Thursday, January 28, 2010

52 Cookies - Chapter 4

We’ve established the fact that it’s gray and cold this time of year here in central Ohio. Today, we were blessed with some beautiful sunshine during the morning hours. It was such a joy to put on my sunglasses while Owen and I drove to the grocery store. The sunshine allowed for us to engage in a very informative discussion regarding shadows and how we need the sun to make a shadow (or a flashlight, as Owen pointed out.) This week’s cookies are like little sunshine treats in your mouth. Now, I am going to start off by saying that I am changing the name of the cookie. Two reasons: 1. the original name is too long and 2. I just don’t like the original name. And since this is my blog and my “Cookie Journey”, I suppose I am allowed to do whatever I want. I am calling these cookies “Lemon Drops.” The name that came with the recipe is “Lemon-Filled Thumbprint Cookies.” Can you imagine going into a bakery and saying, “Yes, I’d like a dozen of your lemon-filled thumbprint cookies?” I would much rather walk in and say “Give me a dozen lemon drops please.” This recipe was clipped from the Columbus Dispatch a year or so ago.

So, here goes. You will need:
1 ½ cups butter, room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 ½ cups sugar
2 eggs
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 ½ teaspoons grated lemon zest
4 ½ cups flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup purchased lemon curd
Confectioner’s sugar

Be sure to allow plenty of time to make these. Firstly, the dough needs to chill for at least 2 hours or overnight. Also, they take a bit of time and it makes a large quantity, so a decent share of my day was devoted to creating these wonderful little treats. In a large bowl, cream the butter and cream cheese until it is completely smooth. No chunks allowed! Gradually beat in the sugar and then add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Now you need to stir in the lemon juice and zest. You cannot skip either of these ingredients! In a separate bowl, combine your dry ingredients: flour, baking powder and salt. Run a whisk through it a few times to get it all combined. Now, very slowly, with your mixer on low, begin to add your dry ingredients. You don’t want it to go flying all over the place. On the flip side, don’t take too long doing it either because you want to mix this as little as possible to keep the cookies tender. Oh, you are in for such a treat! Put some plastic wrap over your bowl and cover it up tight so the dough doesn’t dry out and then stick the bowl in the fridge. You’ll want it in there for at least 2 hours or overnight is fine too. When your dough is good and chilled, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper. If you don’t usually do this, I recommend it for these cookies since the lemon curd may bubble over the side of the cookie and onto the pan causing it to stick. Nothing sticks to parchment paper! Roll the dough by tablespoons into balls. I used my small cookie dough scoop and it was the perfect size and I didn’t have to do any rolling. The less you handle this dough, the better. These cookies will spread just a bit, so allow enough room for that. Now, press the balls of cookie dough down slightly with the palm of your hand and then create an indentation with your thumb. Fill that small well with a smidge of lemon curd.* It’s tempting to put in a lot, but it will bubble and ooze all over. So, just a dab will do it. (Like I tell Jenna, “Sometimes less is more!” I am hoping she will remember this when she begins wearing makeup!) Bake for 15 minutes or until the edges are just golden. I started with 13 minutes and it was the right amount of time in my oven. Cool for a bit on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack. Once your Lemon Drops are completely cool, you can dust them with a bit of confectioner’s sugar. This recipe makes 6 dozen cookies, which might normally sound like a lot, but since I am taking some to my church for the homeless to enjoy, I needed to make a lot of these. Jenna had one when she got home from school this afternoon and suggested these would be just the right sort of cookie to have with a tea party. I couldn’t agree more!
*A note about the lemon curd. If I were Martha Stewart, I would make my own lemon curd, but I am not, so I bought it. You can find it in cute little jars at the grocery store near where the jams and jellies are sold. It is delicious to eat by the spoonful, however, I wouldn’t recommend it.

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