meyer lemon shortbread cookies

I subscribe to a lot of food magazines. My husband would agree, and he’d probably throw in that I subscribe to TOO MANY food magazines. The stacks of magazines scattered throughout my house – on the coffee table, the end tables, under the console table, on the breakfast nook table, and on the kitchen counters – would argue that my husband might very well be right.

I find inspiration between the glossy covers of Fine Cooking and Bon Appétit. When I read the articles and essays in Saveur, I can’t help but look for photographs taken by Penny De Los Santos, food and travel photographer extraordinaire. Reading articles and recipes in Food and Wine is an indulgence, best done while sitting in my front porch rocking chair with a glass of Riesling in hand.

January issues bug me.

I’m a believer in eating healthy year-round, not just in January, when the magazine editors feature the healthy recipes they’ve been stockpiling all year. I hate to say it, but I’m less inspired and intrigued by recipes featured in these magazines during January than I am the rest of the year. I get bored.

So let’s talk cookies. Not salads and whole grains and lean meats. Cookies.

We can still eat cookies, you know, even though it’s January. One or two won’t hurt. Everything in moderation.

This recipe is just slightly tweaked from Ina Garten’s The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. It’s a terribly easy recipe to prepare. The hardest part for me is trying to refrain from eating too much of the dough before the cookies are baked.

I glazed half the batch with Meyer lemon glaze and left the other half unadorned. The plain cookies, my son’s favorite, are slightly crumbly and subtly sweet with just a hint of Meyer lemon. The glazed version of the cookie was a hit with my husband and daughter. The lemon glaze transforms the shortbread into something entirely different. There was much more brightness and zing to the cookie.

So, if you need a cookie during this month of restraint, you can’t go wrong with one – or two – of these. Made with beautiful, fresh Meyer lemons, these cookies are sure to brighten up any cold January day.

(You may now resume your diet.)

Yield: approx 24 cookies

Meyer Lemon Shortbread Cookies

This is just a tweak of Ina Garten's recipe for shortbread, found here, and in her book, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. I left half the batch unglazed (which made my 4-year old happy) and glazed the other half with the Meyer lemon glaze found here (which pleased my 7 year old and husband).


3/4 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Zest from 1 Meyer lemon
Meyer lemon glaze [optional]


Preheat oven to 350°F.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together butter and sugar until they are just combined. Add the vanilla. In another bowl, whisk together the flour and salt then add them to the butter-sugar mixture. Add the Meyer lemon zest. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. Dump on a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Roll the dough 1/2-inch thick and cut with a 3-inch round cookie-cutter or biscuit-cutter. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Optional: Glaze each cookie with Meyer lemon glaze, and allow cookies to chill in the refrigerator until glaze is set.