Thursday, May 20, 2010

Resistance is Futile

Drat those cravings. You know how it is. A thought that niggles at the back of your brain, tickling you at odd hours, nudging you in quiet moments, gently clearing the throat, and, if you don't cave in to the craving, it is eventually shoving you in the chest and slapping you upside the chest. Yes, my cravings are not to be trivialized; they're a force to be reckoned with.

My most recent craving was lemon and poppyseed. I'll blame Whole Foods. They have those adorable mini-scones in lemon and poppyseed. Of course, I'd never pay those prices, but still, the idea of lemon and poppyseeds stayed with me, badgered me, and generally made my subconscious pester me until I screamed, "Uncle, uncle!"

Well, I didn't really scream, but I did bake. I pondered scones, muffins, and cookies, and eventually settled on shortbread. I'm normally a soft, squishy cookie kind of gal, but I like the restrained elegance of shortbread. This recipe gave me shortbread that is the perfect companion to a cup of tea of a mug of coffee. Subtly sweet, with a lingering flavor of poppyseeds and tangy lemon on your tongue.

Now that I've got you thinking lemon and poppyseed, you know you want them.....go ahead, give in. It will only get worse if you resist!

Lemon Poppyseed Shortbread Cookies
- adapted from Great Cookies by Carole Walters

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour, spooned in and leveled
1/2 cup rice flour, spooned in and leveled
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tbsp poppy seeds
1 cup ( 2 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened
2 Tbsp freshly grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp lemon oil
1/2 cup superfine sugar
2 oz white chocolate, melted, for garnish (optional)*

1- Preheat the oven to 300 deg. F with a rack in the center of the oven. Line a 9 -inch square baking pan with a 15-inch square sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil.

2- Sift the flours and salt together three times. Stir in the poppy seeds and set aside.

3- In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium-low speed until smooth and creamy. Add the lemon zest and lemon oil and mix for 1 minute. Add the sugar gradually, then mix for 1 minute longer, scraping the bowl as needed.

4 - Remove the bowl from the machine and, using a wooden spoon, cut half of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture until almost incorporated. Work in the remaining flour with the spoon or by hand, adding it in 5 or 6 additions. Gently knead the mixture just until a smooth dough is formed. Be careful not to overwork the dough, as this results in tough cookies.

5- Press the dough evenly into the pan. Be sure the dough is pushed to the corners and is even throughout. Clean the edges of the pan by inserting a spatula in between the dough and the sides of the pan

6- Bake the shortbread for 55 to 60 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes. (Keep the oven turned on!)

7- Use the foil to remove the shortbread from the pan to a baking sheet without a rim. Peel back the foil so it releases from the sides of the cookies. Using a long, serrated knife, cut five 1-3/4-inch strips. Turn the foil a quarter turn and repeat the cuts to form 25 squares. Spread the cookies apart and return them to the oven for 10 more minutes to dry and crisp.

8- Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

9- (Optional garnish) Pour the tepid melted white chocolate into a small plastic squeeze bootle or a pastry bag fitted with a #2 decorating tip. Move it back and forth over the cookies to create squiggly lines of chocolate. You can also dip a fork into the melted chocolate and drizzle it over the cookies. Let the cookies stand at room temperature until the chocolate has set.

Store the cookies in an airtight container between layers of wax paper for up to 3 weeks.

*The drizzle on the top is just for show, to dress up the cookies for company. Tastewise, it doesn't really need it.


Melinda said...

It is very spooky you should mention bad influences for making your mind crave something. I've just made the chocolate peanut butter brownies you made a little while back. I couldn't stop thinking about them. They are cooling on the counter as I type this. I have nibble a bit off and burnt my finger. The peanut butter swirly bit stays fire cracker hot!
Now...aren't these the scones we had for our virtual tea last Sunday?
They were just mawvaloss, Dawling!

Dolce said...

Since I baked dulce de leche, this is what enters my mind when I want something sweet... Either that, or Nutella, and I would be happy (not my hips though)... I can understand that this is the same for lemon and poppyseeds for you!!

Bellini Valli said...

Lemon and poppy seeds always remind me of the days when my daughter was in elementary school and I was a volunteer. Treat day was every Thursday. It has always been one of my favourite combinations.

Bellini Valli said...

PS I made your sisters crympets this morning and I have nooks and crannies:D

Anonymous said...

Lemon and poppyseed sound far less 'weighty' than chocolate so, I reckon indulging in it is far less sinful too. ;) hehe

Abby said...

The squiggles are so cute! I love lemon and poppy seed. And while I don't really shop at Whole Foods anymore, I do have a soft spot for their (ridiculously expensive) banana pudding. Sigh.

grace said...

another unique lemon-poppy seed creation! it seems to be all the rage these days--breads, cookies, muffins, scones. what's next? pudding? :)

The Blonde Duck said...

Cravings are troublesome indeed!

Aimée said...

Trade you for a lemon-poppy seed cupcake?

ajcabuang04 said...

These look awesome!! The icing on top is a fun touch. Would you mind checking out my blog at

Peabody said...

Major swoonage. Got to love any type of shortbread. THis looks like a fun version.

Barbara said...

I know that craving feeling. The problem is, I usually don't have the ingredients at hand when I get one. Which is probably a good thing. :)
Loving these lemon poppyseed shortbreads!

RecipeGirl said...

These look delicious. I'd drizzle white chocolate on top too, if anything... for the cute factor :)

Elle said...

Any kind of shortbread is yum, but lemon is extra special. I know what you mean about cravings. Mine was for mixed nut blondies...nuts and butterscotch, sweet and salty.

eatme_delicious said...

I thought these cookies looked familiar and then I saw where you got them from. Love that cookbook! And it looks like these turned out really well. I love that squiggly icing on top.

Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] said...

These look delicious!