Thursday, February 24, 2011

Turning sour into sweet

When you have to miss a multi-family trip where (and I quote here from the caption to a photo in my email of smiling people taking a break for beer and burgers on top of a mountain amidst 5 feet of fresh powder) "It was the best snow we ever skied on!" in order to be with a despairing dying person and gangly teenager with congestion, you could be forgiven for having a slightly sour attitude.

OK, me.  It was me with the attitude.

But it was also me with a tree full of lemons, my sister and my niece here from Michigan, and unbelievable seats for the NBA All Star Game*.


Our harvest, picked right from the garden

Ready for squeezing.   Fresh lemonade in February.  They may never go back to Michigan.

Hey!  How about if we make homemade lemonade ice cubes to go into our homemade lemonade? 

Good call.

Popsicles are also a very good idea

And these?  Sheer "life gives you lemons" genius!

Glazed Lemon Shortbread Cookies
Adapted from the oh-so-thorough but always useful Baking Illustrated.  Just about the perfect lemon cookie.  I will be making these by the dozen until my lemon tree goes bare.   Not only do they taste great, but the dough is made in the food processor, so it couldn't be easier, and you can keep it in the fridge or freezer and just slice and bake a few anytime you need a "sour attitude" adjustment.

For the cookies:
3/4 c. sugar
2 Tbs.  each fresh lemon zest and fresh lemon juice
1 ¾ c. flour
¼ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
12 Tbs. (1 ½ sticks) butter, cold, cut into cubes
1 large egg yolk
½ tsp. vanilla extract

For the glaze:
1 Tbs. cream cheese
2 Tbs. juice from 1 lemon
1 ½ c. powdered sugar

2 Tbs. sugar crystals, ground with 1 tsp. lemon zest, for dusting.

Get out your food processor.  Grind sugar and lemon zest in processor until sugar looks damp and zest is thoroughly incorporated, about 30 seconds. Add the flour, baking powder and salt,  then pulse for about 10 short bursts to combine. Scatter in the butter cubes, and pulse until the mixture resembles loose cornmeal.

In a measuring cup or small bowl, beat the yolk, lemon juice and vanilla together to combine. With the machine running, add the juice mixture in a slow stream. Process until mixture begins to form a ball, about 15 seconds longer.

Turn the dough out onto a smooth surface, kneading to work any stray dry bits into the dough with your fingers until smooth. Form into a log about 2 inches in diameter and wrap in wax paper**. Chill until firm and cold, about 45 minutes, or up to a few days. Dough can also be frozen at this point. If frozen, allow to thaw just until cool before proceeding.

Heat oven to 375. Slice dough into 3/8 inch rounds, and bake on Silpat or parchment covered baking sheets just until edges are golden brown, about 12-14 minutes.  Cool on baking rack.

You can store cookies in an airtight container at this point for several days.  I don't recommend glazing them until just before serving.  They are also delicious plain, if you are not a glaze kind of person.  I am.

Make glaze by whisking all ingredients in a medium bowl until completely smooth.  When cookies have cooled completely, dab a bit of glaze onto each cookie, and spread with a knife or the back of your spoon just to the edges.   Sprinkle with lemon sugar, if desired.

* Nuff said.

**  We decided to make our dough log rectangular.  Circles are good, too.


  1. Oh yummy! These cookies look fantastic! Thanks for sharing your recipe.

  2. No way I could keep these to myself...Thanks for stopping by, Katie!

  3. I just wanted to let you know I'm featuring your recipe today on my weekly features. Thanks so much for sharing it!