lemon, rosemary & pine nut shortbread

I bet you’re thinking that’s a slightly weird flavour combination right there, especially for a sweet bakery item. I know that was my first reaction when I came across this recipe years ago. And then I thought about it for just a little bit longer. And then I made the shortbread, and I was hooked. Actually I can’t believe I’ve never written about this recipe before! It’s delicious, smells amazing, and also isn’t overpoweringly sugary – something about those flavours make this biscuit sweetly savoury, and when you use salted butter instead of unsalted it’s even better.

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It was so long ago that I first made these that I can’t even remember where the recipe first came from. I have written about my go-to shortbread recipe before, and this is where it started although the flavour combination can change, but I’ve made a few tweaks over the years. It’s an easy one (I like easy) and you can make the dough ahead of time to bake it when you need it (also useful if you’ve got a lot of things going on at once).

When you roll and cut the biscuit dough you can make it whatever size or thickness that you like, but you may need to adjust the cooking time slightly to suit. A minute or two either way is all it will need.

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250g soft butter
2/3 cup icing sugar
zest of 1 lemon
1 heaped tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 cup toasted pinenuts
2 cups plain flour (you may need a little extra depending on the dough consistency)

Cream the butter and sugar, add the lemon zest and rosemary and beat well. Add the sifted flour and the nuts, and mix until the dough clumps together. Turn out onto a clean benchtop and knead briefly until the dough comes together and is smooth – you will need to work fairly quickly otherwise the dough gets too soft. 

Roll the dough into logs, wrap in glad wrap and refrigerate until firm (an hour or two should do it, but you could make this dough a day or two ahead if you wanted). 

Slice the logs into biscuits, about 7-8mm thick, and bake in a preheated oven at 180C for about 10 minutes. They should be just starting to go golden around the edges, and they will burn quickly so keep an eye on them. They do spread slightly on the tray, but not a lot.

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Cool on wire racks and store in an airtight container.

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Lemon Cupcakes

Another colleague’s birthday, so another batch of cupcakes… This time I wanted to try to make a different flavour combination, but still something that I knew would work (because I was a bit short on time and ingredients for too much experimentation!). I decided on lemon cupcakes with lemon buttercream – something light, fresh and zesty!

I intended to try icing them in a slightly different way, but realised too late that I needed a different coupler as all my other decorating tips are smaller, so I went with the usual.

I used my regular cupcake recipe, that I mentioned in the Earl Grey Tea Cupcakes post, and I even used the lemon buttercream from that post too, but I changed the cupcake flavours slightly… It made about 40 cupcakes, which is a LOT, so if you’re not feeding an army you might want to halve the recipe (although you could still add the same amount of lemon zest, they could handle a stronger flavour if you’d like it).

250g soft butter
2 cups caster sugar
4 eggs
3 cups self-raising flour
1 cup milk
finely grated zest of 1 lemon 

Preheat oven to 180C. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating briefly after each addition. Add the lemon zest and beat briefly until mixed through. Sift in half the flour and fold together with a large metal spoon. Add the rest of the flour and the milk, mix until just combined. Fill cupcake tray sections about 2/3 full. Bake for about 25 minutes.