Blueberry lemon cream cheese coffee cake

Blueberry lemon cream cheese coffee cake

Cream cheese coffee cake has been the most popular recipe on Just Baked, by far.  Again, thank you Mother Thyme for a wonderful recipe.  Every time I make this cake, everyone says it is the best coffee cake they ever had and asks for the recipe. It really is delicious with the buttery cake, cheesecake-like filling, streusel and sweet glaze.  As good as it is, I decided to change it up this time by adding lemon and blueberries.  Don’t you just love how lemon brightens the flavor of blueberries?  The changes were simple. I added lemon extract to the cream cheese filling, subbed lemon juice for milk in the glaze  and added lemon zest to the cake.  I pressed about 1/2 pint of blueberries into the cream cheese layer. With a great, basic recipe like this, the flavor possibilities are endless.  I brought the cake to work as a treat for my coworkers and came home with an empty pan.  Empty pan = success.

Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

Yield: 13 x 9 cake

For the filling:

Two 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened (light or regular)   I used regular

½ cup sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg

1/4 tsp lemon extract  optional

For the cake:

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sugar

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

zest of 1 lemon

1 cup sour cream (light or regular)

For the streusel topping:

¼ cup sugar

¼ cup flour

3 tablespoons butter, chilled and cubed

For the glaze:

¼ cup confectioners’ sugar

1/2 to 1 T lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease/flour or spray a 9 x 13 cake pan. Set aside.

Make the filling:  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle, mix together the cream cheese, sugar, egg, vanilla and lemon extract (if using) on medium-low speed until creamy.  Set aside for the filling.  (If you have 1 bowl and paddle, you will need to put this mixture in a separate bowl, and wash them to use to make the cake batter)

Make the cake batter:  In medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt until well combined. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle, cream together the butter and sugar on medium-low speed.  Add eggs one at a time.  Add the vanilla extract and lemon zest.  Slowly pour in the flour mixture alternating with the sour cream until it is all combined.

Spread half of the batter into the prepared cake pan with a spatula.  Spread the cream cheese filling evenly on top. Arrange as many blueberries as you like, I did about 1/2 pint, on top of the filling. Top with remaining cake batter and smooth with a spatula.  Using a butter knife, gently swirl in the batter.

Make the topping:  Add the sugar, flour and chilled butter in a small bowl.  Stir using a fork or pastry blender until the mixture is crumbly.  Sprinkle the streusel on top of cake batter.

Bake for 40-45 minutes until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool on a rack.

To make the glaze:  In a small bowl, combine confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice until it is the right consistency for drizzling.  Drizzle over cake.

Source: Mother Thyme; Sweet Pea’s Kitchen

Triple Citrus Bars

Back in April, I made key lime pie bars and I loved them so much, I ate most of them myself (almost half while taking the pictures). Embarrased smile At the bottom of the recipe, there was a variation for triple citrus bars that also sounded delicious, but I didn’t have the lemons and oranges.  So, I stuck with the lime and bookmarked these to make some other time.   Tonight we had a bunch of people over for a Burbs viewing party (how awesome is that?) and so I made the “god damn brownies”, Baked of course.  I thought these citrus bars would be the perfect non-chocolate dessert to serve with the super rich fudgy brownies. And, that way, I couldn’t eat them all this time.

These bars are really easy to make.  The hardest and most time consuming part is collecting up all the zest and all the juice.  But, I loved the contrast of the tartness from the lime and lemon with the sweetness from the orange.  The flecks of orange, green and yellow zest looked so pretty against the cream colored base.  So, it is well worth the effort.  I really enjoyed the animal cracker crust as opposed to the usual graham cracker. Its more neutral flavor really allows the citrus flavors to sing.  Then you have the creaminess from the condensed milk.  Mmmm…condensed milk.  Am I the only one that could eat a can of this stuff with a spoon?

I’m sure you have had lemon bars a million times.  And, they are delicious, one of my favorites.  But, next time you have a taste for citrus…change things up a bit and try these triple citrus bars. You won’t be sorry.

Triple Citrus Bars

Yield: 8 x 8 pan (9 to 16 bars depending on how you cut them)

For the crust:

5 oz animal crackers

3 tablespoons  brown sugar

pinch salt

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

Filling:

2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1 1/2 teaspoons grated lime zest

1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange zest

pinch salt

1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk

1 large egg yolk

6 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon fresh orange juice

Adjust the oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 F. Line an 8 x 8 baking pan with 2 pieces of foil perpendicular to each other, leaving overhang on all 4 sides.  Spray foil with nonstick cooking spray.

