By Beth Rickers Forum News Service
It’s been almost a month since the annual holiday bake-a-thon with five of my friends from high school.
I just recently tapped into the bounty of baked goods that have been stored in the freezer since that time.
There is one particular bag of cookies, however, that might not be around for long. The lemon snowflake cookies were a successful experiment from the baking extravaganza. I found the recipe in a new cookbook that came across my desk, Betty Crocker Christmas Cookies (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2013).
I’m not sure what attracted me to this recipe, as I usually find cut-out cookies too fussy to deal with. It may have been the delicate snowflake shapes. It may have been that the dough seemed simple.
But more than likely, it was the lemon that won me over. Lemon – or anything citrus, for that matter – is one of my favorite flavors, and it seemed like a refreshing counterpoint to the richer flavors that abound during the holidays.
Alas, on that November weekend, a snowflake cookie cutter was not among our assembled utensils, so we settled for stars instead. After making a double batch, we each came away with a small bag full of sparkling lemon stars. Since that time, I made a regular batch at home, using two snowflake shapes.
The shapes don’t really matter to my tastebuds. I’m gobbling up both stars and snowflakes at an equal pace.
Rickers is features editor for the Daily Globe of Worthington.
Notes from the kitchen: • To get a satisfactory sparkle on these cookies, I used a product called Cupcake Gems – a larger grained sugar sprinkle available in gold and silver. I chose silver, but gold would also be lovely, or perhaps a mixture of the two? The original recipe called for coarse white sparkling sugar.
• My snowflake cutters yield a solid cookie – no cut-out in the middle. I used a small round cutter on some cookies to get the desired effect, but liked the solid cookies better in the long run (more lemon to love).
• Because of that love for lemon, I used all lemon juice in the glaze, no water, to get the desired tartness.
• The recipe claims to make six dozen cookies, but I found it made closer to four dozen, perhaps because I didn’t cut out most of those centers. I wouldn’t hesitate to make a double batch next time.
Sparkling Lemon Snowflakes Source: Betty Crocker Christmas Cookie
3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. grated lemon peel
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. water
1/4 cup coarse white sparkling sugar
1. In large bowl, beat butter and granulated sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add lemon peel and egg; beat until well blended. On low speed, gradually beat in flour and salt until well blended.
2. Heat oven to 350 degrees. On floured surface, roll dough 1/8-inch thick. Cut with lightly floured 2 1/2 - to 3-inch snowflake-shaped cookie cutter. On ungreased cookie sheets, place 2 inches apart.
3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until cookies just begin to brown. Remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 10 minutes.
4. In small bowl, mix powdered sugar, lemon juice and water. Using small metal spatula, spread glaze on tops of cookies; sprinkle with sparkling sugar. When glaze is dry, store in airtight container.