I apologize for being so sluggardly in my posting lately. You might have wondered what happened to me. I haven't been hospitalized, kidnapped, or run away with the milkman. It's just that school has started.
For most moms who stay at home, the day school starts is a joyous day. They send their kids off to school and then enjoy the peace of a quiet home and the happiness of knowing they can clean and have the home stay clean until their little ones return in the afternoon.
I am not one of those moms. I homeschool. That means that as August winds down and the back to school sales start, I get a knot in the pit of my stomach, not unlike when I was in school myself. I dread the coming days. We have to transition from happy, carefree summer life (with some chores) to scheduled, structured life with workbooks and tests (and chores). I dread the responsibility - what if I do a horrible job and my children end up as dyslexic delinquents? I'll have no one else to blame!
In order to keep my tenuous grasp on sanity, I try to balance the serious part of schooling with the fun part. The great part of homeschooling is the freedom we have to choose what we want to do and how we want to approach it. Math can be done in a workbook or in the kitchen. What better way to learn fractions than with measuring cups?
I'd had these cookies bookmarked since I bought this cookbook last year. And since I have a surplus of lemon, I thought this would be a great opportunity for kitchen learning with the kids. We tied on aprons, washed hands, and set to measuring out the ingredients. The kids were having fun, but I was getting distracted with both kids asking questions. So when I measured out the 1-1/2 cups sugar with the 1/2 cup measure, I really couldn't remember how many I'd put in. One child said two, the other child said three. I went with the older, more reliable child's count and added another 1/2 cup of sugar.
The recipe says it's supposed to make 16 large 4-1/2 inch cookies. Well, I can't tell you if that's what actually happens when you follow the directions. What happened for me was that the cookies spread out like an oil spill, melding and merging on the baking sheet. After the first batch I halved the amount used for each cookie and these came out as 4-1/2 inch cookies. The rest were gigantors, about 7 or 8 inches across.
I'll give you the recipe as it's written, but be aware that to duplicate the cookies in the picture, you need a couple of little helpers. Because, honestly, I have no idea how much sugar I put in these.
Lavish Lemon Cookies
adapted from Great Cookies by Carole Walter
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour, spooned in and leveled
1 cup strained cake flour, spooned in and leveled
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly firm
2 Tbsp freshly grated lemon zest
1-1/2 cups sugar
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Lemon Glaze (below)
1- Sift the flours, the cream of tartar, baking soda and salt together 3 times. Set aside.
2- Using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, mix the butter with the lemon zest on medium-low speed until creamy and lightened in color, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar in a steady stream, mixing again for 1 to 2 minutes. Blend in the egg yolks, mix for 45 to 60 seconds, then pour in the lemon juice and the vanilla, scraping down the bowl as needed.
3- Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients in three additions, mixing just until blended. Transfer the dough to a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Chill for 1 hour.
4- Position shelves in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. If you have 14x 17 inch cookie sheets, use those, as the cookies will spread.
5- Working with one half of the dough at a time, place it on a floured surface. With lightly floured hands, shape the dough into a disk, coating it with a light dusting of flour. Using a dough scraper or a sharp knife, divide the dough into eight pie-shaped wedges. Flour your hands again and shape each wedge into a ball. This is a soft dough and shouldn't be overworked.
6- Place the balls on a cookie sheet 3 inches apart (6 per sheet if using an oversized cookie sheet). Using the heel of your hand gently flatten into 3 to 3-1/2 inch disks. Repeat with the remaining dough to form eight more disks.
7- Bake the cookies for 18 to 20 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. To ensure even browning, two-thirds of the way through baking rotate the sheets top to bottom and front to back.
8- While cookies are baking, make the Lemon Glaze. Remove the cookies from the oven, let stand for 5 minutes, then carefully loosen with a large, metal spatula. Transfer the cookies to cooling racks set over wax paper.
9- While the cookies are still warm, spoon 2 to 3 tsp of Lemon Glaze on each cookie. Immediately spread the glaze thinly over the top, coating the entire cookie. Set aside and let the cookies air-dry until the frosting has hardened.
2 cups strained confectioners' sugar, spooned in and leveled
3 Tbsp hot lemon juice
1 Tbsp light corn syrup
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and stir with a whisk or spoon until very smooth. The glaze should pour from a spoon in a steady stream.