Monday, December 15, 2008

12 Cookies of Christmas: Day 12 ~ Lemon Thins

We've finally reached the end of the 12 Cookies of Christmas, and although I can use the extra time for the 1,001 other things that need tending to, I'm a little sorry it's over. There's nothing like the necessity of baking every day to take the pressure off of mastering a new technique or working with an unfamiliar recipe. It's been a lot of fun, and a lot of cookies, I'm especially grateful for the chance I had to get to know a truly talented and creative group of fellow food bloggers. Thanks Andrea, of Andrea's Recipes, for pulling all this together! And thanks to Claire of The Barefoot Kitchen, Kelly of Sass & Veracity, Courtney of Coco Cooks, Jerry of Cooking by the Seat of My Pants, and Judy of No Fear Entertaining for making it such a great experience. Same time next year?

For my final cookie of the season, I've chosen the Lemon Thins. I've had rich and chewy, nutty, sticky, and gooey, and now all I want is the simplicity of a crisp, pretty lemon cookie. I'm happy to report that these deliver ~ with one significant modification.

Unlike the recipe introduction suggests, I found that these were not in the least bit "brightly sour." Nor did they "pack a punch of citrus flavor." After my test batch revealed these to be disappointly subtle in this regard, I added a half teaspoon of lemon extract and a few drops of lemon flavoring oil (Oetker's). That brightened things up considerably, but without the addition of lemon juice, the cookies still are not sour.

The texture of these cookies is crisp and delicate, making them a perfect cookie for teatime. I'd like to pair them with some fresh ginger ice cream, and it wouldn't be a bad idea at all to sandwich these with a bit of raspberry buttercream. Something I plan to keep in mind for the future.

Lemon Thins

~Adapted from Gourmet magazine, April 1976, available online here
  • 2 eggs

  • 2/3 cup sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (I used 1/4 teaspoon vanilla plus 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract)

  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest

  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened (I used salted)

  • 2/3 cup flour

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or butter it. Beat eggs with sugar and extract(s) for 3 to 4 minutes until thick and lemon yellow. Add lemon zest.

  2. In another bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy.

  3. Add butter to egg mixture a little at a time, alternating with flour.

  4. Drop the dough by teaspoons (or use my method, below) about 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheet. Flatten mounds with an offset spatula dipped in ice water.

  5. Bake cookies at 400 degrees F for about 5 minutes or until the edges are browned. Allow the cookies to cool on the sheet for a minute, then remove them to a rack to cool fully. Place in an airtight container once they are completely cool.

Recipe Notes:

  • I used more lemon than was called for and would probably still experiment with adding some lemon juice. I'd also like to try this recipe with orange or lime in place of the lemon.

  • In an effort to make these cookies more consistent in shape and size, I piped the batter onto the baking sheet instead of spooning it. I just filled a Ziploc sandwich bag half-full of batter, cut off a corner, and "piped" neat little mounds that flattened into rounds. No mess!
    1. 8 comments:

      Judy@nofearentertaining said...

      I loved the lemony sweetness of them and am glad to see that ours at least look the same...Always worried theta mine didn't turn out right! LOL! Glad you finished the event. It was fun and sort of sad to end it! Great getting to know you and can't wait until next year!!!

      Andrea's Recipes (Grow Your Own) said...

      Ooo, they sound so perfect (with the additional lemon flavoring) for tea. The orange flavor would be yummy, too. Thanks for baking with us!

      Shari@Whisk: a food blog said...

      I love lemon, so I'm sure I would love these (especially with your tips on making them even more lemon-y!). You must be relieved to have 12 batches of cookies done!

      glamah16 said...

      Not Sure if my first comment went through. Lemon is always so refreshing and these sound delightful. This was fun and I will tune into both of your blogs now. Happy Holidays.

      gaga said...

      I have lots of lemons in my yard, maybe I'll try these one day!

      katherine said...

      it was great to hear your feedback on the Gourmet recipe as the idea of a tart citrus bite is what intrigued me - shame they're not as adverstised.

      what do you think of putting some citric acid or sour salt into the recipe to bump up the sour bite? along with the extra zest and some lemon juice?

      Sandy Smith said...

      ~Katherine: The idea of adding citric acid is an interesting one. I haven't used it in baking, so I don't know how it would respond, but it would be a good experiment. I was afraid to add lemon juice because I didn't want to dilute the batter, but it's a possibility worth trying in future batches. King Arthur Flour makes a product called "Tart & Sour Flavor" that I think might be helpful here too. I haven't used this product, but the catalog description is intriguing, so I might pick some up for applications like this.

      But no, as is, this cookie is not tart at all. Lemony, but not tart.

      Thanks for reading!!

      Sophie said...

      These lemon thins look superb!

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