Sunday, August 12, 2012

Lemon, lemon | Lemon-glazed shortbread cookies and fresh-squeezed lemonade

It's been hot here. Very hot. The kind of hot where all you can think about is jumping in the pool or getting in the car just so you can be in the air conditioning; the kind of hot where chocolate doesn't even sound appealing. Did I just say that? Fortunately there is a lemon tree over-loaded with fruit from which to pick as many lemons as I can fit in a grocery sack. And so afternoons are spent concocting nearly too tart treats in the hopes that they will take our mind off the heat and give just enough of a hint of sweet to get us through the rest of the day and the oh-so-warm nights. Recently it was lemon bars, but yesterday it was lemon shortbread cookies and, today, fresh-squeezed lemonade. Because Anderson declared that "yeah, mommy, we have to make lemonade with Grandma's lemons because it's summer. In the summer you drink lemonade". Yo Gabba Gabba has taught him well.

Lemon-glazed Shortbread Cookies
I am in love with the lemon cookies sold at Champagne Bakery. Much to my surprise I couldn't find a knock-off recipe so I decided to make my own. Unfortunately I chose to make them on a hot day and had a bit of a struggle with my dough sticking to the too warm counter. Fortunately Gabe and I aren't picky about the shape of our cookies and ate all of the reject rectangles and odd shapes first.

recipe adapted from the Barefoot Contessa whom I love almost as much as these cookies

  • 3/4 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • zest from 2 lemons
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • juice of two lemons
  • 1-2 cups powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In an electric mixer mix the butter and granulated sugar until just combined and add the vanilla and the lemon zest. Mix until just incorporated.

In a separate bowl sift together the flour and salt and add them to the butter mixture. Mix on low until the dough starts to come together. On a floured surface press the dough together to form a flat disk. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least a half an hour. Note: the hotter it is and the softer your butter is, the longer you will need to refrigerate. I put mine in the freezer for about ten minutes for it to firm up because the refrigerator just wasn't doing the trick.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and roll out to 1/4 inch thick. Cut out with a cookie cutter  and place on an ungreased cookie sheet or silpat mat. Bake about 20 minutes until edges begin to brown. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

For the glaze, whisk together the lemon juice and powdered sugar to desired consistency. The more powdered sugar you add, the thicker and firmer the glaze will be. You really have to eyeball this one and taste. I prefer a more tart glaze so I hold off a bit on the powdered sugar.

Fresh-squeezed lemonade
Surely nobody needs directions for this, but here goes. Seriously the easiest and most satisfying recipe. You can make a glass or a pitcher, it's all about proportions.

  • lemons (for a pitcher I used 9 super juicy lemons)
  • water
  • sugar
Squeeze the lemons and strain the juice to remove any pith or seeds. Add it to the pitcher and add water. My ratio is about 1 part lemon to 3 parts water. I always am careful with adding the water because it is much easier to add more water than it is to add more lemons once you've squeezed them all! Stir in enough sugar to make it as tart or as sweet as you like. Pour in a glass with ice and enjoy summer.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, lemons. The perfect summertime food. This looks amazing, and as usual, your pictures are beautiful!