December! In fact, it’s Christmas day…how’d this happen? This year just disappeared. I know I’ve said in previous post that the days, weeks, or months have flown by, been a blur, and this hasn’t more true than the last couple of months. But, people, it’s Christmas time!! Sweets, baking, family, friends, and a time to reflect on the year that was and the year that will be. Growing up, this was honestly my favorite time of year. Just about every Christmas was filled with handmade candy and cookies; when I was a kid, my mom, sister, and I would bake for a week to get ready for Christmas! Then, as my sister and I got older, and I moved away, the holiday baking was left mostly to my mom. My nephew eventually took up the baking spoon and became co-baker with mom. She passed on the love of baking to him most of all; he’s now a professional pastry chef and, most recently, a food blogger, too! I try to bake a bit for Christmas but not nearly as much or often as I did when I was younger or even when I was in graduate school. Now, I have grand plans of holiday baking–all manner of candies and cookies to be eaten or gifted and enjoyed with friends–and those plans rarely materialize, they often get sidelined by life in general and my knack for over-planning or committing to things. This year was notably sidelined by the decision to put our house on the market in January and need for a few cosmetic improvements that required a speedy pack and furniture removal just a few weeks before Christmas followed by a work trip to Denmark. Did I mention this month was a blur??
Oh, and this month was also the 4th anniversary for Letterpress Distilling! We bottled our first batch of vodka the weekend before Skip married two dear friends and we flew to Southeast Asia for our honeymoon. So, in honor of the anniversary, the morning after I got home from my work trip, I made some of my favorite cookies for the distillery’s anniversary: crispy, salty shortbread coated in a limoncello glaze. When there’s more time, I love to top these little gems with thin candied lemon slice–and strongly recommend that you do this whenever you can. But, honestly, these are lovely with just the glaze
Shortbread with Limoncello Glaze
1 C Butter (2 Sticks/227 g), softened*
1/2 C Granulated sugar (101 g)
1/2 tsp Salt
2 C All-purpose flour (270 g)
~1 1/2 C Powdered Sugar (168 g)
1/4 C limoncello*
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbsp Whole milk
1/4 C Cream cheese, softened*
1/2 tsp Salt
- Mix the butter and sugar for about 5 minutes or until fluffy.
- Add the salt.
- Add the 1/2 the flour, mix just till blended; then, add the remainder of the flour just till blended. It helps to cover the mixer with a dish towel to prevent flour from going everywhere!
Split the dough in half and shape each half in a log, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate at least a couple of hours.
- Pre-heat oven to 350 °F.
- Slice the cookie dough in to 1/4-inch slices and bake on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or using a silicone baking mat for 12-15 minutes until just barely showing a little color on the edge.
- Cool on the baking sheet for 3 minutes then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
- To make the glaze, whip the cream cheese (if using) until smooth. Add the salt, powdered sugar, limoncello, juice, and milk—mix until all combined and there are no lumps.
- Once the cookies are completely cool, top them with the glaze and decorate with sprinkles, stars, or (highly recommended if you have time!) candied lemon slices. A little sprinkle of salt is nice, too.
- High quality salted butter can be used.
- I used Letterpress limoncello — it’s delicious and has no artificial color or flavor, and it’s made by a pretty awesome guy.
- The cream cheese is a nice addition to the glaze but, if you don’t have it, the glaze will work well without it.
Merry Christmas all—thanks for joining me on the blog ride this year; I look forward to continuing the fun next year & picking the Cookbook Sunday dinner back up after we get through the whole ‘selling our house’ adventure! Much love and joy to you all!