Sunday, December 21, 2008

Lemon Cutouts

This recipe started out as lemon triangles, but I decided to make them into Christmas cutouts. The original recipe calls for you to sandwich the cookies together with currant jelly, but I thought that would be too much. I thought the lemon would be a nice change of pace from traditional rolled sugar cookies.

This is the simplest recipe for cookie dough ever: just knead everything together to make the dough. I refrigerated the dough for a full day, and it seems like it works well if you refrigerate a long time or a short time. The dough was very cold when I took it out of the refrigerator and was basically too solid to roll out. I let it sit at room temperature for a couple minutes and it softened up a bit.

It isn’t the easiest dough to roll out. It crumbles a bit more than sugar cookie dough does. I ended up rolling out small bits of dough at a time and that worked. Some of the edges were a bit crumbly but I hoped that they would stick together when baking. They did bake up well, but they’re really delicate when you first take them out of the oven so it’s best to let them cool on the cookie sheet a bit before attempting to move them to a cooling rack.

The icing is also very simple and the cookies frost very easily. The icing adds a great lemon zing to the cookies and is a nice refreshing element to add to a Christmas cookie tray. I’m really glad that I made these, even though they took a little more work to successfully roll out. If you’re looking for something that looks traditional but is a little different, these are for you.

2-1/2 cups flour
½ cup sugar
¾ cup ground almonds
Zest from 1 lemon
¾ cup butter, softened
1 egg

2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
Combine the flour, sugar, ground almonds, lemon zest, butter and egg. Knead together until the dough is thoroughly combined. Divide the dough in half and shape into 2 round disks. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line cookie sheets with silicone baking mats. Roll the dough out to about ¼ inch thick. Cut out with cookie cutters of your choice. Bake the cookies for about 8 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let the cookies set for a couple minutes on the baking sheet before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the icing, combine the powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth. If the icing is too thick, add more lemon juice. Frost the cooled cookies with the icing. Allow the icing to harden before serving.
Adapted from Christmas Cookies by Gina Greifenstein

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