March 8, 2013

Buttery Citrus Shortbread -- Cottontail Cookies

These bite-sized citrus cookies are like a little taste of springtime!   The simple butter cookie dough is brightened with the flavors of lemon, lime, and orange zest.  A toss in fresh squeezed lemon juice and powdered sugar gives them a perfect sweet-tart balance and nifty little glaze.

This recipe is as prolific as a warren of rollicking rabbits, but don't be fooled.  They're as quick to disappear as their namesakes.

Citrus Cottontail Cookies
(makes approx. 200)

  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Zest* of one lemon
  • Zest of one small orange
  • Zest of one lime
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted

2 parchment lined baking sheets
1 strainer or colander
*microplane grater for zesting is recommended

Step 1: Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.

Step 2: Cream butter, sugar and citrus zests with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy. With mixer running, add egg and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture gradually, beating until just incorporated.

Step 3: Divide dough in half; flatten each half into a disk, and wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour (or overnight).

Step 4: Preheat oven to 325 degrees with rack in the middle. Let one disk of dough stand at room temperature just until soft enough to roll, about 10 minutes. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out cookies with a 1” circle cutter, and place them ½” apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. I arrange my cookies in 6 columns of 10. Place in freezer for 10 minutes. Combine scraps and set aside.

Step 5: While first batch is in the freezer, bring second disk of dough out of the refrigerator and allow to stand at room temperature for 10 minutes.

Step 6: Place first batch of cookies in the oven. Bake for 13 minutes (cookies should not brown, but should spring back when touched). While cookies are baking, roll out and cut the second disk of dough. Arrange on the second baking sheet. Combine the scraps with the ones from the first batch into a single disk. Wrap in plastic and place in freezer with the second pan of cookies.

Step 7: Remove baked cookies from oven and allow to cool for 2 minutes. Gather corners of parchment to transport cookies to a medium bowl. Sprinkle cookies with 2 teaspoons lemon juice. Toss to coat. Transfer cookies immediately to a second medium bowl containing the sifted powdered sugar. Toss to coat. Let set for one minute. Toss again. Transfer to a colander or strainer and gently toss over the powdered sugar bowl to remove excess sugar. Transfer finished cookies to a serving plate or airtight container.

Step 8: Bake second pan of cookies. Remove 3rd disk of dough from the freezer and allow to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. Toss finished cookies in lemon juice, then powdered sugar (as in step 7). Repeat process with remaining disk of dough.

I packaged my cottontails 2 dozen to a bag and topped them with this label that you can print out for free HERE. For an added touch of whimsy, I attached a small pompom to the label with a glue dot.

This post has been linked-up with:
The BFF Open House Linky Party @ The Answer is Chocolate
Tickled Pink @ 504 Main 
Countdown to Spring party @ Domestically Speaking 
The Spring Fling Party from Flamingo Toes & Homework 


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  2. Ooh, I'll definitely have to make these. Not only do I love citrus cookies, we have two pet rabbits! One is all white, like the bunny on the package topper, so making these cookies seems like the right thing to do on many levels. :] Thank you for sharing this recipe, and for all your posts...

  3. Delicious. Love the sprinkled lemon juice at the end.

  4. Oh, Those look wonderful! That hit of citrus is perfect for spring!

  5. These look amazing - love shortbread cookies!

  6. Wow - these look so yummy! Thanks to Carolyn at Carolyn's Homework for tweeting these! Pinning! :)
    - Claire @

  7. Perfect little bites. Great for sharing. Thanks for the printable--I will use it!

  8. P.S. Love your darling blog header. It just makes me happy!

  9. These are super cute!!! Love them (and I bet they taste good too)!

  10. Light and pretty and perfect for a spring day!

  11. You come up with the most adorable ideas! So cute!!


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