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Lemon-Lime Shortbread

September 15, 2009
Lemon-Lime Shortbread

Lemon-Lime Shortbread

We can file this recipe under my  growing list of “Happy Kitchen Accidents.”  Baking suits me well not only in my preference for all things sugar and carb-laden but also due to my tendency to be a bit too tightly wound and my affection for organization and order.  But there comes a time in even the most well-planned baker’s kitchen when improvisation is unavoidable.

For me, improvisation usually comes with the stampede of a craving at 8pm on a Wednesday night.  And other times you make your grocery list and are (foolishly and naively) positive that you have exactly half a bag of dark chocolate chips in your pantry only to discover, mid-recipe, that your wonderful and ravenous husband polished them off 2 days ago in a fit of grazing before dinner.  Ah well, perhaps a few handfuls of butterscotch chips and leftover toasted coconut will do?


I know that substitution and improvisation only become more of a necessity once you introduce little hungry hands and curious taste buds to your kitchen.  So I continue to work on taking a “chill pill” and as a result, often develop something that rivals if not surpasses the original.

Case in point, I set out to make Lemon Shortbread, a recipe from the box and lifted (I think) from Southern Living Magazine, only to find – with the first layer already in the oven – that I had but one lemon, a.k.a not enough for the zest and 1/2 cup juice called for.  Panic ensued until sweet miracle of miracles, in the very bottom of my fruit bowl, I unearthed a lone and forgotten lime with just enough juice and zest to pull it off.  In the end, I loved the milder citrus flavor that less lemon plus lime lends to this cookie.


Lemon-Lime Shortbread

Adapted from Southern Living


For the crust

2 cups all-purpose flour

3 Tbs sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 large egg yolks

For the filling

6 large eggs

2 cups sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

2 tsp grated lemon zest

2 tsp grated lime zest

For streusel topping

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 tsp salt

4 Tbs chilled butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor or large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the cookie crust and process just until a loose dough forms.  Press mixture evenly into a lightly sprayed 9×13 pan and bake for 10 minutes, or until golden.

While the crust bakes, start on the filling.  Whisk together the 6 eggs and 2 cups of sugar until the eggs lighten slightly in color.  Whisk in the 1 tsp baking powder and 1/2 cup flour.  Finally, add the zest and lemon and lime juices and whisk until combined.  Carefully pour the mixture over the hot crust and return to the oven for 30 minutes or until set.

For the streusel, combine the 3/4 cup flour, 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 tsp salt.  Using a food processor to pulse or a fork, cut the butter into the flour until a moistened but crumb-like mixture forms.  Once the filling is set, sprinkle the streusel on top and return to the oven for 20-25 minutes or until streusel is golden brown.  Allow the shortbread to cool completely on a wire rack before cutting.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 18, 2009 10:34 am


    This shortbread looks great. I love lemon-y desserts. Sorry to hear you can’t make the happy hour. Hopefully your class ends soon!

  2. SVL permalink
    December 24, 2009 9:54 pm

    I have a son in the Air Force that loves not only lemon bars, but key-lime pie, so I can’t wait to try this recipe out on him, sounds great.

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