Lemon Glazed Cookies

Lemon Glazed Cookies

Lemon Glazed Cookies

So, Mama’s sportin’ a new tattoo these days that reads, “I never met a cookie I didn’t like!”. Anyone who knows me, know’s that that’s true. In some circles I’m known as the Countess of Cookies or the Duchess of Dough. Come on, everyone needs a cool nickname, right. So now that I’ve established that I may have a somewhat unhealthy obsession with our friend, the cookie, let me tell you how I put that obsession to good use.

This month, I had the privilege of participating in the fundraiser Cookies For Kid’s Cancer, a non-profit organization that raises funds for pediatric cancer research. They’re an awesome organization. Over 600 foodbloggers from around the world participated in the event which raised over $13,000 for the charity. That’s a lot of dough, for a lot of dough if you know what I mean. This was a worldwide cookie swap. I sent a dozen cookies each to three foodbloggers, and in return I received cookies from three fellow foodbloggers. Yes, Mama was in cookie heaven, and no, I didn’t share.

Lemon Glazed Cookies

Lemon Glazed Cookies

The cookie I chose to send to my designated recipients were these Lemon Glazed Cookies. I packaged them in white, vintage canisters, and I hope my fellow bloggers enjoyed them as much as I do. I also wanted to acknowledge the two bloggers who worked so hard to put this event together. They are Lindsay, from Love & Olive Oil, and Julie from The Little Kitchen. So let’s give these ladies a big round of applause. And so my dear readers, I wish you all a warm and wonderful holiday season, however you may celebrate it. And, if you’re so inclined I urge you to click on the Cookies For Kids Cancer website and send a little love their way.

Lemon Glazed Cookies

Lemon Glazed Cookies

Lemon Glazed Cookies

From Great Cookies by Carole Walter

  •  1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly firm
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F, and line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silpats. In a medium bowl, sift together the all purpose flour, cake flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and lemon zest together until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar in a steady stream, mixing for about 2 minutes. Add the egg yolks mixing for about 1 minute. Add the lemon juice and vanilla, and scrape down the sides of the bowl so that all the ingredients are incorporated.
  3. Reduce the mixer speed to low, and add the dry ingredients in three additions, mixing just until incorporated. Transfer the dough to a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour. You can even make the dough the day before, and chill overnight.
  4. When dough is chilled, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Using a dough scraper or a sharp knife, cut the dough in half, cut that half in half and then those halves in half. Repeat with the other dough half, until you have 16 equal pieces. With lightly floured hands, roll the dough piece into a ball and place on the cookie sheet. Flatten the dough ball with the heel of your hand until you have about a 3″ inch disk. Place 6 disks on a sheet, about 3″ apart. I baked the cookies for about 13 minutes, until the edges turned golden brown. I also rotated my pans 2/3 thru baking. When you remove the cookies from the oven, let them sit on the cookie sheets for about 5 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack.
  5. While cookies are cooling you can prepare your glaze. Use an offset spatula or the back of a large spoon to spread the glaze over the cookies. Allow the cookies to sit out until the glaze has hardened.

Lemon Glaze

  • 2 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3-5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice to achieve nice spreading consistency

Directions

Sift the powdered sugar into a medium bowl. Add the other ingredients and mix with a large fork or wire whisk until you achieve a good spreading consistency. It should drip in a steady stream from a spoon.

Glazed Lemon Cookies

Glazed Lemon Cookies

Recipe: Easy


Lemon Pine Nut Biscotti

Lemon Pine Nut Biscotti

Lemon Pine Nut Biscotti

For years I was the proud owner of a 1980′s flip phone.  My life was good, and it was simple.  I could make calls and receive calls, and I lived in the moment. I wasn’t distracted by my electronic device like the masses of people around me. Yeah, you know who you are.  Sadly, I haven’t had a conversation with either one of my son’s in years because I can’t get them to put down their phones for more than three minutes. I wondered to myself, what was happening on these phones that was so riveting.  Was I missing out on something? Was I suddenly becoming obsolete.

