These cookies are crispy and just kissed with lemon, thanks to fresh zest in the dough. The tops of the cookies are dunked in a glaze, which hardens after about an hour.
This is an easy cookie recipe made in your food processor. But, if you don’t have a food processor, I also share a method for making this dough with an electric mixer.
Lemon Shortbread Heart Cookies
Post originally published in 2018. Updated on Feb. 13, 2020
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Happy Valentine’s Day!
I made you a pile of lemon heart cookies covered doused and dripping with a lemon powdered sugar glaze!
It’s good it’s Valentine’s Day because I’m starting a deep, passionate love affair with shortbread cookie dough.
It’s so easy to work with, especially if you want to make shaped cookies with cookie cutters.
Why this cookie?
Well, lemon is one of the best flavors in the world, especially when cooked into a dessert with butter and powdered sugar.
The natural food store near my office sold a lemon-glazed shortbread cookie for a while. But they were nearly $2 each.
Do you know how many cookies I can bake for $2?
Many more than one.
That bakery cookie was delicious but I’m too cheap to spend that much on one cookie on a regular basis.
And those cookies were so good I wanted one Every Single Day!
I will admit I had concerns about this particular cookie recipe.
You make the dough in a food processor–flour, salt, sugar, ice-cold butter cut into tiny cubes and bit of lemon zest.
That’s an awful lot like my pie crust recipe, which I also make in the food processor.
So I was questioning if these were really going to taste like cookies or not. But, they do and they are delicious.
But, you don’t need to make them in a food processor.
If you want to mix this recipe up like a regular cookie dough, you can follow the same steps but use room temperature butter instead of cutting two sticks of ice-cold butter into cubes.
This dough takes a bit more work to form into a dough than other shortbread cookie recipes I’ve used.
What I mean by that is it will be a fair amount of loose flour.
It’s not going to magically form into a perfect ball of dough in your food processor.
You’ll have to scoop up the loose flour mix with your hands and form it into a ball.
But thanks to two sticks of butter, it will combine easily.
Just keep scooping and patting and pushing together and you’ll have it.
Electric Mixer or Stand Mixer Instructions
Just use room temperature butter instead of cold cubed butter
This is a lemon cookie icing that hardens.
You’ll have a bit more icing than you need. Don’t throw it away!
- -use it to glaze homemade doughnuts
- -as a dip for pretzels
- -as a sauce for ice-cream–I think it would be delicious over vanilla ice-cream
Handy Baking Tools for Lemon Shortbread Heart Cookies:
For this recipe I used:
- Two cups all purpose flour
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup confectioners’ sugar
- 2 tsp lemon zest, grated
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 sticks butter, cubed
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 2 Tbsp lemon zest, grated
- ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice, from 2 to 3 lemons
- Grate zest.
- Cut each stick of butter into slices then dice into cubes.
- In the bowl of a food processor-8-cups or larger, pour flour, both sugars and salt. Pulse briefly, 3 to 5 seconds to combine. Add lemon zest and butter cubes. Pulse again, this time for 15 to 20 seconds until the dough has small flecks of butter and has started to combine. Don’t over mix.
- Take dough out of the food processor onto wax paper. Gather together with your hands and squish to combine. This is similar to making a pie crust. Don’t overwork the dough but just keep pushing any loose flour together until the dough is well-combined. Flatten into a circle. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap or slide into a plastic bag. Put dough in the refrigerator to chill for at least an hour.
- Remove the dough from fridge and let sit for about 15 to 20 minutes until the dough is room temperature.
- Put parchment paper on counter and using a rolling pin, roll the dough to about a ¼ inch. Cut with a cookie cutter and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. These cookies won’t spread so you can fit several on one cookie sheet depending on what size cookie cutter you’re using.
- Bake at 350 for 10 to 12 minutes.
Make lemon glaze
- In a medium-sized bowl or in a stand-mixer, combine two cups confectioners’s sugar and a third of a cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice until opaque and glossy-about two minutes.
- Let cookies cool completely before glazing.
- To glaze cookies, dip the top of each cookie in the bowl of lemon glaze, give a shake to remove any excess glaze. Put cookies on a rack or on a sheet of wax paper to let dry, which will take about 30 minutes.
More Citrus Recipes:
What’s your favorite cookie? Leave a comment below!