I’m a big fan of shortbread. I greatly appreciate true artisanal shortbread – buttery, the slightest bit crumbly, melt in your mouth goodness. So this recipe takes the simplicity of the shortbread and modifies the flavor with the addition of freshly cracked black pepper and whatever citrus you have on hand. So I present to you, Christmas Treat #2.

This is a straightforward recipe with a few ingredients – my favorite type. I used the zest of 2 tangerines and some lemon emulsion. I’ve talked about emulsions vs extracts before. Extracts are alcohol based, emulsions are water based. Alcohol evaporates in the heat of the oven (or the stove top) and so does some of the flavor. For this reason, emulsions have a longer lasting flavor than extracts so you can taste the difference over time (Really!? Like any baked good in my house lasts that long, I’m still a fan though!) I usually get my emulsions from the Winners stores in the housewares section, so look for the various flavors there – orange, lemon, raspberry etc. I also use butter-vanilla emulsion sometimes.

If you can’t get your hands on some emulsion type flavorings, then use the regular stuff you’ve been using all along. It’s worked for you this far, it will continue to work for you in the future. I just want to provide options. There is a theme emerging in these Christmas treats. It’s really fusion baking recipes. It’s taking classics and adding different cultural tastes to them.

I’ve made it even less messy by avoiding the rolling out of the dough. I used Dorie Greenspan’s large freezer bag technique – worked like a charm. You sacrifice a bag or two, but anytime I can save time by stuffing a bag, I’m happy. I hope you enjoy making this cookie as much as I did – I know you will love eating it! As always – enjoy!

380g all-purpose flour (2 cups)
250g European Style Churn 84 butter (1 cup)
160g icing sugar (1/2 cup)
½ tsp vanilla emulsion (or extract)
½ tsp lemon emulsion (or extract)
¼ tsp Kosher or Sea salt
Zest of 2 tangerines (or 1 large orange or 1 lemon (or a combination there off), about 2 tbsp.
Some good grinds of pepper – the coarser the better

Using a stand or hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy
Add the emulsions, flour, salt and zest
Beat until combined (low speed please or you will be wearing the mixture)
When it comes together, stop the mixer, divide the dough into two portions and place each in a freezer bag
Roll out the freezer bag to an even thickness – about 1/8” thick or more if you like – I like small cookies so you taste more of what is on my sweet table
Seal the bags and place in the fridge for about 30 minutes
Heat the oven to 350f
Remove the bags from the fridge when firm, slice open the bag carefully to expose the dough
Grind the pepper on top of the dough and gently roll so it sticks to the dough
Place a piece of parchment onto the exposed dough, place a baking tray on the parchment and carefully flip onto the baking tray – or just cut it and move the individual pieces to the parchment lined baking tray – either way works
Using a sharp knife, cut into squares about 1×1 or 1×1.5 or whatever size you like
Place on a baking sheet leaving ¼” of space in between slices
Bake for 10 – 12 minutes
Cookies should not be colored but slightly firm, they will firm up as they cool
Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks or refrigerate for up to 1 month (they won’t last so don’t worry about this okay?!)