Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Thursday's Lemon Poppyseeds

You know how I am about cookbooks. I've admitted it. Some I bake out of until the spine is broken and it's falling apart (Joy of Cooking, old version) and some I might never make a thing from but they're so pretty I like to just look at them and read the recipes and pet the pictures. Then there are the ones that are a wonderful combination of the two.

Several years ago I received Rose's Christmas Cookies as a gift. It's wonderful. Gorgeous photography, scrupulous attention to instructions, including both metric and English measurements, and small descriptive paragraphs about the cookies that are a joy to read. Of course, when thinking of a lemon cookie for Week of Lemons, I reached for this volume. Then it was just a question of narrowing down the choices and not getting side-tracked into making seven other delicious cookies.

I choose the Lemon Poppyseeds because I love the combination of lemon and poppyseeds. In scones, in muffins, in cakes, it always works. These cookies are heavenly with a crumbly, almost shortbread-like texture and a delicate flavor. Perfect for tea time! Because the lemon is only represented by lemon zest, it is a lingering note on the palate rather than a strong first impression. If you prefer a bolder lemon taste, try swapping out a 1/2 tsp of the vanilla for lemon extract.

The original recipe called for 1 cup of almonds. I used only about 1/3 of a cup, so I adjusted the amount. You might find that you use slightly more or less than that. Let me know if you have a recipe that calls for 2/3 cup of ground almonds so I can use what's sitting on my counter.

I'm giving you just the English measure and the food processor directions. If you want metric or electric mixer directions, get the book!

Lemon Poppyseeds

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
6 Tbsp poppyseeds
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp finely grated lemon zest (3 medium lemons, 4 Meyer lemons)
1 cup unsalted butter
2 large egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup blanched sliced almonds

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, poppyseeds, and salt.

In a food processor with the metal blade, process the sugar with the zest until the zest is very fine. Cut the butter into a few pieces and add it with the motor running. Process until it is smooth and creamy. Add the egg yolks and vanilla extract and process until incorporated, scraping the sides of the bowl. Add the flour mixture and pulse in, just until incorporated.

Scrape the dough into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for at least 1 hour. Because of my schedule, I left mine in overnight.

In a food processor with the metal blade, process the almonds until very fine, almost to a powder, but not to "butter." Transfer the chopped nuts to a small bowl.

Place 2 oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Preheat oven to 350 deg.

Measure level Tablespoons of dough and roll them between the palms of your hands to form balls. Drop each dough ball, as soon as it is formed, into the nuts and shake the bowl to coast the ball with nuts. The heat from your hands will warm the dough up enough to make the nuts adhere. If you flour your hands before rolling the balls, the cookies will be rounder. If you don't, more almonds will adhere to the cookies to the cookies, but the cookies will be flatter, as in my picture.

Place the nut-covered balls on cookie sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake for 15 minutes or until the edges turn slightly golden. For even baking, rotate the cookie sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through the baking period.

Let the cookies sit on the sheets for about 2 minutes before removing to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I know I know... it's just me (don't get to excited). I liked these cookies very much. I gobbled down way more then I should have. Yum! We need to make snickerdoodle cookies today to take to travis tonight. I need to buy off his protection if you know what i mean.