Monday, February 10, 2014

Lemon Shortbread Sandwich Cookies

Let's be honest...Valentines day is really just about the sweets. Anyone knows the secret to true love is a happy mix of sugar and butter. Even if you're not into baked treats, (you probably shouldn't be reading this blog, fyi) you can certainly appreciate the thoughtfulness of a homemade valentine. These shortbread cookies are deliciously crumbly and buttery, with a hint of lemon. Sandwiching berry preserves in-between the cookies make for the perfect sweet bite. I used Bonne Maman preserves, not just because they are absolutely delicious, but because their jars are perfect for gifting! Just scoop out the jam and store whatever you don't use to make the sandwich cookies in an airtight container in the fridge. Remove the labels with soap and warm water and let them dry completely before stacking the sandwich cookies inside. Red ribbon and a gift tag make this valentine festive and personal. I know my hubby will love these. Lucky for me, only 5 cookies fit in each jar. (That means I get to eat the rest:)

Lemon Shortbread Cookies
makes 12 sandwich cookies

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup confectioners' (powdered) sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out (or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract)
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
Zest of 1 lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
1/4 cup demerara sugar, like Sugar in the Raw
3 tablespoons of milk
Your favorite fruit preserves

1. Beat the butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth and pale yellow. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, beating until incorporated, then mix in the vanilla bean. Gradually add in the flour and salt, beating at low speed until blended. Mix in the lemon zest and turn dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap. 
2. Shape the shortbread dough into a log, no more than 2" in diameter. Wrap the log up in the plastic wrap and freeze for at least an hour (or up to 1 month). 
3. Preheat oven to 350° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place log onto a cutting board or large plate. Lightly brush dough with milk and sprinkle with demerara sugar, rotating the log as you work until all the dough is covered in sugar. Cut the log into 1/4" thick slices. Place slices 1 inch apart on the baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges are golden. 
4. Remove shortbread from baking sheets and let cool completely before filling with jam.
5. Sandwich a teaspoon of jam in between 2 cookies. Cookies will keep in an airtight container for about a week.

Don't put too much jam on the cookie, or it will squeeze out the sides.

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