Jan Norris: Food and Florida

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Review: Bad Lemon Shortbread Cookie!

August 27th, 2009 · 6 Comments


Nabisco's Iced Lemon Shortbread cookies

I should have known better: Me, buying a commercially baked cookie and expecting it to taste, well — at least good.

I wasn’t expecting something so vile, however. I usually don’t strafe products I don’t like — but these things stirred me to hit the keyboard on the behalf of true cookie lovers.

Never shop hungry

Shopping for dinner last night after a day of not eating, I had to pass the cookie/cracker aisle – bad girl. Being a great baker, there’s usually no reason for me to buy a packaged cookie — if I want something sweet or comforting, I go to the kitchen and bake it.

lornadoonesBut I eyed my favorite “in-a-pinch” storebought cookie — Lorna Doone. Shortbread that melts in your mouth and in your coffee cup, if you’re a dunker. They were pricey — $3.29 a box – and I started thinking how much less it would cost me to make simple spritz cookies — virtually the same thing – a buttery shortbread (recipe below). Then I started thinking it was 7:30 p.m. Would I really bake tonight? Probably not.

“New” Classics from Nabisco

There was a whole shelf section that then caught my attention: Nabisco’s new “Classics” cookie series. There’s Oatmeal – iced and not, Animal Crackers, iced; both Vanilla and Chocolate Cream sandwich cookies, and Iced Lemon Shortbread. All are packed in red bags and marked “New!”

In front of the shelf was a coupon dispenser for 75 cents off any bag of these Classics. They were regularly $2.99 and so for $2.24, I could give them a shot. I succumbed, and chose the Iced Lemon Shortbread.

Neon icing

My first clue should have been that yucky yellow icing — a totally unnatural “lemon” yellow.

First bite, however, sealed the deal. These were horrific! Dry as desert sand, cardboardy, fakey flavor, bad-for-you ingredients — the works. The only good thing about them was the hole in the center so I could poke my middle finger through them as I sailed them into the garbage.

I’d take them back, and should — and vote with my dollar. But I can write the purchase money off my taxes by writing about them here and warning others.

Stick to Lorna Doone – or make your own shortbread. Here’s a recipe.

Buttery spritz cookies with variations

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter (do not use substitute)
  • 3/4 cup sugar (more for sprinkling if desired)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract – see variations
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

Beat butter in bowl of mixer; add salt and vanilla; beat well. Add half of flour and beat. Remove bowl from mixer and add remaining flour, stirring in with wooden spoon until combined.

Use a cookie press, or roll into logs and refrigerate until firm.

Press cookies (or slice into 1/4-inch rounds) onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees until just “tan” — 8-12 minutes, depending on your oven. (It’s best to bake these on an insulated baking sheet — bottoms of these cookies will burn easily.) Watch carefully and do not overbake.

Remove and place on cooling rack. Sprinkle with sugar tinted with food coloring, if desired.

Makes about 4 dozen cookie-pressed cookies; size will determine yield.

Cook’s notes: Dough freezes very well and keeps 3 months; wrap airtight before freezing — dough will absorb freezer odors.


  • Almond spritz: Use almond extract in place of vanilla and decorate tops of each pressed cookie (press in blossom pattern) with half a maraschino cherry or a toasted almond.
  • Lemon spritz: Use 2 tablespoons lemon zest and 1-1/2 tablespoons Limoncello liqueur in place of vanilla. Shape into logs and refrigerate; cut into rounds to bake. Ice with a simple powdered sugar-milk glaze.
  • Mint spritz: Use 1-1/2 teaspoons mint extract in place of vanilla. Melt several Andes chocolate mints, and drizzle lines of icing with spoon over baked cookies.

Tags: Recipes: What's Cooking!

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Rene // Sep 24, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    I think the cookies are absolutley great!

  • 2 Jan Norris // Sep 24, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    That’s why even the Girl Scouts offer more than one type of cookie: can’t please everyone.

    Would love to hear from others who’ve tried them.

  • 3 Merrie Lee Reese // Apr 17, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    You have redeemed yourself with the posting of your shortbread recipe. I like the mint ones–Yum!!

  • 4 Julia // Jan 19, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    Those look just frightening. Like halloween glow-in-the-dark cookies or something. I’ll be trying your shortbread though.. I’ve just been experiementing with cherry and almond muffins, I’ll have to give shortbread a go!

  • 5 Cynthia // May 12, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    These are absolutely, bar none, the worst cookies I have ever eaten. If they were merely bad, I would not have searched them out on the web. Who in the world could have approved these in a taste test at Nabisco? Horrible, will never trust another Nabisco product in the future. These were an assault on my taste buds.

  • 6 Jan Norris // May 12, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    I’m surprised they’ve lasted in their product line as long as they have. But to be honest, I still love Oreo’s and Lorna Doones – some of Nabisco’s finest. Their vanilla wafers are the only ones I use in my banana pudding.

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