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Sunday, May 22, 2011

~Easy-Peasy Lemon-doodles!~ Always room for a classic... with a twist!

Isn't there always room for a cookie?  And so it goes, all the way to the bank, via the grocery store and high priced cookies with all kinds of preservatives and other Mr. Yuk-worthy "ingredients."  Why not just make something good at home?  Cookies this simple are a fun distraction on a slow Sunday afternoon.


3 Sticks (12 oz) butter (room temperature)
2 Cups baker's sugar
Zest of one small lemon
3 Large eggs, lightly beaten
1 Teaspoon vanilla Extract
4 1/2 Cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon cream of tartar
1 Teaspoon baking soda
3/4 Teaspoon salt

Spice Sugar:

3 Cups bakers sugar
3 Tablespoons cinnamon
1/3 Teaspoon ground cardamom

Special Tools: Countertop Mixer, Hand Mixer, or Food Processor
                       Parchment Lined Baking Sheet
                       Small Ice Cream Scoop

Yield - About 3 dozen cookies

These little guys are a fun mistake actually.  They came into being when I inadvertently added a small amount of lemon extract instead of vanilla...  that first batch came out just a bit too zingy (by "zingy" I mean "foul) but the concept was a good one!  This here is the result of quite a bit of fiddling and the happy chance of finding Meyer lemons at the local grocery.  The spiced sugar recipe comes from my blueberry scone blend, meant mimic a citron flavor palate.  Lets get started!

Preheat your oven to 400f and center a rack for cooking.  These little ones cook hot and fast so don't bake them too high (excessive drying) or too low (not quite done through) in the oven.  Of course this depends on the oven and can vary quite a bit but better safe than sorry..

In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment (or in a food processor,) cream together sugar and butter on high speed until it becomes very light and fluffy.  All those tiny tiny air pockets created by the sugar crystals cutting into the butter create lift in the baking process so don't rush this step.

~FOOD SCIENCE NOTES (creaming butter and sugar): Mechanical Leavening~

Once you've achieved a nice fluffy mixture, add your lemon zest and vanilla and mix again to properly incorporate the flavors.  Next its time to add the liquids: fresh eggs!


What is the difference really between farm fresh and store bought eggs?  So so many things to list off but lets get a few in here.

First and foremost is nutrition.  Farm eggs are almost always better for you because of the health of the hens.  Being allowed to roam and forage for themselves keeps them healthier and happier, getting more sunlight and a much more varied diet rich in natural nutrients, not simply whatever blended multivitamin mix cage farming companies might use.  Better hens make better eggs.

Second (but not at all secondary) comes the enjoyment of eating them and cooking with them!  The flavors alone are much richer and more complex (again from the hens' varied diet)
The whites are clearer and more cohesive, staying together in a tight disk when frying and cooking evenly, firming up with little loss when boiling.
The yolks themselves are creamier and thicker, standing up tall when cooking and on the plate, and whipping up beautifully when making cookies or cake.

However you want to look at it, you can't go wrong with fresher cleaner foods so if you can get to you're local farm stand, grocery co-op, or farmers' market, keep your eyes peeled!


Add your eggs gradually in portions, mixing at medium low speed then turn up to high speed to finish and return the mix to a fluffy texture.  You should have a moderately thick, fluffy batter similar to mascarpone cheese.

Sift together your flour, slat, baking soda, and cream of tartar two or three times to ensure the leavening agents are thoroughly incorporated.  The cream of tartar especially so.  Just one cookie tasting of salty batteries and metal can still ruin your mood.  Add your dry ingredients in two parts, mixing at low speed until you have a thoroughly moistened dough.

What makes a snickerdoodle a snickerdoodle if not a coating of cinnamon sugar?  This time though I wanted something a bit different.  To accent the lemon zest I added just a small amount of cardamom.  The cardamoms floral, gingery flavor mellows the zest without muting it and adds just a little bit of complexity to the cinnamon.  This mix also makes a great topping for toast!

To form the cookies, take a small amount of dough (using your ice cream scoop or spoon) and form in into a 1.5" ball.  Roll the balls in your spiced sugar and place them on your parchment lined cookie sheet.  Bake 8-10 minutes until light golden brown.

I can say it again I think:  Isn't there always room for a good cookie?  These can be made with almost any citrus zest.  Maybe try orange zest with a tiny bit of clove then half dip them in chocolate.  A little bit of key lime zest mixed in with the lemon just for fun, brown sugar to coat.  Don't be tied down by conventional ingredient mixes.  Keep on experimenting!



Anonymous said...

hi!!! how many cookies does this dough makes??

Pastry Ninja said...

Hello! Sorry about that. I've updated the yield (about 3 dozen cookies) Thanks for the heads up!