I started getting a lot of pressure from my friends regarding my lo-tech device. They were frustrated because I couldn’t text them, or send them photos.  And so, much to my dismay, I gave in and recently purchased an iPhone 5 as well as an iPad. These devices, which I had regarded as the downfall of civilization as we know it, have become my new obsession. So, here I am totally detached from the people around me because I’m so busy texting, tweeting and Instagraming because lord knows, the world is dying to see another photo of the burger I’m having for dinner. I want to go back to my old life where I had meaningful conversations with people, but I’m afraid that’s no longer possible.  I have an app that helps me convert ounces to grams, and one that tells me which transit to take when I’m in New York City, and honestly that’s a whole lot more interesting than talking to people. Am I right, or what.

However, today, I told myself  “Mama, step away from the phone”.  I pulled out the cookie sheets and decided to return to my old obsession…baking. I decided to share with you one of my all time favorites, the Lemon Pine Nut Biscotti, which I will undoubtedly enjoy as I tweet a photo of the finished product.

Lemon Pine Nut Biscotti

Lemon Pine Nut Biscotti

Pine Nut Biscotti

From Great Cookies by Carole Walter

Biscotti

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup toasted pine nuts, divided
  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten with 2 teaspoons of water

Lemon Glaze

  • 1 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • About 1 tablespoon hot water (or a little bit more)

Directions

  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat. Place the oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven, or if you have a double one, place them in the center rack position. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Sift all the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl and then set aside.
  3. Place the butter and the lemon zest together in the bowl of an electric mixer using the paddle attachment and mix on medium speed. Then add the sugar in a few increments and beat for 1-2 minutes longer.
  4. Beat in the egg, then the yolks and vanilla and mix for another minute or two.
  5. Reduce the mixer to low speed and add the dry ingredients in several additions and mix just until the ingredients are incorporated. Do not over mix. Using a spatula, gently fold in 1/4 cup of the toasted  pine nuts.
  6. Spoon half of the dough onto one of the baking sheets, and with lightly floured hands form the dough into two, 2 x 14 inch logs, with one log on each sheet.
  7. Using a pastry brush, brush each log with the egg wash and sprinkle the pine nuts on top of each log, pressing them into the dough so that they stick to the dough.
  8. Bake each log for 18-20 minutes until they become browned. Remove the sheets from the oven and let the cookie cool for 15 minutes.
  9. Lower the oven temp to 325 degrees F. Take each log off the cookies sheet one at a time, and place on a cutting board.  Using a good serrated knife begin to slice the log into 1/4 ” slices that you slice on an angle.  If you like a thicker cookie, make each slice 1/2 ” instead.
  10. Lay the cookies down on their flat side back on the sheet and place in the oven for another 9 minutes. Turn the biscotti over and then bake for another 9 minutes.
  11. While the cookies are baking, in a medium bowl, add the powdered sugar, lemon juice, corn syrup and water to make a drizzling consistency glaze. If it’s too thick to drizzle, add a little water in small increments til you get the right consistency.
  12. Drizzle while the cookies are still warm. Let them cool to room temperature on a cooling rack so that the glaze hardens.

Yielded about 3 dozen biscotti

Lemon Pine Nut Biscotti

Lemon Pine Nut Biscotti

Mama’s Tips

To toast the pine nuts: Place the nuts in a small, dry frying pan over a low heat, constantly stirring the nuts until they begin to turn light brown in color. Don’t leave them unattended as they will burn quickly. Toasting them will bring out their natural oils and that “nutty” flavor making your biscotti that much better.

Lemon Pine Nut Biscotti with Fresh Lemon Glaze

Lemon Pine Nut Biscotti with Fresh Lemon Glaze

Recipe: Easy


Cranberry Lemon Bundt Cake

Cranberry Lemon Bundt Cake

I had neglected the blog recently as my attention had been directed elsewhere in the past few weeks. I have just returned from a trip back east where I attended my high school reunion, and boy, was it a good time. The last time I saw many of these folks they were 17 years old. It was actually kind of sweet how many of the guys were whipping out their iPhones and showing me pictures of their grand-children. Everybody was there; the captain of the cheerleaders, the homecoming queen, the jocks, the potheads, all just a little bit older and a little bit grayer (if that’s even a word). So, now the party’s over and it’s time for me to get back to my real mission in life, and that’s cake.

