Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Lemon Meltaways

Lemon Meltaways - made dough May 30, 2014 from A Cook's Quest
My lemon tree that can't stop growing lemons
Someone forgot to tell my dwarf lemon tree that dwarves don't grow to 9 feet tall. I've been pruning (ahem, cutting with dull scissors) the branches before they start peeking into the neighbor's yard but given my lack of a green thumb and that I only make myself go out to my backyard when I realize, "hmm, feels like it's been awhile since I watered the trees" it feels like the lemon tree gets inspiration from Jack and the Beanstalk and defies its dwarf designation every time my back is turned. Whatever I prune seems to grow back tenfold. It's mocking me, I just know it.
The orange tree that doesn't like to grow oranges, just leaves
But I have to give it props because, unlike my orange tree which seems to think its sole purpose is to produce leaves and branches rather than actual oranges, my lemon tree keeps popping out lemons. Good-sized lemons too, not sickly little ones. It does seem to take forever for the lemons to actually turn bright sunshiny yellow but there are plenty of them there. I like to think of them as lemon-bars-in-waiting but I do try to mix it up a bit on how I use the lemons.

For summertime cookies, I try not to get too fancy. Actually, year round I try not to get fancy because fancy takes time. Of which I don't have much. So this recipe was perfect because you just mix up the dough, roll into a log, chill then slice and bake. Simple. My only issue with it is the cookie itself wasn't very lemony. It's a good shortbread cookie but simply dredging it in powdered sugar didn't highlight the lemon flavor. Instead, I would recommend making a simple lemon royal icing glaze for it: sifted powdered sugar with a tablespoon or two of fresh lemon juice until it's the consistency you want. For added lemon punch, grate some lemon zest into the icing, spread over the cooled cookies and let it set.
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup powdered sugar
zest of one lemon
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups + 2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup powdered sugar, for dredging
  1. Cream the butter the the 1/3 cup powdered sugar. Beat in the lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla. 
  2. Whisk the flour, cornstarch and salt into a large bowl. Add to the wet ingredients until just combined. 
  3. Roll the dough into a 1 1/4"-diameter log. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  4. Slice the dough into 1/4" thick slices and place evenly spaced on a baking sheet, 1 inch apart. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven until just lightly golden brown, about 12-15 minutes.
  5. Let cool on a wire rack for 4 minutes. Dredge cookies in powdered sugar to coat.

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