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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Best Lemon Sugar Cookies

I am so far behind in my blog posts. Witness the   snow outside in the picture! My initial sentence on this,when I first uploaded the picture, was, "For some reason, lemons give me hope for spring." Then I typed in the recipe and that was all she wrote, so to speak.

And now I already see leaves falling, and it's still August, though barely. This gives me a bad feeling about winter! My husband  always heaves a big sigh in July as soon as days start growing shorter and says, "winter's almost here."  He is an Eeyore, like his Dad. ("Oooh, Pooooh, I might as well crawl under the covers until Aaapril. There's noo point in getting up.")

These are my favorite lemon cookies. They are one of the things I want to make when spring is around the corner, as in fall when I want to make Chocolate Chip Gingerbread. I stumbled onto this wonderful cookie recipe on the Baker's Rack blog and have been making them for a few years. They have that wonderful sugar cookie texture and a bright lemon flavor from both the cookie and glaze. Divine. I sent them to my nephew the Marine for his birthday because they are one of his favorites and he is one of mine.

My minor changes are in parentheses.

Lemon Sugar Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, melted, cooled
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
(scant) 2 tsp. vanilla (plus 1 tsp. lemon extract)
1 tbsp. grated lemon peel
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup (or more*) powdered sugar
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. to 1/2 tsp. grated lemon peel

1. Heat oven to 375. Line 2 or 3 baking sheets with parchment paper (this is worth the time and expense for perfect cookies).

2. In medium bowl, whisk together butter, sugar and brown sugar. (I do this in the pan I used to melt the butter.) Whisk in eggs, vanilla (lemon extract) and the 1 tbsp. lemon peel until well-blended. In another medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Stir into butter mixture.

3. In small bowl, whisk together all glaze ingredients. You will glaze cookies while they are warm.

4. Use #16 cookie scoop or 1/4 cup measure to scoop dough; place on baking sheets, leaving at least 3 inches between cookies. Flatten gently into 3-inch rounds. (I make them smaller and haven't found it necessary to flatten them, leaving about 2 inches between each.)

5. Bake 10 to 12 minutes (start checking at 9 minutes, and at 7 if smaller) or until just barely  golden brown around the edges but still pale in center and slightly soft. Remove from oven; immediately slide parchment paper onto wire rack or counter. Cool for 5 or so minutes. Brush glaze over cookies (just use a teaspoon if you don't have a pastry brush or hate trying to clean them). Cool completely.

18 (4-inch) cookie (30 to 36 3-inch cookies)

*I admit I never measure for the icing, so I end up making extra as I even out the consistency. A little more lemon juice, a little more powdered sugar, etc. If I don't have more lemon juice to add, I use a little milk. It works. It all goes on the cookies, which doesn't hurt anything.

Found on Baker's Rack blog. . . her source: Cooking Pleasures Magazine October/November 2005

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Cauliflower Marranca

This standby is from Moosewood Cookbook by Molly Katzen.
It is simple but hearty and flavorful and the leftovers are just as good.

I turned to it when a friend was visiting with her teenagers, one of whom was skipping meat for a month for a science project. 

I have altered it to suit our tastes. Instead of the brown rice, the original recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups raw millet to be simmered in 2 1/2 cups water for 15 to 20 minutes, then fluffed. It also calls for only 2 cups of cheese and says it is optional. Not at our house!


3 to 4 cups cooked brown rice (still moist)
2 tbsp. butter or oil, or a mix
2 cups chopped onion
1 lb. mushrooms, sliced
Black pepper  to taste
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried basil
1 large cauliflower,  in 1-inch pieces or smaller
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 to 3 tbsp. lemon juice
3 cups or more grated cheese of your choice (I use a cheddar mix)

Preheat oven to 350. Oil a 13- by 9-inch pan.
Melt butter or heat oil in large skillet. Add onion, mushrooms and seasonings and saute about 5 minutes, till onions soften. Add cauliflower and garlic and saute about 10 minutes more, until cauliflower is tender. Add lemon juice.

Stir mixture into the rice along with most of the cheese and mix well. Spread into the prepared pan, sprinkle with remaining cheese, dust with paprika, and bake for 30 minutes.