As the holiday season draws near, I am sure you might be wracking your brain for different and delicious desserts. I know I always am. I am especially fond of new cookies to add to my tray, at home and at work.
In my younger years I lived in England where I acquired a taste for shortbread. I couldn’t get enough. I still can’t. Fast forward a bunch of years (no, I am not saying how many) and I still love shortbread. It goes well with coffee, tea, or a tall glass of milk. I am now drooling.
These shortbread cookies are accented with a hint of lime. The pinched top is a nice decorative touch. By the way, other citrus will work well too: orange or lemon come to mind.
Now in Spain and Latin America these cookies are called polvorones because they are dusted with sugar. The literal translation of polvorones is “dusted ones”. As far as cookies go, these citrus shortbread cookies are pretty easy, not a lot of steps.
So where does shortbread come from, and why is it called shortbread? Well, according to my research, shortbread is a descendant of a medieval baked good called “biscuit bread.” Leftover dough was left to harden and dry out; it would then be cooked again.
The term “biscuit” literally means cooked twice. In medieval times shortbread was only eaten at special times, e.g. New Year’s. The round shape of the shortbread was associated with the sun, which during the new year was scarce especially in the northern hemisphere.
So, why “shortbread”? Well, the amount of butter used makes the biscuit crumbly. The term short when it is applied to crusts, and biscuits means crumbly; hence the name shortbread.
There are three ways to prepare traditional shortbread: a large circle divided into triangles referred to as “petticoat tails”, rectangles which are called “fingers”, and circles which are called “shortbread rounds”.
- 1¼ cup flour
- ¾ cup confectioner sugar, plus extra for dusting
- ¼ lb. butter softened
- 1 tsp. lime zest
- pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 350'F.
- Grease a cookie sheet, or line with parchment paper.
- Cream sugar and butter. Slowly add in the flour. Add the lime zest, and the salt.
- On a well floured surface roll in to a rectangle and cut into three strips of equal length..
- Roll each strip into a tube.
- Cut ¾" pieces from each tube, and roll each piece int a ball.
- Pinch the top of the tall to create a raised surface.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until they begin to turn golden,
- Remove from the oven. Cool slightly and then sprinkle with sugar.