26 June 2016

iced lemon poppy seed shortbread is amazing

Did you know it's National Dairy Month? If there has ever been a better excuse for baking up some buttery goodness, I don't know what it is. We are definitely a dairy loving family - butter and cheese and milk is always on hand and eaten every day around here. When I had the chance to bake with butter from Finlandia Cheese this week, we all got a little excited.

One of my favorite new recipes is for lemon poppy seed shortbread - it's the perfect combination of tangy and sweet and is so bright, it's perfect for summer baking! My boys have been outside nearly every day, playing catch or three man baseball. Inevitably, balls end up over the fence in our neighbor's yard multiple times a day, and he is always very gracious when three little boys come sheepishly knock on his door once again to collect their ball. So a box of freshly baked shortbread was in order as a very small token for all our trips through the gate.

I almost always use generic butter. I honestly didn't think it really made a difference... but oh my goodness. Finlandia is all natural and they've been producing dairy products for over a century. And let me tell you, this shortbread ended up so light and airy and crisp this time around - I have no doubt they're the reason. 

Whip up a batch of these to surprise someone special, or to enjoy as an afternoon treat! 

Iced Lemon Poppy Seed Shortbread
makes about 3 dozen
7 ounces (14 tablespoons) Finlandia unsalted butter, softened
1 scant cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons lemon zest (from about two large lemons)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (about half a lemon)
2 tablespoons poppy seeds (my store has them in bulk, which is WAY cheaper!)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup powdered sugar
5 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

In a stand mixer, whip butter and powdered sugar together until light and fluffy. Add in lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla and mix well. Add in flour, salt and poppy seeds and mix until just combined. Gently scrape all sides with a spatula to ensure everything is mixed evenly.

At this point, the dough is pretty sticky. Empty your bowl onto a sheet of wax paper and form into a log, wrap evenly and freeze for about an hour, until the dough is firm.

Preheat the oven to 300 F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice the dough into 1/4" rounds and place them on the baking sheet, leaving a little space for spreading. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. (I check mine frequently because my oven desperately needs calibrating.)

Refrigerate unused dough between batches.

Cool shortbread on a wire rack. Meanwhile, mix up your icing. You want it to be thin enough to drizzle, but thick enough to maintain that bright white and not slip right off the shortbread. 1 cup of powdered sugar and 4-5 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice did the trick!
Drizzle cooled shortbread using a fork. Let set, serve, and enjoy!