Shortbread Christmas Cookies: Lemon Pistachio & Chocolate Cinnamon

This was my first year participating in The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap.

This was the 3rd annual cookie swap, hosted by Lindsay at Love & Olive Oil and Julie at The Little Kitchen. This year, the cookie swap raised $13,778.40 for Cookies for Kids' Cancer, a national non-profit organization committed to funding new therapies used in the fight against pediatric cancer, which claims the lives of more children in the US than any other disease.

How awesome is that?! I was so happy to be a part of this cause and had fun doing it!

So I got a'baking. I baked, packaged, and sent a dozen cookies to three different food bloggers. 

One of my all-time favorite cookies is shortbread, so I made TWO variations. 1) Lemon Pistachio Shortbread and 2) Chocolate Cinnamon Shortbread

By the way, please note my lovely color-coding scheme in the recipe below. I don't want you to end up with lemon in your chocolate cinnamon recipe, or cinnamon in your lemon pistachio recipe. I'm pretty sure that would be gross and you would think I've lost my mind.

I also received, and devoured, some delicious cookies from Anisa at Whisk and Heels, Heather from Join Us, Pull up a Chair, and A Mama, Baby & Shar-pei in the Kitchen!

Now get baking! There are only 15 days left until Christmas, and you have lots of Christmas cookies to bake and eat!!

Basic Shortbread Recipe:
1 stick unsalted butter
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

Shortbread Variations:

For Lemon Pistachio Shortbread:
For Chocolate Cinnamon Shortbread:
Omit the vanilla extract
Add 1 tablespoon cinnamon
Add the juice of 1 lemon
Add the zest of 1 lemon
Add 1/2 cup chopped pistachios

Optional Toppings:

Lemon Glaze for Lemon Pistachio Shortbread:
Cinnamon Sugar Topping and Chocolate Drizzle for Chocolate Cinnamon Shortbread:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup turbinado/raw sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Make the shortbread: 
(If making both variations, double the basic shortbread recipe.)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Slowly add the salt and flour and mix together until the dough is combined. 

If making both variations, split your dough in half at this point. 

For lemon pistachio shortbread: Gently stir in the lemon juice and pistachios now. 
For Chocolate Cinnamon Shortbread: Gently stir in the vanilla and cinnamon now.

Butter an 8-inch round cake pan. Transfer dough to pan and spread evenly with the back of a spoon or spatula.

For Chocolate Cinnamon Shortbread only: Combine the sugar and the cinnamon for the cinnamon sugar topping in a small bowl. Sprinkle evenly on top of the shortbread.

Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until the edges begin to turn golden. Transfer pan to a cooling rack and cut the shortbread into wedges or rectangles.

Add the delicious toppings:
Once cookies have cooled, add the toppings. (I used a Ziploc bag with one of the bottom corners snipped off to pipe the glaze and chocolate drizzle on the cookies.)

For the Lemon Glaze:
Add the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice to a small bowl. Stir to combine. Drizzle or pipe onto the lemon pistachio shortbread cookies.

For the Chocolate Drizzle:
Add 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips to a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until the chocolate is melted, about 60 - 90 seconds total. Drizzle or pipe the chocolate onto the cinnamon shortbread cookies.