Wednesday, June 15, 2011

mmmmm, lemons...

I've said this before and I'll say it again: I love tart, fat-ass desserts. Both individually and in unison.

So a while back I bought two amazing cookbooks, Luscious Lemon Desserts and Luscious Creamy Desserts. If you're anything like me you need to own both of these cookbooks.

Some of you may or may not remember my lemon week extravaganza. In just over a week I posted six amazingly awesome lemon desserts, including: lemon shortbread cookies, lemon crisps, lemon "cat's tongue" cookies, lemon bars, lemon curd, and quite possibly the most delicious dessert I've ever made: lemon tart.

It's been just over a year since I went loco for lemons, so I felt it was time to revisit my book.

Old-fashioned lemon (and orange) sugar cookies.

And wow, what an amazing reunion it was!

Crispy, buttery, citrusy, sugary cookies that seriously hit the spot.

Cookie innards

I don't even know what else to say about these cookies. All I know is that they were delicious, even for someone who isn't a huge cookie fan. A bit on the sweet side (for me), but I'm a weirdo that likes my desserts less sweet than 98% of Americans.

If you're a fan of soft and chewy cookies these may not be the ones for you. But give them a try- they might convert you!

As a side note I'd say that in the past I wasn't the guru of cookies, and I still wouldn't consider myself an expert. But I've figured out a few tricks/tips that I'll share with you today.

Jackie's Tips For Good Cookies

1. The recipe. Goes without saying, but when cookies don't come out well I like to blame the recipe! This book has been pretty amazing with every cookie recipe I've tried (except the shortbread cookies; they were a bit on the dry side).

2. The pan. A simple baking sheet shouldn't make a difference, should it? Yes, it does matter! How do I know? Because I own 3 crappy baking sheets (thin ones) and one really nice, sturdy, thick jellyroll pan that cost me a whopping $25. Every time I use my crappy baking sheets the bottoms of my cookies get all dark before the cookie is done. But every time I use my fancy schmancy jellyroll pan the bottoms come out perfect (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. Perfectly browned bottoms. *teeheehee*

3. The silpat. I love my silpat. No more cutting parchment paper. No more buttering pans. It simply sits in my fancy jellyroll pan at all times and it's ready to go when I need to make a batch of cookies (see Figure 2). Not only do cookies slide off the silpat with ease, I'm convinced they help in the even cooking of a cookie, perhaps even more than a fancy cookie sheet (see Figure 1).

No more sticky cookies with my handy dandy silpat!

Note: If you want to use your silpat for savory foods too I'd suggest having one for sweets (exclusively) and one for savory foods (exclusively). Flavors can sometimes "stick" on the silpat a bit, and nobody wants a chicken-scented cookie...

So there you have it, yet another kick-ass recipe from my lemon desserts cookbook!

Yours in re-exploring favorite cookbooks,

Old-fashioned lemon sugar cookies, from Luscious Lemon Desserts
Note: this recipe will require 4-6 lemons
Yield: 3 to 4 dozen, depending on cookie size

2/3 + 1 cup sugar
2 tsp pure lemon oil (I used orange oil since it's all I had)
2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour (this means sift your flour first, THEN measure out 2.5 cups)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup finely grated lemon zest
1 large egg
2 TBSP fresh lemon juice


1. Place rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400˚F. Prepare at least 2 baking sheets with silpat, parchment paper or buttered (as she suggests).

2. Stir together 2/3 cup sugar with 1 tsp lemon oil in a small bowl. Set aside. (Note: this is the sugar that the cookies will be rolled into. I replaced maybe 1/4 to 1/3 of the sugar with orange colored sanding sugar to give the cookies a pretty color and nice crunch.)

3. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

4. Beat the butter, the remaining 1 cup of sugar, the remaining 1 tsp lemon oil and lemon zest with an electric mixer on medium-high speed in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add the egg (initially on low speed) and beat until well blended. Reduce the speed to low, add the flour mixture and lemon juice, and beat just until blended.

5. Form balls with tablespoonfuls of the dough (they will be VERY soft, so handle them for as little time as possible) and roll them in the sugar-lemon oil mixture to coat well.

6. Place them ~3" apart on the baking sheet. Flatten each ball with a glass or your fingers until they are around 2" round and 3/8" thick.

7. Bake, one sheet at a time, for 8-11 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned. Remove the cookies from the baking sheet and let cool on a wire rack.


Stacey said...

omg I LOOOOOVE lemon desserts. I will definitely try this recipe!

Jacob David said...

I love lemon or lime anything. Sometimes I just grab one, peel it, and eat it slice by slice. These cookies sound like something right up my alley.

And I'm right there with you in that 2% that like dessert less sweet.

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