Old-Fashioned Lemony Shortbread

There is nothing quite like a good “bickie”. The old-fashioned Yo-Yo, Belgian or the famous Shrewsbury biscuit are a few of my favourites. I think it might be because they are all sandwich-style biscuits with a layer of cream or icing in between. Delicious!

So when I saw a recipe for these tangy lemony treats last week I knew I had to try them out. I also had a set of cookie cutters I was given that I could finally put to work (yay!).

These little biscuits are actually heavenly! They are soft, light and crumbly and require very few ingredients. I can almost guarantee that you have everything you need to make them. There is something nice about being able to make a batch of biscuits on the whim and with ingredients already in the cupboard!

I found these biscuits take a little bit more extra labour than your typical ANZAC or Afghan recipe but make up for time in flavour! I did somewhat make more work for myself, too, when I decided to make 40-odd wee miniature little stars rather than a dozen or so bigger ones but worked out really well. I quite like how the lemon zest is still quite visible once baked, though you could easily cut the zest up a wee bit smaller if so desired!

Old-fashioned lemony shortbread

  • 130g very soft butter
  • 1/2 cup sifted icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 cup of self-raising flour
  • 1/2 cup cornflour
  • pinch of salt
  • zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
  • extra icing sugar for dusting

Put butter, icing sugar and vanilla in a bowl. Beat until pale and creamy. Don’t rush this step. Sift together flour, cornflour and salt. With beaters running, add the dry ingredients in three lots. Add the lemon zest and beat until fully combined.Turn mixture out onto a lightly floured board. Form into a ball and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Halve the dough and roll out the first portion on a lightly floured surface, or between sheets of baking paper, until about 5mm thick. Cut with a cookie cutter. If you want to, you can cut a small circle or shape out of every second biscuit if desired – like a Shrewsbury!

Place biscuits on baking sheets lined with baking paper. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes at 180° and cool on a wire rack. Repeat process with second portion of dough. Make sure your re-roll any scraps and cut again.

For the lemon icing:

Combine 50 grams of softened butter with 1 1/2 cups sifted icing sugar and 2 teaspoons of finely grated lemon zest. Beat together with a few drops of boiling water to make a spreading consistency. Sandwich biscuits together with lemon curd or icing and dust with icing sugar!

Make sure you store these biscuits (though they are not likely to last terribly long!) in a sealed container! I thought this recipe could work really well as a small gift for friends or family. Christmas, after all, is just around the corner! Hmmm…

Bit of a poll this time round, what is your favourite biscuit of all time? A kiwi creation or otherwise!

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Lemon Sour Cream Cupcakes

It is Sunday afternoon and the All Blacks are just about to go head to head with Canada. I do watch the odd game of Rugby and I am 100% behind the All Blacks like the rest of New Zealand. With an abundant supply of homemade lemon curd in the fridge, it is the perfect time to make something delicious to eat while watching the game. Although this recipe is technically for a cake, they make perfect little cupcakes.

Lemon Sour Cream Cupcakes

  • 125 g butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup Edmonds plain baking flour
  • 1 teaspoon Edmonds baking powder
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • Icing sugar

Beat butter, lemon rind, sugar and eggs together until light and fluffy. Sift flour and baking powder together and fold sifted ingredients into egg mixture alternately with sour cream, mixing until smooth.

Pour mixture into a greased muffin tin.

Bake at 160°C for 45 minutes (usually less than this!) or until cupcakes spring back when lightly touched. Leave in tin for 5-10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack. Once the cupcakes have been baked and cooled, a hole is made in the centre of each cupcake and fill with a small spoon of lemon curd. Plug the hole with the cupcake lid to seal.

Lastly, I adore the combination of dark chocolate and lemon. It is delicious, but I find that it is rarely combined. Once the cupcakes have been iced, I decorate the top with a shard of dark chocolate. I hope you enjoy making this recipe as much as I do.

Easy Lemon Curd

I’m not going to lie. I love lemons. They are probably one of my favourite ingredients to bake with, especially those sourced from my parents lemon tree in Palmerston North. I am a bit of a raider really, whenever I go home and their tree is in full-fruit-producing glory, I take more than my fair share.

So many in fact, I sometimes struggle to think of ways to use them all up and let’s face it, lemons do not last forever. A long standing favourite I make with lemons is a really moist lemon sour cream cake from the Edmond’s Cookery Book, which I often turn into cupcakes, a lemon slice from Kitchen Wench or my Mum’s lemon cordial recipe.

Recently I bought a jar of the delicious Lemon Curd from the Barker’s range. Seriously addictive stuff and I soon found there is nothing better than Lemon Curd on Vogel’s…amen. Barkers are based in Geraldine and wherever I can, I try to buy New Zealand made.

With lemon curd fresh on my palette, I wanted to see how easy it was to make my own. It proved quite difficult to find a recipe that wasn’t high in sugar, until I found this one (thanks to @Shadowfoot). This  recipe is easy enough to do while making dinner and uses a whole egg without needing to separate the white from the yolk, or find a way of using up the whites…

Easy Lemon Curd

  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 tablespoon Lemon Zest
  • ½ cup Lemon Juice
  • 50g Butter, softened and chopped into small pieces

Beat the eggs and sugar together until well combined. Next beat in lemon juice and the lemon zest.

Beat in the butter, bearing in mind it will appear lumpy and don’t try to make it smooth. Microwave on high for up to 8 minutes, until fairly thick, whisking roughly every 2 minutes. Pour into hot clean jars and seal immediately. This recipe was doubled and ended up making three jars which is plenty.

Homemade lemon curd makes a wonderful gift but if you don’t wish to make your own lemon curd, I seriously recommend trying out the Barker’s lemon curd or any of their spreads for that matter. Today I discovered a recipe for Lemon Curd Cheesecake I cannot wait to try. Until next time.