Citrus Cornmeal Shortbread

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When it starts to get warmer outside, I start adding more citrus to my food, including baked goods. There is just something about Spring that draws me to the fresh, bright zing of citrus. Lemon, lime, orange…I love it all.

So, my crazy family gets together for every holiday, and this Easter dinner was at my parents house. That usually means dessert is on me. As I think back on the desserts I had in mind – Lime and Cream Cheese Pound Cake, Cheesecake Spiked with Orange, Lime Meltaways – it just verifies my original thought…Spring draws me to citrus flavors.

I found this recipe in Martha Stewart’s Cookies. They were easy to throw together, in fact I had all of the ingredients needed in my fridge and pantry – love when that happens!

These were more of what I call a grown up cookie. Not overly sweet but a definite buttery, melt in your mouth shortbread cookie with bright orange coming through and a nice bite thanks to the cornmeal. That’s not to say that my kids didn’t have them, they are, after all, cookies. But the adults definitely appreciated them, and my dad had the leftovers.

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Makes about 3 dozen.

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp.

3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 and 1/2 tsp finely grated orange zest

2 cups ap flour

1/4 cup plus 2 tbs yellow cornmeal

1 tsp coarse salt

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Add butter and sugar to the bowl of a standing mixer with paddle attached. Mix on medium speed until pale and creamy, 2 minutes. Add vanilla and zest and mix until combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.

Reduce speed to low and add the flour, 2 tbs of the cornmeal, and the salt. Mix until well combined, about 3 minutes. Halve the dough and shape each into a log about 1 and 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap each in plastic and refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 300. Place remaining 1/4 cup cornmeal on a sheet of parchment paper. Roll each log in the cornmeal to coat. Cut into 1/4 inch thick slices and place 1 inch apart on a lined baking sheet. Bake until pale golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Can be stored in an airtight container up to a week.

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