Today was one of those rare days in Los Angeles where it was cold and cloudy and actually raining. It was the perfect day to put on the thick fuzzy socks, a heavy sweatshirt and break out the KitchenAid and just bake.  And did we ever have a good time, me and the KitchenAid that is. When November rolls around I like to make things with cranberries. Personally I think that they’re a terribly underrated fruit, but they really shine in this Cranberry Lemon Bundt Cake. If you’re looking for a good cake to bring to a Thanksgiving dinner, this one would be a winner.

P.S. And I just want to give a little shout out to Mindy and Greg for reading the blog. Thanks!

Cranberry Lemon Bundt Cake

From Williams Sonoma

  • Unsalted butter for greasing pan, plus 12 Tbs. (1 1/2 sticks), at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 3 cups fresh cranberries, about 12 oz.
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 lemons
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more as needed

Directions:

  1. Preheat an oven to 350°F. Generously grease a 12-cup Bundt pan with butter. I used a silicone bundt pan, and the cake easily came out of the pan. Sprinkle the brown sugar in the bottom of the pan, then evenly distribute the cranberries over the sugar
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Next, add the granulated sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer. Finely grate the zest from the lemons over the sugar and mix briefly.
  3. In a small bowl, squeeze the juice from the lemons, use a sieve to strain out the seeds and pulp. In a liquid measuring cup, combine 2 Tbs. of the lemon juice, the buttermilk and vanilla; reserve the remaining lemon juice.
  4. Add the 12 Tbs. butter to the lemon zest–sugar mixture and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients in 3 batches, alternating with the buttermilk mixture in 2 batches. Raise the mixer speed to medium-high and beat for 2 minutes to aerate.
  5. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly over the cranberries. Bake until the cake is browned and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then invert the cake onto a cake plate, lift off the pan and let cool completely.
  6. Once the cake is cool, in a bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and 1 1/2 Tbs. of the reserved lemon juice until thick and smooth. Test the consistency by drizzling a bit of glaze over the cake. If it runs off the cake, whisk in a little more confectioners’ sugar; if it sits on the cake without moving, whisk in a little more lemon juice. Drizzle the glaze over the cake and let set for at least 15 minutes.

Serves 12

Cranberry Lemon Bundt Cake

Mama’s Tips:

I would suggest that you invest in a silicone bundt pan.  My experience with metallic bundt pans is that often, the cake can get stuck in the crevices of the pan even when properly buttered and floured. When I use the silicone pan the cake always relases perfectly.

Cranberry Lemon Bundt Cake

Recipe: Easy


Olive Oil Cookies with Lemon & Thyme

Olive Oil Cookies

I do believe I’ve had a love-affair with cookies my whole life.  Friends who knew me growing up can attest to the fact that I ate cookies for breakfast most days. Well why not. Back in the day I could plow through bags of Oreo’s, Mallowmars and Chips Ahoy cookies, but I’ve come a long way, baby!

Once I began making cookies from scratch there was no turning back for me. I don’t think I’ve eaten a packaged cookie in years. I just lost my taste for them. I don’t want to eat anything with high fructose corn syrup, partially (why partially) hydrogenated soybean oil or artificial flavors in it.

Don’t misunderstand me. It’s not that a homemade cookie is health food. It’s still butter, sugar and flour, and full of calories. However, if one is going to indulge, and one is going to indulge in moderation, then you’ve got to eat the real thing. When I bake at home, I try to use the best ingredients I can find. Good quality vanilla, chocolate chips, and butter result in a very tasty end product. And you guys agree with me that it’s all about the flavor.

Anyway, I’ve been making these soft and chewy Olive Oil Cookies with Lemon & Thyme for several years now. Why, because they wallop you with flavor. I use the best quality oil oil I have, and farmer’s market fresh lemons and thyme. One bite  takes me back to the green, rolling hills of Tuscany covered in olive trees. Okay, a bit overly dramatic…but you get the picture.

Olive Oil Cookies with Lemon & Thyme

Olive Oil Cookies with Lemon & Thyme

Adapted from 805 Magazine, September 2009

  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced thyme
  • sugar for rolling
  • powdered sugar for dusting

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cover a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer using the paddle attachment, add olive oil, sugar, egg, vanilla, lemon zest, and lemon juice and beat on low speed until smooth. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Beat to incorporate all ingredients.
  3. Add the thyme and mix on low just to incorporate.
  4. Using about a teaspoon amount (or more if you like a larger cookie), roll dough into balls and then roll the balls into a bowl of granulated sugar.
  5. Place the balls onto the cookie sheet, and flatten slightly with the bottom of a cup.
  6. Bake about 8-10 minutes, and then cool on a wire rack.
  7. When completely cooled, dust with powdered sugar.

