Lemon shortbread

Well, this is quite a ride, isn’t it? Waking up to political chaos, walking into work while it rains and taking a lunchbreak in the sunshine. I mean, it would be quite a ride, if turmoil and multi-season days hadn’t become the new normal for a British summer over the past few years. I’m excited to see what we’re going to vote on next June.

Another classic reaction to stressful situations in the UK is biscuits, and so today we return to shortbread, via fingers plunged into butter, bits of dough snuck into mouths before it can hit the oven, and the scent of freshly zested lemon.

Makes…bloody loads. 


125g sugar
250g unsalted butter, room temperature
Small pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla paste
75g polenta
300g plain flour
Zest of 1 lemon


  1. Preheat the oven to 170c and line two baking trays. In a large bowl, use a fork to mix together the sugar, butter, and vanilla paste.
  2. Add the polenta, flour, and zest, and get your hands in there! Rub the mixture between your thumbs and fingers until it starts to clump together, then press together into a ball until smooth.
  3. Cut the ball in half – it’s a lot to handle in one go, and this is the perfect opportunity to roll half into a log and freeze it for future use – and roll out onto a floured surface to about 7mm thick. Use your cutter of choice and transfer to the trays. I’m personally a big fan of a shortbread lobster.
  4. Bake in the centre of the oven, checking on them regularly from about 12 minutes, possibly turning after about 7, until just about starting to turn golden.