The other day I needed a small and beautiful treat to say thank you to a friend. Many people I know feel just like I do: we love sweets, but also don’t want a big plate of something amazing just hanging around calling our name every time we pass the kitchen. Enter the Small Plate of Something Amazing. I love these Pink Lemonade Shortbread Cookies because they are quick, beautiful, customizable, and gone in a few bites.
This recipe makes exactly five cookies, using a scoop that holds about 1 1/2 tablespoons. But it is totally fine to just roll portions into balls with your hands, or use a spoon to scoop the cookies. As for customization, you can use any type of grated citrus peel, any flavor citrus juice, or leave out the zest and juice all together and go for a spice like cinnamon or cardamom. If you are feeling ultra-adventurous, go for a chopped fresh herb like basil, rosemary, or thyme. (Use milk in place of citrus juice in the icing if you are changing up the cookie with spices or herbs.) Try it and amaze yourself!
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Set a silicone baking mat or piece of parchment paper on a sheet pan. In a small bowl, combine softened butter and powdered sugar. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture is smooth. Add flour, cornstarch, grated lemon peel, and lemon juice. Stir until well-combined. Scoop five round portions onto a sheet pan, flattening the cookies slightly to a height of 1/2-inch.
Bake 13-14 minutes, until the bottoms are just starting to turn golden. Do not over-bake. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
For the icing, combine powdered sugar, juice, optional zest, and optional tiny drop of food color in a small bowl. Stir to combine, adjusting the consistency if needed by adding another drop or two of juice. Use a spoon to ice each cookie. Enjoy or deliver to a friend, or both.
Note: To get a really delicate icing color, use a toothpick. Drop the food color onto a plate, soak up a tiny bit with the end of a toothpick, and use the toothpick to add color to the icing. Repeat until you have the shade you’re looking for.
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