Lemons have always been a favorite of mine for as long as I can remember, plus add ginger and hazelnuts for a great combination of flavors. The zest and juice can brighten up almost any cookie I can think of, well nearly any flavor cookie. The zest and juice serve two different purposes, so when creating or just looking over someone's recipe, you can get a sense of the finished cookie. Taste is based on whether they use one or both of the lemon parts. I tried to find a site that would give a good explanation, but everything I clicked on was just a question and answer page. So I will do my summary:
The zest is the real taste of lemon. It is a brighter taste of lemon without the acidity. When you zest a lemon, just run the Microplane over a spot once, so you only get the top layer and not the white underneath since it is bitter tasting.
Lemon juice is sour, but I find it helps to keep my cookies from tasting too sweet. The easiest way I found to get the juice from a lemon is to use a juicer. I found different that citruses determine the type of juicer I use. For lemons and limes, I use a Chef'n FreshForce Citrus Juicer. For Key limes, you need a reamer, the last time I tried to use my Chef'n Juicer on Key limes; I lost half the juice. So it is handy to have an old fashion reamer for special fruit.
For a little kick to these cookies, I added just a small amount of ginger. You have to be careful with ginger; it can overpower all the other flavors in your cookie.
Adding hazelnuts was a great choice. They are mild nuts that I enjoy, and I have not used them much this year. I hope you enjoy these cookies from my kitchen to yours.
Lemon Ginger with Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies
- 1 cup Butter unsalted 2 sticks
- ⅔ cup Powdered sugar 83 g
- 2 TBSP Lemon juice
- 3 TBSP Lemon zest
- 2 cups All purpose flour 240 g
- ¼ tsp Ground ginger
- ½ tsp Baking powder
- ¼ tsp Kosher Salt
- ½ to ⅔ cup Hazelnuts
- Weigh or measure into a bowl the flour, baking powder, salt, ginger, running a whisk through to blend and set aside. In another small bowl, weigh or measure the powdered sugar and set that bowl aside also—next, zest and juice two lemons. Make sure the zest and juice are in separate containers.
- In a stand or handheld mixer, beat the butter till it is creamy, light, and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Turn the mixer down to low and slowly add the powdered sugar. Turn the mixer to medium and mix for about 2 minutes. Scape down the sides and finish blending the sugar into the butter. Add the lemon juice and the zest and incorporate it. Turn the mixer down and slowly add the flour mixture. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides, and across the bottom, then add the hazelnuts. Turn the mixer on for about 1 minute to get the hazelnuts to go evenly throughout the dough.
- You want to take the dough out of the bowl and onto a hard surface or pastry mat that has been lightly dusted with flour and check to see that everything is mixed. I divide the dough into two even sections. You want to make a log shape out of each half. My logs were about 9-½ inches long. You want to wrap each log section with plastic wrap and set on a sheet pan before sticking them into the refrigerator for 45 minutes to harden.
- Preheat your oven to 350°, and line 2 cookie sheet pans with parchment paper and set them aside. Taking one log out of the refrigerator, unwrap the plastic wrap, and slice out about 14 to 16 cookies. You can fit them all onto one pan; they do not spread much when baking—Bake for 12 to 14 minutes. Repeat with the second log. You should get about 2-½ dozen cookies.