Lemon Olive Oil Cookies

Makes 32-36 cookies

Recipe: Easy


Thyme Lemonade

Thyme Lemonade

As I was driving down the main thoroughfare in my community today, I spotted a group of kids, I would say about 10 or 11 years old, yelling and waving frantically at me to stop.  They had set up a lemonade stand with an array of handrawn signs, on the corner of this particular intersection. How could I drive by this group of young entrepreneurs without purchasing the product that they had obviously spent hours concocting. I would be forever known as “the mean lady”.

When I pulled over to the curb and got out of my car, I could see sighs of relief on their tiny faces. Yes! A customer. I ordered up a glass of their homemade brew, and when I opened my wallet to pay, I realized I had just blown my entire wad at the supermarket on this evening’s dinner.  Oh geez, was this really happening. Dead broke in front of a bunch of 10 year olds. I quietly asked if they took American Express, and they told me they run a cash only business. However they said, since they knew where I lived, they would come by later to settle my outstanding balance. Whew! Problem averted.

As I stood their enjoying my refreshing drink, I started sizing up their business, and thought I should set up my own stand and sell a more mature version of lemonade with my homemade cookies. Do you think it would look weird for a middle-aged woman to sit on a street corner hawking her wares? Well, my kids said they would disown me and would be forced to leave town. So, I let the idea go…for now, anyway.

This version of lemonade is not too sweet, and infused with lots of herbally goodness.  The cucumber slices just heighten it’s freshness and make it perfect for a summer’s day.

Thyme Lemonade

Thyme Lemonade 

From Everyday Food, June 2008

  • 1 1/2 cups superfine sugar
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme sprigs, additional for garnishing
  • 2 cups fresh lemon juice (I needed about 13 lemons)
  • Persian cucumber for garnish
Directions
In a medium saucepan, bring sugar, thyme and 1 cup water to a boil; stir until sugar is dissolved, about three minutes.  Stir in lemon juice and 6 cups cold water, strain into a large pitcher. Refrigerate until cold (will stay for about a week). Serve over ice and garnish with thyme spring a a few thin slices of Persian cucumber.

Thyme Lemonade

Mama’s tips: 8 ounce mason jars are perfect for serving the lemonade, and can be found in most supermarkets and online.

Recipe: Easy


Lemon Pudding Cakes

Lemon Pudding Cakes

Lemon Pudding Cake

What a great night; I’ve got the fluffy slippers on, two-hours of American Idol ahead of me, and just out-of-the oven lemon pudding cakes. It doesn’t get any better than this. I remember the times when a fun evening was heading out to a disco (now I’m dating myself) and dancing the night away to Donna Summer songs. Oh, how times have changed…for me, at least.   My life is very simple now. Just give me a little Ryan Seacrest and a sugary dessert, and I’m a very happy camper.

I planned the exit of these little cakes from the oven at approximately 7:25pm, so that they could have a little time to cool down before the evening’s fun began at 8. The pudding cakes are especially good right from the oven because they’re a little cake-y on the outside, with a warm pudding center on the inside, and a sugary crust on the top. It’s a total warm-and-cozy dessert.

Lemon Pudding Cake

Lemon Pudding Cake

Lemon Pudding Cake

From Real Simple Magazine

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • turbinado (raw sugar) or a coarse sugar
Directions
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Place six, 4-ounce ramekins inside a large roasting pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar and flour; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer using the whisk attachment, whisk together the egg yolks and butter until combined. Whisk in the milk and lemon zest and juice. Add the sugar mixture to the lemon mixture and whisk until smooth. Transfer this mixture to another bowl and completely clean and dry the mixer bowl.  
  3. Using the electric mixer, beat the egg whites and salt on medium-high until stiff peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. In three additions, gently fold the egg whites into the lemon-sugar mixture.
  4. Divide the pudding mixture among the ramekins. Sprinkle the tops of the puddings with the coarse sugar. Now, add hot water to the roasting pan so that the water comes half-way up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until the tops are golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes.
Serves 6
Lemon Pudding Cake

Lemon Pudding Cake

Recipe: Intermediate


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