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. 

Blood Orange Upside Down Cake

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I love an upside down cake. The pineapple type is my mom's territory so I thought I would give this citrus version a try.  

I used only 3 blood oranges because I ate some of the ones I had.  While it looks pretty (notice the ombre?)  I  think it's better if the top is covered with blood orange slices.  Just a thought.  

If you like that dark sugary, caramelized cake top like you get on a traditional upside down cake, rub 1-2 tablespoon of butter on the bottom and sides of the baking dish and sprinkle with 1-2 tablespoon of brown sugar before arranging orange slices.  

Makes one 9.5 inch cake.   

Blood Orange Upside Down Cake

4-5 blood oranges

6 tablespoons butter, soft

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon angostura bitters

3/4 cup milk

1 teaspoon poppy seeds

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/4 cup flour

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease 9.5 inch round baking dish.  Set aside.  

Cut tops and bottoms from oranges, slice off peels and slice into medallions. Remove seeds. (Save peels for candying or future zesting needs.)  Arrange slices on bottom of baking dish.  Set aside.  

Mix butter and sugar until smooth.  Add egg, bitters, milk, poppy seeds, salt, baking powder and flour.  Mix until combined and pour over fruit lined baking dish.   Bake 40 minutes or until done.  

Let cake cool 5 minutes in pan.  Run a knife along the edges to loosen and carefully invert onto flat surface.