Wednesday, August 18, 2010

More Lemon to Love: Kara’s Lemon Cookies and Lemon Cream Pie

You may remember that my daughter's friend Kara spent the night with us a few weeks ago and brought along some delightful lemon cookies for us to try. I loved them so much that I asked her for the recipe, and of course she promised to pass it along, but I'd halfway expected her to forget—she's a kid, after all. Then she brought it with her when she stopped by the house last weekend. I'm telling you, there's hope for this next generation.

I'd wanted to make something for my first department meeting today—something to take the sting out of summer coming to a screeching halt—and these lemon cookies seemed like a good choice. I made just a few alterations to Kara's original recipe, mostly out of necessity. I used plain yogurt instead of sour cream (after an unfortunate sour cream incident during the measuring process), but I didn't notice any significant difference in the texture of the cookies. Kara's recipe also called for lemon extract, which I don't keep on hand. In all honestly, I think it tastes fake. Lemon extract is made from lemon oil and alcohol, so I just used lemon zest—which also contains lemon oil—in place of the extract. I also used a little zest in the icing.

Since we're wrapping up the summer cooking season (aka lemon season), I'm going to include a second lemon recipe here as well: Lemon Cream Pie. I made this last week, when my daughter discovered that I was planning to make a blueberry pie for her dad. "But I don't like blueberry pie," she said, in a tone that suggested it was completely unacceptable for me to make a pie she wouldn't eat. Unless, of course, I made a second pie that she would eat. Which, of course, I did. 

Lemon Cookies 
½ cup butter (1 stick), softened
½ cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup plain yogurt (or sour cream)
2 tsp. lemon zest

For the glaze: 
1 cup powdered sugar
2 T. lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon zest

Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg and mix well. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the dry mixture to the creamed mixture a little at a time, stirring between additions until the flour has been incorporated. Finally, add the honey, sour cream and lemon zest, mixing well. Refrigerate the dough for about an hour, to give the butter a chance to chill. Just before you remove the dough to start baking, mix the glaze ingredients in a small bowl and set it aside.

When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Drop the dough by large teaspoons on a cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the bottoms are just barely browned. Let the cookies sit on the cookie sheets for a few minutes before removing them to a cooling rack. While the cookies are still warm, dip the tops into the glaze and return them to the cooling rack. (Put a sheet of waxed paper or aluminum under the foil to catch any drips.) Once the glaze has dried, move the cookies to a serving plate. 

Lemon Cream Pie 
Pie crust for a single crust pie
4 eggs
¾ cup lemon juice (zest those lemons!)
1 cup sugar
½ cup sour cream
1 ½ cups whipping cream
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Line a pie plate with the pie crust and prick all over with a fork. If you have pie weights (or dry beans), place them in the bottom of the crust to prevent bubbling. Bake the crust at 425 degrees for 20 minutes. After removing it from the oven, turn the heat down to 350 degress.

After the crust has completely cooled, beat the eggs and whisk in the lemon juice, sugar and sour cream. Pour the filling into the pre-baked crust, then set the pie on a cookie sheet. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the pie is set. Allow the baked pie to cool completely.

When you're ready to serve the pie, beat the cream until it's foamy. Add the sugar and vanilla, then continue whipping the cream until soft peaks form. Use a spatula to spread the whipped cream over the pie. 


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