Lemon Poppy Seed Shortbread Cookies

My grandma is full of good ideas, especially when it comes to food.  At our thanksgiving dinner she mentioned that there just aren't enough cookie recipes posted on the blog.  She's right - so much soup but almost never cookies.  This is mostly because I post what I eat at home and I just can't have entire batches of just made sweets waiting for me to eat every last one of them but sometimes, I need a treat!  Maybe it's the festive holiday spirit in the air?  

So, Grandma, if you're reading this, this cookie recipe is here at your brilliant suggestion.  

Lemon Poppy seed Shortbread Cookies

3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup powdered sugar

3 cups all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

zest of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons poppy seeds

Combine butter and powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Cream butter and sugar on medium low speed until pale and light, about 4 minutes. Add flour, salt, vanilla, lemon zest and poppy seeds.  Mix just until dough holds together when squeezed.  Scrape sides of bowl, as needed.  Form into a 1" thick disc, wrap in plastic and chill until firm, 2 hours.  

Roll dough out onto lightly floured surface, to 1/4" thickness.  Use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes.  Place on un-greased cookie sheets.  Re-roll scrapes and cut until all of dough is used. Decorative stamps or dots maybe applied as you like.  (I like a few simple pokes with the tip of a chopstick across the cookie top.)  Place in fridge to chill 10 minutes and heat oven to 325 degrees.  Bake about 30 minutes, until almost golden brown at edges.  Cool of rack. 

Cranberry Upside Down Mini Cakes

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Perfect for serving after your holiday meal or bringing to a party.  The holiday season has arrived when we start seeing cranberry desserts.  They're so festive.  Serving these individually plated with a scoop of ice cream would be a lovely end to dinner.

Makes 8 mini loaves or one 9" cake

Cranberry Upside Down Mini Cakes

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 pint fresh cranberries

1 1/2 tablespoons butter + 6 tablespoons butter, melted

1 tablespoon sugar + 1 cup sugar

1 egg

zest of 1 orange

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 

3/4 cup milk

Heat oven to 350 degrees and grease a mini loavf pan.

In a small bowl, whisk flour, salt and baking powder together.  Set aside.  

Toss cranberries with 1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter and 1 tablespoon sugar until cranberries are covered.  Divide cranberries into the wells of a mini loaf pan.  Set aside.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream remaining butter and sugar for 2 minutes.  Add egg and mix 2 minutes more.  Add orange zest, ginger, flour mixture and milk.  Mix 1 minute.  Spoon batter over cranberries.  

Bake about 30 minutes or until cakes test clean.  Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Cut of any peaks so the loaves tops are flat.  (Feel free to eat any piece you cut off.)   Run a knife around the end of each loaf and carefully invert pan to remove and 'upside down' each cake.