12.17.2008

Christmas Cookies III


Lemon Cookies


Before we go on with the next installment of Christmas bakery, let me just mention Menu for Hope V, a fundraising event for the UN Food Program organised by food bloggers around the world. To support this, you can buy raffle tickets for $10 each. You can choose for which prizes you`d like to have tickets. (two seats at Iron Chef America, anyone?) Of course, the more tickets you buy, the higher your chance to win. Check out the details at Chez Pim, the main organiser of this event, or go to Sara of Ms.Adventures in Italy for the list of the european prizes. This event runs from December 15th to 24th (Sorry, I`m a bit late for this, but I didn`t know this event would be coming up.), and all donations will support a school lunch program in Lesotho.

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So, back to cookies. Actually, I wanted to make some Pistachio Cranberry Icebox Cookies (recipe on epicurious), about which the Proud Italian Cook has blogged and which looked really yummy to me. Also, I haven`t tasted cranberries before and as I had bought a bag of dried cranberries some time ago, I was curious to try them. However, procurement of UNsalted pistachios proved to be impossible. I went to two big supermarkets, two organic/health food stores and three Oriental/Turkish grocery stores, but to no avail. The owner of the last grocery store told me that last summer has been much too hot in Turkey. As a result the pistachio harvest has been devastated, and there are no pistachios on the market, at least not at a price level, at which he can expect to make some revenue. So what can you do? Well, when life refuses to hand you pistachios, make lemon cookies. ;)

Lemon Cookies

Source: Lecker Sonderheft 2008 No.1

Ingredients:

1 lemon, organic
300g all-purpose flour
100g sugar
200g cold butter
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
30-40 almonds
1 Tbls. milk

Instructions

1) Wash and dry lemon. Zest one half of the lemon.*) Dice butter. Mix with flour, sugar, zest and whole egg using first the dough hook of your hand mixer, later on knead to a smooth dough with your hands. Cover and refrigerate dough for 30 min.

2) Half the almonds lengthwise. Cover two half-sheet pans with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 200°C / 175°C convection oven / gas mark 3. Spread some flour on workbench and roll out dough to 1/2 cm thickness (about 1/5 of an inch). Cut out cookies with cookie cutter of your choice and place on sheet pan. Yields about 60.

3) Mix milk and egg yolk. Spread on cookies and place one almond on top. Bake for 8-10 min. Place on wire-rack to cool.

*) I used the zest of one whole lemon.

These cookies look deceptively easy to make (and they actually are), but as I hadn`t made any doughs requiring cold butter before, I made some rookie mistakes and almost messed it up. First, I didn`t dice the butter, but just cut slices off it (like from a stick of butter lengthwise). These didn`t get incorporated by the dough hooks at all. The only result were some wavy patterns on the butter, but no coherent dough in sight. So I used a knife to cut the butter into small pieces and reread the recipe. Here I found out that I had forgotten to add the egg. *D`oh* After fixing that, and switching from the hand mixer to my hands the dough finally came together. Since you need to get your hands dirty anyway, you could mix the ingredients manually from the get-go. Thus saving you the trouble of fumbling the hand mixer out of the cupboard and having to clean the dough hooks afterwards. After refrigeration I halved the dough and formed two logs from which I cut the cookies. As I had plenty of almonds, I used two per cookie and then slathered them with the egg yolk. (This reverses the order given in the recipe, but I remember my grandmother doing it this way when making butter cookies.) The final cookies turned out quite large so again as in the case of the cinnamon cookies, for 2009 cookie cutters it is. The cookies are nice, lemony and not too crumbly. Why not give them a try?

Coming up next: Cranberry Bars

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