What you need:

  • 1 and 3/4 cup (220 grams) all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 20 g poppyseed (2 tbsp)
  • 1/2 cup (115 grams) unsalted butter softened
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg at room temperature
  • Zest of one medium lemon
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) fresh lemon juice
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract (optional)
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl using a handheld mixer, beat the butter and granulated sugar together for 1 to 2 minutes or until well combined. Add the egg and mix until fully combined.
  • Mix in the lemon zest, lemon juice, lemon extract, and yellow food coloring until fully combined, making sure to stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Add the dry ingredients including the poppy seeds and mix until just combined.
  • Cover tightly and transfer to the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  • Remove the cookie dough from the refrigerator. Using a 1.5 tablespoon cookie scoop, scoop balls of the cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheets, making sure to leave a little room between each one.
  • Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the tops of the cookie are set. Remove from the oven and cool on the baking sheets for 5 to 10 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

    • Soft Unsalted Butter – you can also use salted butter if you want to create a version that is closer to the French Sablés Bretons
    • Icing Sugar (or powdered sugar) – icing sugar has starch in it which gives a nice snappy texture to the cookies
    • Egg Yolks – only the yolks here, that bring a lot of richness to the cookies
    • Lemon: both Zest and Juice for maximum flavour!
    • Plain Flour: easy peasy!
    • Baking Powder: just a little bit to get a slightly more airy cookie
    • Salt: extra salt can be discarded if using Salted Butter
    • Poppy Seeds: you can use more or less poppy seed than me depending on how crunchy you want those biscuits to be.
    • Add the Egg Yolks one at the time, beaten well between each addition. (2)
    • Pour in the Lemon Juice and Lemon Zest and mix for a few seconds to combine.
    • Sift in the Flour, Baking Powder and Salt. Mix until the dough starts to come together, stopping to scrap the edges of the bowl if required, then add the Poppy Seeds.
    • Transfer the dough over a sheet of baking paper, bring it together into a ball and gently press on it to flatten it. Cover with a second sheet of baking paper and roll into the desired thickeness (3) with a rolling pin.
    • Place in the fridge to rest for 10 to 15 minutes (4).
    • Preheat the oven on 160’C/325’F.
    • Remove the top sheet of baking paper and use a Cookie Cutter to shape the shortbread (5). Use an offset spatula to transfer the cookies on a flat baking tray.
    • Optional: use a fork to create a criss-cross strips pattern
    • Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the cookies, or until the edges start to turn golden brown.


    1. Make sure the butter is really soft and at room temperature, or it will be hard to mix it in with the Sugar. A tip to get the right consistency of butter is to cut it into small cubes and leave it at room temperature for about an hour (more or less depending on the temperature of the room). To check if it is soft enough, gently press on it; it should easily spread without too much resistance. Be careful if trying to use the microwave to soften it more quickly – you do not want the butter to melt at all.
    2. If the batter seems to split after you add the yolks, it could be because the butter wasn’t soft enough/too cold, because the yolks were not at room temperature or because you did not beat the butter and sugar for long enough. Don’t worry though, the batter will still come together once you add the flour.
    3. I like my shortbread really thin, so I rolled the dough to about 2/3 mm (0.1 inch). You can absolutely roll them thicker if preferred.
    4. It is important to chill the cookies before shaping them and moving them as they will be very soft before refrigeration. You need to butter to have harden again to easily transfer the cookies over a baking sheet.
    5. Re-roll any leftover dough/scraps between the two sheets of baking paper and refrigerate again before cutting out more cookies.