Elegant pastry with zip
Editor’s note: Living in the Colorado high country is pure joy. Baking in it isn’t. High altitude makes cookies spread in the pan, cakes fall, and few baked goods turn out as they do at sea level. This tcolumn presents recipes and tips to make baking in the mountains successful. Do you have a pair of white gloves? If so, you’ll want to wear them while you nibble this cookie. Delicate, tender, pretty, with a mild lemon flavor-this is an elegant little pastry.It’s a perfect accompaniment to the fruits and berries of summer. During other seasons, I serve it with tea and coffee or as an accompaniment to ice cream, mousse, or puddings. Purists who love anything lemon insist that these delicacies are at their best when served alone, with nothing to compete with the lovely, citrus taste. Clearly, this cookie is as versatile as it is pleasing.For all its refined qualities, the cookie is extremely simple to make. It takes only one mixing bowl and a few minutes to prepare the dough. The frosting comes together with the same ease. The only thing to keep in mind is that the dough needs to be refrigerated for an hour or two before baking, so plan ahead. The entire project requires only one lemon.The cookie can be frozen successfully as a dough (prior to baking) or before or after adding the frosting.
(makes about 4 dozen; the recipe can be halved successfully)IngredientsCookie3/4 cup of unsalted butter (six ounces), softened1/3 cup of powdered sugar1 teaspoon of lemon zest (finely grated lemon peel-the yellow part only)1 tablespoon of lemon juice1 1/4 cup of flour1/2 cup of cornstarch
Frosting1/4 cup of unsalted butter, softened1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest1 teaspoon of lemon juice1/2 to 3/4 cup of powdered sugarIn a large mixing bowl, combine the softened butter and sugar and beat (preferably with an electric mixer) until fluffy. Add the lemon peel and juice and mix until combined. Add the flour and cornstarch and beat on low speed or by hand until well mixed. Don’t overbeat once the flour has been added.Divide the dough into two parts and roll each into an eight inch long and one inch round cylinder. Wrap them in plastic wrap and refrigerate until they are firm. This takes at least an hour and may take up to two hours. The dough can be frozen at this point and defrosted before continuing with the recipe.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. If you don’t bake all the cookies at once, and only use one baking sheet, place the rack in the center position. Line baking sheet(s) with parchment paper or non-stick aluminum foil (like Reynold’s Release).Use a sharp knife to cut each of the rolls of dough into rounds that are one-fourth inch thick. Place them about one and a half inches apart on the lined cookie sheets. Bake the cookies until they are set. They won’t brown. This takes about 10-14 minutes in my oven. Start checking before that.Remove the cookies from the oven to a cooling rack. After about 4-5 minutes, carefully take the cookies off the baking sheet and let them cool completely on the rack.Make the frosting by combining the butter, lemon juice and lemon zest in a small bowl and beating until smooth. Add the powdered sugar, starting with about half a cup and then adding small amounts and beating after each addition until the frosting is light, fluffy and a good consistency. Either spoon a small amount in the center of each cookie or spoon the frosting into a pastry bag and use a star tip (for cake decorating) to make a rosette of frosting on each cookie. This recipe is a variation of one from the Land O’Lakes collectionVera Dawson lives in Summit County, where she bakes almost every day. Her recipes have been tested in her home kitchen and, whenever necessary, altered until they work at our altitude. Contact Vera Dawson with your comments about this column or your baking questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail, Colorado
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