Lemon Coconut Shortbread Cookies (with variations)

October 6, 2014 by


Shortbread is one of my favorite cookies. I had lemons and coconut on hand so I wanted to see how well they would blend in a shortbread. I’m so glad I did, because these babies are keepers.

I cook mine at 300 degrees because I’m a rebel I really don’t want them over baked. These have a lot of butter in them so they will brown quickly. The perfect shortbread is not going to be a golden brown. They are done right before they start to brown. Err on the side of under done because they will continue to cook while they sit on the baking sheet.

They have a slight lemon taste that isn’t overwhelming, which is fine with me because it’s really all about the butter! Am I right?

Most shortbread recipes call for 1/2 cup of sugar, but I only used 1/3 of a cup so these aren’t overly sweet. I didn’t want them to be overly sweet because, as previously stated, it’s all about the buttah. That being said, if you’d like a sweeter cookie, go for 1/2 cup of sugar.

While I’m on the subject of sugar, there are some recipes out there that call for powdered sugar instead of granulated. I used granulated because that’s what I have on hand. Feel free to experiment on this one.

Many shortbread recipes call for using parchment paper, but I’m cheap frugal so I don’t bother with it for this recipe. There is enough butter in these cookies that I have no issue with them sticking on my steel cookie sheets.

Also, keep in mind that these babies have no leavening agent so they will puff up, but not spread out like a traditional cookie. That means you can crowd them a bit on the cookie sheet, unlike other cookie recipes.

A lot of shortbread recipes tell you to refrigerate the dough before shaping the cookies. This makes the dough easier to work with. I was, however, lazy, hungry, impatient, brave so I baked mine right away. I didn’t have any problems. Just sayin’…

I think these are wonderful with morning coffee and evening coffee, hubby loves them with milk or tea, and the kids love them anytime with anything. But don’t take our word for it. Give ’em a try.

Note: You can make variations of this cookie. If you don’t like coconut, omit it. Don’t care for lemon? Leave the zest out. Not a fan of almond extract? Use lemon juice instead.

*Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links. You are not obligated to make any purchases, but when you do through one of my links or the Amazon search box to the right, I will make a small percentage on the sale. Thank you for supporting my site.

The Members:

1 cup (2 sticks) of salted butter, room temp. (unsalted is fine as you will see below)

1/3 cup of granulated sugar (you can also try powdered sugar) – use 1/2 cup for sweeter cookies

Zest of 2 small lemons (for more lemon flavor, add more. For plain shortbread, omit)

1/4 t. almond extract (optional – you can omit, use vanilla, or lemon juice)

1/4 t. vanilla extract (optional – you can omit, use almond extract, or lemon juice)

1/4 t. salt (use 1/2 t. salt if using unsalted butter)

1/2 cup shredded coconut (I used unsweetened, but you can use sweetened)

2 1/2 cups of flour (I used 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour & 1 cup all-purpose flour)

The Method:

In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Then mix in the lemon zest (using this handy tool), salt, almond, and vanilla extracts. Mix in the coconut flakes and the flour, about 1/2 c. at a time until combined.

At this point, you can roll the dough out and cut into shapes using cookie cutters, a pizza cutter, or a knife. Transfer to a cookie sheet with a spatula and bake at 300 degrees for 5-7 minutes, depending on the size. Be sure to read the notes above! Remove them from the oven just before they have a chance to brown. Mine were small so I baked them for 5 minutes.

If you are more comfortable working with a chilled dough, you can place in the refrigerator for an hour or 2, or in the freezer for 30-45 minutes. Be sure to cover the dough so that it does not dry out. Then roll out and bake as directed.

The dough may also be rolled into a log shape, wrapped in plastic wrap, and chilled. After chilling, you can cut slices for traditional round cookies.

Let cool on the cookie sheet for at least 5 minutes before transferring so they don’t fall apart. Then transfer to a cooling rack until cool enough to eat.

I told you this recipe was adaptable! With 2 sticks of butter, I think you could add anything and they would still be incredible. Like I said, it is all about the buttah! 

I just gave these to Teen 1 and Teen 2 for testing. Teen 2 said, “What is that? It IS going on the blog, right? Teen 1 asked, “Are you posting that tomorrow because it should have top priority” But don’t take their word for it. Head to your kitchen immediately and find out for yourself.


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You might also enjoy:

Healthier Coconut Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies


Shared at The Art of Homemaking MondaysMunching MondaysMix It Up MondaysMaking MondayWeekend Potluck, Party In Your PJ’s, Autumn Bash, Wonderful WednesdaysSHINE Blog Hop, & Homestead Blog Hop.

Also at Tasty TuesdaysTeach Me TuesdayThe Wednesday RoundupReal Food Wednesdays, The New Mrs. AdventuresBuns In My OvenShow Stopper Saturday, Foodie FridaysMerry MondayThe Country Fair Blog Hop, & Pretty Pintastic Party.

What do you think? How do you prefer your shortbread cookies?

46 Responses to Lemon Coconut Shortbread Cookies (with variations)

    • Heather

      Yes, Pam, we want to keep these both pale and soft. They are so good! All that butter…I hope you get a chance to try them. Thanks for stopping by.

  1. Adrienne

    Oh Heather, this sounds heavenly. Oh my goodness, I love shortbread cookies and I agree, don’t cook them too long. My poor Mom always leaves them in the oven too long and I do not like my cookies crunchy. I like them soft and chewy.

    I’m not a big lemon lover but I do love the flavor in cookies, pies and cakes because it’s just the right flavor. I’m also a big coconut lover so this really sounds great.

    Thank you for sharing this recipe with us and I’ll be sure to pass it around too. I’m hanging on to this one myself.


    • Heather

      Thanks so much, Adrienne. I appreciate you sharing it. This does have a very subtle lemon flavor as it is only from the zest, but you can leave it out for a Coconut Shortbread, if you prefer. I will make them this way in the future if I don’t have lemons on hand. I hope you make them soon as they are delicious.

    • Heather

      They disappear pretty quickly around our house, too, Kelly. Although, all that butter makes them pretty rich so I do eat a little less than with a traditional cookie. Enjoy!

  2. Kim @ The Cookie Puzzle

    These look wonderful..I think that shortbread are the perfect cookie…you mix up the flavor to your personal taste. It is good to know that you don’t have to chill the dough…I am like you, I hate that step, and will often skip recipes that require it! Thank you for sharing with us at Party in Your PJs.

  3. creativekkids

    I love shortbread cookies too, and I’m sure the lemon flavor even makes them yummier! Thanks for linking up to Creative K Kids’ Tasty Tuesdays Linky Party. I have pinned your post to the Tasty Tuesdays Pinterest board.

  4. Christine

    I’m so excited! I love all of those ingredients, I usually err on the side of overdone shortbread, and I brought almond extract from the US and got an extra bag of coconut in the mail yesterday for ordering coconut oil! Weekend baking may commence! Thanks for linking up at Foodie Fridays!

    • Heather

      I know you will love them, Christine – overdone or underdone. Have fun baking this weekend. Thanks for stopping by and for hosting!

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