Organic Lemon Shortbread Cookies
The original recipe is for 24 cookies, but after cooking for my family one time I decided to double the ingredients to make about 50 cookies. You are welcome to reduce the portion or make it even bigger.
I made the cookies vegan and organic, because that’s my philosophy and I follow it as much as I can. The only ingredient that is not vegan is butter. I encourage you to substitute it with vegan butter, margarine, coconut oil, or with whatever other oil you enjoy.
Vegan and organic choice of ingredients would be highly commended by Nutrisystem, a program that is bigger than just delivered diet meals. Nutrisystem emphasizes the importance of eating healthy when it comes to real world food as well.
- Organic Unbleached All-Purpose Flour – 1000g or 1 kg ( I recommend King Arthur brand)
- A pinch of Himalayan salt
- Organic Confectioner’s Sugar – 600g
- Organic unsalted butter or butter substitute – 800g
- Organic lemon zest – ½ cup
- Vanilla extract or vanilla paste – 1 tablespoon
The first thing I did was combine flour and salt in a large bowl and set it aside for later use. You can leave powdered sugar and vanilla as they are, but I put them into separate bowls to have them handy when needed. I made lemon zest from two lemons and also set it aside.
The butter or vegan butter you will be using can be cold, but in that case you will need to soften it by beating it with a tool, such as a rolling pin. You can also have your butter taken out of the refrigerator in advance and have it slightly soften that way.
Next step is to combine softened butter and lemon zest. You can use hand-held tool or put those ingredients into a table top mixer bowl and have it mix gently with a paddle attachment. Once those two ingredients are combined to creamy consistency, add powdered sugar slowly and continue mixing everything together. It is important not to go overboard with mixing as that could add air into the dough, and you definitely don’t want that for your shortbread cookies. I used stand mixer on low speed and did not over-creamed the dough, but I monitored it the whole time.
Add vanilla into butter and sugar zesty concoction. Mix until blended. Then slowly add salt and flour mixture while continuously whisking or mixing the dough. The dough is done and ready for making shortbread.
If you are working with double ingredients, like this recipe suggests, divide the dough into 4 equal parts. Then roll the dough balls into logs, each on separate piece of parchment paper. The logs are ready, but have to be chilled overnight. This is why you should do the preparation work in advance. You can also freeze the dough for up to a month and use it when needed.
Next day, when you are ready for baking, preheat the oven to 330 degrees Fahrenheit for slow and steady baking. My oven is not very new or powerful, so I had it set to 350 degrees.
This amount of cookies call for 4 baking sheets lined with parchment paper. I baked 2 trays and then another 2, because putting all 4 at once would’ve deprived the cookies of proper heat and air distribution.
Take the dough out of refrigerator and slice the log into 1/4” slices. Place the slices on the baking sheet with some space between them. There dough is not going to rise and expand too much, but it’ll change shape just a little.
I baked my cookies for 14 minutes, but started checking after 12. Make sure they don’t start turning brown, but take them out when they just start changing color and becoming golden around the edges and on the bottom. It is recommended to take them out, let them cool on the sheet for about 15 minutes, and then finish cooling on the wire rack. I had them cooling on the sheet the entire time and they turned out perfectly.
The cookies taste best right away, but can also be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days. While sugary cookies might not be greatly encouraged by dietary programs like Nutrisystem, vegan and organic version of these is quite alright. Enjoy!