Jan Norris: Food and Florida

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Review: Bad Lemon Shortbread Cookie!

August 27th, 2009 · 8 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!

8 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.

  • 7 Teri Domino // Feb 25, 2018 at 12:24 am

    hope someone can help me. I write a blog, and I want to write as part of a “Products I Miss” post a cookie I enjoyed in the early 70’s. It was a sugar cookie about 3 inches in diameter, with a hole in the middle, swirly pattern on the front, with a scalloped edge. It may have been made by Nabisco, but I’m not sure about that. It was def not the Nabisco Butter Cookie, which were smaller and not swirly. If anyone knows the name of the cookie, I would appreciate knowing it. In my wildest dreams if I can find the name, I’d also like to find/create a mock-up. Thanks for any help anyone out there can give!

  • 8 Teri Domino // Feb 25, 2018 at 12:26 am

    Sorry I do not write a blog. I was merely trying to copy and edit a post that poses the same question I have been asking for years. I am going nuts o trying to research this cookie for the past 3 years for my mom. Thanks.

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