Saturday, July 18, 2009

When You Feel Like Being Fancy...

These cookies are super-easy to make, but the ingredients make them seem fancy and indulgent. They’re also great if you want to present them as gifts, wrapped in a bit of cellophane, fabric or lace and tied with a bow.

Lemon-Lavender Cookies

This recipe is actually the base for over a dozen different kinds of cookies. This is also the base to my orange-ginger cookies (see below). All ingredients should be room temperature.

What You’ll Need:
1/2 lb (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar (run sugar in a food processor for about 30 seconds, the cookies will have a light, airy texture)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
1-2 tablespoons ground lavender (they sell this in specialty stores—I find a coffee grinder works great to get it to a powder-like consistency)
1 large egg yolk
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour

What You’ll Do:

Beat butter, sugar and salt on medium speed until very fluffy and well blended. Then add lemon zest and lavender. You can use more or less lemon or lavender. I don’t know exactly how much I put in mine, I just eyeball it until it looks (and smells) right.

Add egg yolk and beat until well blended. Then add the whole egg and vanilla until well blended.

Reduce the speed to low and beat in flour just until combined.

Divide the dough in half and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour. (Can refrigerate for up to 2 days.)

Position racks in upper third and lower third of the oven. Preheat to 375 degrees. Get baking sheets ready with Silpats or

Remove one mound of dough from fridge, cut in half, put other half in fridge.

I like to shape the dough parts into cylinders, and then slice cookies from the logs. You can also scoop by tablespoons and drop the dough onto baking sheet; roll into balls, line on the sheet and press down with the bottom of a glass; or roll the dough out and cut with cookie cutters. At any rate, the cookies should be 1/4 to 1/8 inch thick.

Bake, 2 sheets at a time until cookies are golden brown, about 6-10 minutes. Remember to rotate the pans halfway through baking so they cook evenly. You can also bake 1 sheet at a time, just use the middle rack in that case. When done, immediately transfer cookies to a cooling rack to cool at room temperature.

When cool, use sifter to sprinkle with powdered sugar.

See? Fancy!


Follow recipe for lemon-lavender cookies, but instead of lemon zest and lavender, add…
Finely zested rind of 2 medium to large oranges
1 package chopped candied ginger (about 1.5 cups, packed tightly)
3/4 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
…to the butter/sugar/salt mixture.

Follow same baking directions. When cool, sprinkle with a little powdered nutmeg or cinnamon.

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