Lemon Shortbread and Molasses Crinkles

We just got the name of our soldier for Round 11 of Baking GALS and I started our baking on Sunday afternoon. Melody was a great help again, measuring and pouring in the ingredients for our lemon shortbread cookies, and of course, testing them to ensure they are good enough to send! I decided to bake the lemon shortbreads again because Sarah, our soldier a few rounds back, told me they were her favorite cookie, plus they seemed to have traveled the best. Although I got the original recipe somewhere else, I have added the lemon zest and I bake them differently than the recipe directs. I’ll get to that in just a minute.

First, I want to mention a contest I entered recently and managed to win. Over at DeltaWhiskey, Cat was running a contest called Deploy Peace. She asked that her readers comment about the ways they support American troops and why. The winners would receive a Deploy Peace dogtag, which is made from retired military aircraft. Check the Deploy Peace site for more information about them. Here is my comment, which I am honored to say was chosen as one of the winning entries:

“Every branch of my family going back to the Revolutionary War has served in some form or fashion. I am a supporter, not a fighter. I know my limitations and I’m not in the military nor have I ever been, but I’m a proud supporter and a proud descendant of a long line of military heroes. They may not all have been decorated, but every single one who served is a hero in my eyes.

I live near an air base, and we see servicemen and women all the time. Every time I see someone in uniform, I want to go up to them and just hug them, thank them for the sacrifices they and their families make on a daily basis for me, my family, my neighbors, my fellow countrymen. But I’m a big chicken and I never do it. I don’t want them to think I’m some kind of loopy nut. :-)

Instead, I bake. I found Cat through the Baking Gals website and it has opened up a font of caring and emotion inside me that I had not known existed with such richness. To me, every batch of cookies that I send overseas is taking a piece of my love and concern to someone who needs to know they aren’t alone out there. Since starting last November, I have looked into the history of our family flag, 100 years old almost, and presented by the Army to an ancestor. He had taken care of the troops on their way to and from WW1, in his home, with his own funds, because it was the right thing to do.

People who are critical of military service people and their families have no room to talk. Our servicemen and women don’t choose to go to war. They don’t join up because they want to kill the enemy. They join because for them, it’s the right thing to do, and when the country comes calling, they go, because it’s the right thing to do.”

I say it over and over, the reason I do this baking thing is to send a little comfort to those who have few comforts. Sure, they may have a bed to sleep in and a roof over their head, but the comfort of home is irreplaceable. A home made cookie is always better than a boxed and mass produced one, every day.

Want to make some yummy lemon shortbread cookies for your family? Here’s the recipe I use. Please use high grade butter and pure vanilla extract for best results. It’s a cookie, don’t worry about fat content! :-)

Lemon Shortbread Cookies

1 cup butter, room temperature

1/2 cup powdered sugar

2 cups flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

Zest lemons, combine with vanilla and stir until smooth and well blended, set aside. In a large bowl, combine flour and salt, mixing thoroughly, set aside. In your mixer, cream butter until smooth. Add powdered sugar and mix for about 2 minutes. Add lemon/vanilla flavor. Add flour mixture slowly, one spoonful at a time under the beaters is best. Mix until the dough is light and fluffy. (At this point if the dough is not “lemony” enough for you, you can add another 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon, but don’t get carried away.)

Roll dough into 1″ balls and place on cookie sheet. Press flat with a fork. Bake for about 9 minutes at 350. Yield about 4 dozen. You can chill the dough and make rolled cookies, but mine always end up wonky, which is why I don’t do that.

Enjoy!

Tonight, molasses crinkles!

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