Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Hello Cookie: Citrus Shortbread Hearts

These cookies are inspired by my friend Zdenka, from whom I received a lovely box of iced shortbread cookies just before Christmas last year.  Due to a misunderstanding about our planned lunch ('where are you, I'm waiting!', 'oh, I thought you couldn't make it!', 'I left you a message!', 'I didn't get it! I'll come now but can't stay!'), we didn't get the chance to sit and chat, but Zdenka did give me the beautifully packaged box of cookies.  A recipe soon followed (via email) and I promised I'd make some.

Fast-forward two months later, and here they are... I've changed the recipe slightly have a citrus flavour, rather than the original cinnamon scent, but they are still a delicious morsel to have with a cup of tea.  With your sweetheart. Or anyone else fortunate enough to share your delightful company...

Citrus Shortbread Hearts
makes about 40

250g butter, cubed, at room temperature
1 ½ cups pure icing sugar
zest of 1 lemon
zest of 1 lime
3 ¼ cups plain flour
¼ cup water

¾ cup pure icing sugar
1 ½ tblsp lemon juice
2-3 drops pink food colouring

1.  Preheat oven to 200 deg C.
2.  Beat the butter and icing sugar until light in colour and fluffy in texture.
3.  Gradually beat in the zest and flour, until well incorporated.
4.  The mixture will be a bit grainy at this stage, so add the water and mix well to form a dough.
5.  Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for a minute, until smooth.
6.  Roll the dough to 1cm (½ inch) thickness and cut out shapes with a cookie cutter (I mostly used a 4cm heart).  I also put the dough in the refrigerator to firm up a bit, as it was a warm day and it is a soft dough.
7.  Place shapes on a lined baking tray, 2cm apart, and bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly golden.
8.  Remove to cool on a wire rack.  When completely cool, coat with icing and leave to set.
9.  For the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl, and add the lemon juice and colouring.  Stir until it's all combined.  To make the icing more spreadable, fill the kitchen sink with about 5cm of hot water and place the bowl in the water when mixing. 

This is the type of recipe I like - not too many ingredients!

I picked up a set of heart cutters from the new Essential Ingredient store in Rozelle, together with some silver heart-shaped cachous and an orange silicon baking mat.  The mat is fabulous - you can roll out the dough on it and use it instead of baking paper, too.

I actually made two types of cookies - thinner un-iced ones, as well as the thicker lemon-iced ones. Tabitha cat kept a beady eye on them for me.

Just in time for February 14 - Valentine's Day, that is.
Or Chinese New Year, as well!


  1. Love the first photo! So girly and cute.
    You are so right. These cookies are perfect for the coming event. So sweet.

  2. LOL @ Tabitha! Nice recipe! I hope they're not all gone before V day though .... :-)

  3. So cute! :) Our posts nearly match today, love your loot from Essential Ingredient. You're lucky they moved so close to you but I'm super sad because it used to be so convenient for me to go to Crows Nest :(

  4. Everyone is going heart crazy right now, but I haven't seen heart cachous before! Great cookies (and photos, as always!)

  5. Those cookies are so sweet, and you're right they are just perfect for valentines day. I do love me a good short bread cookie!

  6. Love the first photo. And the cookies. And the plate. And your cat :)

  7. Cuteness!! I love it all. And I could probably eat it all too.

  8. Ahh so pretty, but I don't think they'd last until Feb 14 in my house!

    I love citrusy shortbread... mmm

  9. Your photos look very elegant :)

  10. super cute

    i need to get me one of those mats they sound awesome

  11. I always find that a touch of citrus helps to cut through the rich butteriness and makes shortbread just that little bit fresher and more fragrant. Yum!

  12. Aww, they're so sweet! Good thing you had Tabitha to keep an eye on them. Hope you have a great V day and Chinese NY :)

  13. they look so pretty! and its refreshing to see something other than chocolate for valentine!:)

    this would be perfect for my Valentine day giveaway event, if you'd be kind enough to participate!:)


  14. Your first picture is beautiful! I always love an iced cookie :)

  15. yum Belle - I know you live up the road - do you have any left?!?

  16. Hehe how cute! I love how we have 2 celebratory events on the one day. Surely that's an excuse for more food? :D

  17. What a coincident! I *just* posted my shortbread hearts a minute ago! Citrus is definitely a nice touch.

  18. Hi Anh – come to think of it, the cookies are probably a bit feminine for some males; better keep them for a girlie tea instead!

    Hi joey@FoodiePop – the recipe made so many that I had plenty left, thanks!

    Hi Stephcookie – I loved your heart sugar cookies, too – the red one was so cute. And yes, loving the proximity of Essential Ingredient now.

    Hi Conor @HoldtheBeef – the cachous are actually chocolate – sort of like M&Ms. I didn’t realise until I ate one!

    Hi Maria@TheGourmetChallenge – oh, yes, shortbread is so versatile, isn’t it? Christmas, Valentines, Easter – it’s always good!

    Hi foodwink – thanks! Tabitha is quite photogenic when she wants to be :)

    Hi penny aka jeroxie – I had to stop myself gobbling to many, too!

    Hi Ladybird – the citrus icing definitely makes the cookies even easier to eat ;)

    Hi tigerfish – thanks, glad you like the photos!

    Hi Betty – thank you.

    Hi mlle delicieuse - you’re right about the citrus. I think you can also add orange to the cookie and icing to bump up the flavour even more.

    Hi Agnes – thanks, CNY was really great. Lots of eating...

    Hi Mansi – I don’t think there can ever be too much chocolate, but I know what you mean by overload!

    Hi Ellie – I agree, the icing finishes off the cookie and makes it a bit classier

    Hi Trissa – Quick, there’s some left! You’d better hurry, though!

    Hi Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella – it’s a bit of a conundrum with the 2 events on the same day, but CNY won out for me!

    Hi Gala – you cranberry hearts are beautiful. Such an unusual method of cutting them, too!