Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Lemonade Cookies + Monsoon = Monocookie

lemonade cookies

Want your dish to steal the show at your Labor Day cookout? Bake a batch or two of sweet-tart lemonade cookies.

If you're thinking, "Hmmm... where have I heard of lemonade cookies before?" I'll tell you: Cat Cora, the talent and adorable chef who cooks from the hip. I made Cat's lemonade cookies; unfortunately, they didn't come out as perfectly as hers. The first batch spread.

For the second batch, I employed all of my cookie baking tricks: I didn't over beat the batter; I reduced the butter, and I chilled both the baking sheets and the cookie dough before placing them in the oven. The result? The cookies S-P-R-E-A-D.

lemonade cookies spread

As I stood at the kitchen counter nibbling the crisp edges of the mono-cookie on my baking sheet, sweat beading up on my brow, it hit me, "I know what it is! It's that damn Baja hurricane pushing thick, tropical, humid air into San Diego!"

No matter the cause, I was determined. Stubborn. I would bake a successful batch of lemonade cookies. This time, I decided to go all-out. I combined Cat Cora's lemonade with Anita's delightful cookie batter and my mom's no-fail lemon icing for her lemon biscuits. I thought, "This time it's gonna work. Dammit."

When my oven timer went off, I peered in the oven with one eye. Ah, individual cookies! Victory! I don't know if it was my recipe, the increase in barometric pressure, or dumb luck, but the result was 12 distinct cookies.

Lemonade Cookies
Makes approximately 30 cookies
Print recipe only here.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup softened unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lemon zest
1 large egg
1/2 cup lemonade concentrate, thawed

Lemonade icing, optional:
1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemonade concentrate
a few drops of whole milk

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.

2. Using an electric mixer cream butter, sugar, and lemon zest on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the egg, and mix until combined. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the 1/2 cup lemonade concentrate, mixing until just combined.

3. Drop tablespoons of dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet at least 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove and allow to cool on wire racks for at least 30 minutes if frosting.

4. For the icing: Whisk the confectioners' sugar, lemon zest, and lemon concentrate in a small bowl. Add a few drops of milk and continue whisking until the icing is smooth and opaque and clings to the back of a spoon. Taste it, and adjust flavors as desired. When it's ready, pour icing through a fine mesh sieve to remove any tiny clumps of confectioners' sugar. For easy clean up, place a sheet of parchment paper under the cookie rack before frosting. Dip the top of the cookie in the icing and place on rack. Allow to dry completely before storing in an air-tight tin or plastic container. Place wax paper between layers to protect the icing.

Note: The cookies are delicious plain; however, the icing adds an extra layer of tang that'll make you pucker. My only caveat is that icing on cookies prefers chilly winter weather to hot summer weather. So if you ice them, be sure to let them dry thoroughly in an air-conditioned room.

You might also like these desserts for your Labor Day cookout:

Grilled Watermelon Slices with a Honey-Lime Syrup

Nectarine and Raspberry Crumble

"Nude" Berry Tartlets