March 26, 2013

Coconut Shortbread with Fluffy Lemon Buttercream

Coconut Shortbread with Lemon Buttercream

For some reason I always equate Easter with lemon flavored desserts. It is something about the bright citrus flavor that seems to signal the return of spring (we hope) and refresh my palate after a long winter of rich chocolate lava cakes. With the holiday coming up this weekend I decided to make a simple lemon treat to serve following our Easter feast. Just recently my son has started getting on a semi-predictable schedule which is enabling me to get back to naptime cooking. His naps aren’t super long, however, so I have to be smart about what I tackle and a simple cookie recipe seemed like the perfect place to start.

The best part about this simple shortbread is that the buttery coconut dough came together in minutes. After that I was able to roll it out and cut the shapes we wanted with our spring shaped cookie cutters – all while he was napping!  He woke up while the cookies were baking so I let them cool on racks for the better part of the afternoon. The cookies, a rich delicate shortbread, were delicious on their own. However, I really wanted something bright and lemony to compliment the sweet coconut flavor. It only took a few minutes to whip up the fluffy buttercream frosting which I flavored with fresh squeezed lemon juice and zest. I immediately spread generous swathes of it on top of each cookie and my daughter added her own personal touch – sprinkles! We set aside half the batch for Easter this weekend. The rest are history!


Coconut Shortbread with Fluffy Lemon Buttercream

makes about 24 3-inch cookies


3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup sweetened coconut flakes

For the frosting:

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon or more water as needed
1 drop yellow food paste


1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

2. In a stand mixer beat the butter and confectioners sugar together until light and fluffy. Then, mix in the vanilla extract. With the mixer on low add the flour, salt, and coconut flakes and beat until everything is just combined.

3. Turn the dough out onto a flour surface and use a rolling pin to roll it out to 1/8-inch thickness. Then, use your cookie cutters to make as many  shapes as you would like, re-rolling the dough as necessary. If the dough sticks to your rolling pin simply add a little bit of flour to the surface.

4. Place the cookies 1-inch apart on the cookie sheet and bake for 20-22 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges. Then allow to cool completely before frosting.

5. To make the frosting: Beat the butter, confectioners’ sugar, lemon juice, zest, water, and food paste together with a hand mixer. If the frosting is too thick simply add more water 1 teaspoon at a time until the desired consistency is reach. Spread thick swaths of frosting on each cookie and serve!

Naptime Notes

Naptime Recipe Serving ideas

These cookies can easily be made without coconut flakes and frosting. Or, use large egg shaped cookie cutters and decorate the cookies with sprinkles instead of the buttercream!

Naptime Stopwatch

20 minutes prep time, 20 minutes bake time


Naptime Reviews

This bright citrusy cookies are just the thing to ring in spring!


More Naptime Recipes

3 Responses to “Coconut Shortbread with Fluffy Lemon Buttercream”

  1. I am putting these on my to-do list! Lemon and coconut is an amazing combination 🙂

  2. Lizthechef says:

    Like the tropical tastes here – and very much a springtime cookie!

  3. scott says:

    This recipe looks delicious. Do you know the nutritional values? If you post it on they will calculate it for you and you can get paid for posting recipes.