Buttery lemon shortbread squares – an easy and delicious citrus twist on classic shortbread cookies. Made with simple ingredients, these irresistible little squares are sweet, salty, and perfect for holiday gifting!
Let’s chat about holiday baking. Specifically cookies. Do you have a list you stick to every year? Or do you like to try lots of new cookie recipes? I tend to stick mostly to our family favorites, with a few new cookies thrown in, and I always start with these chewy ginger molasses cookies.
Shortbread cookies make many appearances this time of year – typically the roll out, cut out, slice-off-the-log sort – but this week, after coming across this recipe, I was suddenly craving thick, chewy, super buttery, Scotch-style shortbread squares.
So I made a pan of lemony shortbread, took just one picture, and then, we couldn’t stop eating it. After we demolished the whole batch in less than two days, I decided it best to file this gem away as shortbread perfection, and not make it again until next season, because I have zero self-control when it comes to buttery, floury sweet things and there are so many more to come between now and January.
Shortbread may not be the most photogenic of baked treats, but the flavors here are anything but boring, and I hope that the plain appearance won’t dissuade you from trying these buttery, crumbly shortbread bars tinged with vanilla and fragrant Meyer lemon zest. Trust me when I say that you’re going to really love these.
How to make lemon shortbread squares
The recipe is disarmingly simple, and the ingredients list is short: sugar, butter, flour, salt, vanilla and lemon zest. You probably have everything you need, right now, in your pantry. Well, you may need to borrow a bit of butter from a neighbor – this luscious shortbread requires three full sticks!
I was excited to find a few small, vibrant Meyer lemons at the grocery store, which I would recommend using here if you can find them, as they tend to have a sweeter and more pronounced lemon flavor than regular lemons. Or use any other citrus zest you’d like (or none at all), but be sure to rub the lemon zest together with the sugar for a few minutes to really bring out the bright citrus flavor.