I had two options when making this shortbread; use a stand mixer or a whisk. It seemed like a lose-lose situation late at night after a long day of baking, uni and errands. The stand mixer is a pain to haul out of the kitchen cupboard (it actually takes like 2 seconds, but whatever). The whisk initially seemed like the easier option, but then I realised it requires a LOT of whisking. I have no muscles.
These took about 5 minutes to make (after I pulled out the dreaded mixer). No kidding. They are easy-peasy. And perfect for satisfying my late-night cravings for COOKIES. The chocolate mousse in the fridge wasn’t going to cut it. Not the right texture at all. These cravings were for dough.
LEMON CORNMEAL SHORTBREAD
Adapted from Une Gamine dans la Cuisine whose recipe comes from Dorie Greenspan.
2/3 cup sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
220g unsalted butter, softened (2 sticks)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/4 cup cornflour
1/2 cup cornmeal or polenta
1/2 tsp salt
Get out your stand mixer and paddle attachment. Put the sugar into the bowl. Grate the lemon zest straight into it and turn it onto the lowest speed. Let it mix for a minute or two, to infuse the sugar with the lemon flavour.
Add the butter and vanilla and beat until the mixture is very smooth (about 3 minutes). This is where the whisk wasn’t going to cut it.
Meanwhile, mix together the flour, cornflour, polenta and salt.
When the butter is smooth enough, turn the mixer back onto low and add the dry ingredients. Mix until the flour is just incorporated. Do not over mix.
Gather the dough together and put it onto a sheet of baking paper. Using your hands, pat the dough down into a flat square about 7mm (1/4 inch) thick. Use the rolling pin here if you like, but you need a square/rectangle shape.
Cover with another sheet of baking paper and refrigerate for around 2 hours.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 180 C and line two baking trays with parchment paper.
Take the dough out of the fridge and take off the top layer of baking paper. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into 3.5cm (1.5 inch) squares.
Put the shortbread squares onto the baking trays and prick each one twice with a fork, making sure to go right through.
Put the baking trays in the oven and lower the temperature to 150 C. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the cookies are just golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Makes 32 cookies.
These smelt so fantastic while they were baking. Mum goes, “What’s in the oven? Can you please take it out now? I want to eat it, whatever it is. NOW.”. Yummy. The shortbread melts and crumbles in your mouth, the cornmeal adds great texture and the lemon and salt just take it to another level. They are bite size, too, so you can just pop them in your mouth. Pop. Mum ate 5. While they were still hot.