Lemon-Lime Basil Shortbread Cookies

by Dorothy Reinhold on March 26, 2012

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Lemon-Lime Basil Shortbread Cookies: A simple sweet-tart cookie with bursts of citrus zest, a delicate hint of basil, and a crunchy sugar crust on top. You’ll have the dough made before the oven heats.

As an unabashed citrus lover, I am always on the lookout for interesting variations, unique presentations, familiar flavors with a twist, and just general deliciousness when it comes to lemony, limey goodness.

So it was my good fortune to find a charming cooking blog called “Food Babbles,” where Kate, a mom, paramedic and passionate home cook, blogs about food and “keeping life sweet.”  Actually, I was assigned this blog as part of Secret Recipe Club,  in which participants secretly explore and cook from another’s food blog. Today is our “reveal day,” where we ‘fess up and share the results of our experimentation.

With her “keeping life sweet” tagline, I naturally explored her sugary offerings, and her Cinnamon Orange Finger Bread, her Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes,  her Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Freeze and oh, about a dozen other things, positively called my name.

I mean, Kate is the kind of cook who makes Cannoli Pancakes for breakfast, which sound like the most delicious reason to wake up that I ever heard.

But then I hit her feature on Lemon-Lime Basil Shortbread Cookies and I knew I was a goner. The citrus zest, the basil lending a unique undertone, the crunchy sugar…sublime! They’re quick to make, as well. A fast whirl in the food processor, and the dough will be ready before the oven heats.

Start upping your mileage on your daily jog right now. Just because.

Thanks, Kate, for a lovely blog, and a downright delicious addition to my cookie repertoire!

Lemon-Lime Basil Shortbread Cookies

Recipe: Lemon-Lime Basil Shortbread Cookies

Summary: A simple sweet-tart cookie with bursts of citrus zest, a delicate hint of basil, and a crunchy sugar crust on top. You’ll have the dough made before the oven heats.

Lemon-Lime Basil Shortbread CookiesIngredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar, plus more for pressing cookies
  • 1/2 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons sliced fresh basil leaves (I used 2-3 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Sanding sugar (optional; I used washed raw sugar crystals)


  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place flour, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, butter, basil, both zests, lemon juice, and salt in a food processor. Pulse until large, moist clumps form.
  2. Divide dough into quarters, and each quarter into 5 pieces (so 20 pieces total). Roll each piece between your palms to form balls. Place balls on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, about 2 inches apart.
  3. Lightly dust the bottom of a flat measuring cup with powdered sugar and press cookies into flat rounds, dusting the cup bottom with powdered sugar as needed to prevent sticking. Sprinkle tops of cookies with coarse sugar, if using.
  4. Bake until edges are brown, about 11-12 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack; let cool.
  5. Makes 20 cookies.

Quick notes

Original source: Bon Appetit, July 2011, via Food Babble!


Next time I make them, I will try some finely minced fresh rosemary instead of the basil!

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 12 minutes
Diet type: Vegetarian
Number of servings: 10 (2 cookies per serving)
Culinary tradition: USA (General)

Lemon-Lime Basil Shortbread Cookies

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