A Chewy Shortbread with a Little Crunch: Lemon Cornmeal Shortbread Bars

I was flipping though Fine Cooking Cookies and decided to try an Abby Dodge recipe for Lemon Cornmeal Shortbread Bars. The ingredient list is short and it only takes a few minutes to make the dough. You beat softened butter with powdered sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla until light and creamy; add the dry ingredients (flour, fine cornmeal, and salt); and spread the dough into a 9-inch by 13-inch pan. Before baking, I used a metal bench scraper coated with pan spray to score the dough by cutting all the way through it.
After the bars were golden brown I took them out of the oven and immediately used the bench scraper to again cut through the bars (the recipe says that if you wait until the bars are cool to cut them, they will crumble). Then I let the bars cool completely before removing them from the pan.

The bars were thick and chewy, although the cornmeal added a distinctive crunch. The texture was not at all what I was expecting, even though the recipe headnote warned that these bars are chewier than traditional shortbread. I liked the combination of cornmeal with the bright flavor of lemon, although I didn't think these bars were particularly memorable. But they required so little effort that they still produced a good return on investment.  

Recipe: "Lemon Cornmeal Shortbread" by Abigail Dodge, from Fine Cooking Cookies; recipe available here at Fine Cooking.

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