracy - Thanks!

    Katie - You got it!

    Debzy - I hope you enjoy them!

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  12. I made the shortbread cookies tonight and just snuck a taste before going to bed. These are crazy good! It's going to be hard to go to sleep--they are calling my name from the pantry even now!

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  13. Michelle - I know how evil they are, whispering in your ear to eat just one more!

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