Shortbread is among the simplest of cookie doughs, but, as with anything simple, carelessness will show. The better the butter, the softer and more flavorful your cookies will be (at work I'm lucky enough to have Plugra, a high fat European butter, as my default option). Don't skimp on the citrus zest, which bridges the flavors of honey and coriander beautifully, and DON'T buy pre-ground coriander. Buy whole coriander seed, toast it in a dry pan or the oven until fragrant, then grind it into a powder with a spice grinder or high-powered blender.
Note: Use whatever citrus you have on hand for these, but as much variety as possible is best. A mixture of equal parts lemon, lime, tangerine, orange or grapefruit is recommended. If you happen to have strongly-flavored specialty citrus like kaffir limes, sweet limes, Meyer lemons or calamansi, by all means include them but do so sparingly so as not to overpower the other flavors. If you'd prefer to only use one type of citrus, I'd go with lime, grapefruit, or tangerine.
About the Author: Anna Markow is a pastry chef obsessed with doing things that no one else does and giving unusual ingredients their time to shine. You can follow her sometimes-pastry-related thoughts on Twitter @VerySmallAnna.
- Yield:Makes 6-7 dozen
- Active time: 30 minutes
- Total time:3 hours +
- 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup honey (clover, mixed wildflower or any other basic light honey)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon zest from any combination of citrus
- 5 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons toasted ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Sugar in the raw
Combine butter, honey, vanilla, and citrus zest, and beat on high speed with stand mixer or handheld electric mixer until completely smooth, scraping bowl and beater as needed. In separate mixing bowl, whisk or sift together flour, coriander, and salt. With mixer off, add all of dry mixture at once and beat on lowest speed until mostly incorporated, then finish folding it in by hand. Separate into 4 equal portions and pat each into a log and wrap tightly in plastic, rolling the log as you wrap to create an even cylinder. Refrigerate overnight, or, if you're in a hurry, freeze for 1 hour.
Place rack in center of oven and preheat to 300°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats. Using a sharp knife, slice end from a log and discard, then slice dough into 1/4 inch rounds. To prevent cylinder from warping and flattening, turn it a bit with each slice. Pour sugar in the raw in a shallow bowl and gently but firmly roll edges of each cookie in sugar to coat evenly, then place 1-inch apart on sheets. If dough is excessively soft, refrigerate 5 minutes or until firm before baking. Bake for 10 minutes, then rotate and bake for another 10. Allow to cool fully before removing from sheets and storing. Repeat with remaining dough until all is baked, or store dough logs in freezer until ready to use, up to 1 month.