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Cornmeal plus lemon makes for a tasty shortbread cookie

Lemon cornmeal shortbread cookies can be served with coffee or ice cream. (Stacy Zarin Goldberg / Washington Post)
Lemon cornmeal shortbread cookies can be served with coffee or ice cream. (Stacy Zarin Goldberg / Washington Post)
By Rebecca Powers Special to the Washington Post

These crisp, not-too-sweet cookies with citrus notes elevate whatever they accompany, such as ice cream or coffee.

Just make sure to give yourself plenty of time: The dough needs to be refrigerated for 20 minutes, and later frozen just until firm, 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Lemon Cormeal Shortbread

3/4 cup finely stone-ground cornmeal

1 1/4 cups flour (pastry or all-purpose), plus more for the work surface

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon (at least 2 teaspoons)

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

Whisk together the cornmeal and flour in a mixing bowl.

Blend the butter, sugar, zest and salt in a food processor until smooth. Add the cornmeal-flour mixture; process for about 1 minute, to form a consistent dough. Transfer to a container, cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes, until well chilled.

Let the dough come to room temperature. Lightly flour a work surface, then knead the dough there until it feels pliable but still holds together. Shape it into two logs that are about 3 inches long and 2 inches in diameter. Wrap in parchment paper and freeze just until almost solidly firm (30 minutes to 1 hour; you want to be able to slice it).

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.

Unwrap the logs; cut each one into about 12 slices of equal width, spacing them on the baking sheet at least 1 inch apart. Bake one sheet at a time (middle rack) for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the cookies’ edges barely start to brown.

Cool completely before serving or storing.

Yield: 24 cookies

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