For the crust:  Pulse animal crackers in the food processor until broken down, ~ 10 pulses. Process the crumbs until evenly fine, about 10 seconds (you should have about 1 1/4 cups crumbs). Add brown sugar and salt; process to combine, 10 – 12 pulses (if large sugar lumps remain, break them apart with fingers). Drizzle butter over crumbs and pulse until crumbs are evenly moistened, ~ 10 pulses. Press crumbs evenly and firmly into bottom of prepared pan. Bake until deep golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Cool on wire rack while making filling. Do not turn off oven.

For the filling:  While crust cools, in medium bowl, stir cream cheese, zests, and salt with rubber spatula until softened, creamy, and thoroughly combined. Add the condensed milk and whisk vigorously until incorporated and no lumps of cream cheese remain.  Whisk in the egg yolk. Add the 3 juices and whisk gently until incorporated (mixture will thicken slightly).

Pour filling into crust; spread to the corners and smooth the surface with rubber spatula. Bake until set and edges begin to pull away slightly from sides, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on wire rack to room temperature, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Cover with foil and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 2 hours.

To serve, loosen edges with paring knife and lift bars from baking pan using foil extensions. Cut the bars into 16 squares.  Leftovers can be refrigerated up to 2 days; the crust will soften slightly. Let the bars stand at room temperature about 15 minutes before serving.

Source:  More Best Recipes

Pink Lemonade Popsicles

Jack’s and Sammie’s favorite summertime drink is pink lemonade.  So, when I saw these pops, I knew that they would love them.  Especially on a day like today, where here in Chicago, we got to enjoy a high of 99 degrees. Ugh. Crazy hot.  So, we decided to stay inside and have a Disney movie marathon, complete with snacks and refreshments, including these delicious pops.

Luckily, this time, I was able to obtain both lemon zest and lemon juice without any injury. 😀  I then blended the juice and zest with the sugar to make the lemonade concentrate.   I diluted the lemon mixture with water and then added a few strawberries for flavor and for color.  While the recipe doesn’t say to strain the liquid, I ran it through a sieve, knowing Jack and Sammie would not like the seeds.  Although the Vitamix takes care of most of the seeds, it’s better to be safe than sorry.  In other words, heading off any complaints of “Yuck. I hate seeds.”  After waiting 4 hours for your pops to freeze, just one taste and you will fall in love the lemon pucker and unexpected hint of strawberry flavor.  Jack and Sammie loved the pops.  They each gave them a sky high thumbs up, the highest rating at our house. 😀

Pink lemonade popsicles

Yield: 9 to 11 pops (I got 8)

1 tsp finely grated lemon zest

1/2 cup (4fl oz/125 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 4 lemons)

1/2 cup (3.5 oz/105 grams) plus 2 Tbsp superfine sugar

2 fresh or frozen strawberries, hulled

pinch of salt

In a blender or food processor, combine the lemon zest and juice and sugar.  Pour in 1 3/4 cups (14oz/430mL) of water.  Add the strawberries and salt and blend until the mixture is smooth and pink.  I strained the mixture through a sieve to remove the seeds and removed the froth from the top with a spoon.

If using conventional ice pop molds, divide the mixture among the molds.  Cover and freeze until solid, at least 4 hours and up to 3 days.  If using sticks, insert them into the molds when they are part frozen, about 1 hour.  Then continue to freeze until solid, about 3 more hours.

If using an instant ice pop maker (Zoku), follow the instructions to fill and freeze.

Source:  Ice Pops: Recipes for Fresh and Flavorful Frozen Treats.

Lemon Thyme Bars

Jill, from JBean Cuisine, chose baking with fresh herbs as this month’s theme for What’s Baking.  I have never cooked with, let alone baked with, a fresh herb, so I was excited for the challenge.  I had my husband pick me up some thyme because originally I was going to add it to some cheddar biscuits.  But, I made scones for breakfast that morning and since biscuits are similar, I really didn’t have a taste for them anymore.  I definitely want to make those biscuits later (Of course I’ll share :D), but what do I do with the thyme now?   Dessert to me seems a bit weird.  I know that adding herbs to desserts has become quite popular, but I haven’t tasted one yet.  So, why not go the dessert route and try something totally new.  I also had some lemons and from what I have read, thyme and lemon are a great flavor combination.

In my search for a recipe, I came across Giada’s glazed lemon thyme bars that got great reviews and they looked delicious.  The dough is kind of like a shortbread, though less crumbly, scented with lemon and thyme.   The thyme was interesting to work with since I wasn’t quite sure how to handle it.  I tried to run my thumb and index finger first up the stalk and then down the stalk, but either way, they just kept breaking.  So, I just pulled the leaves off one by one…which took forever.  I’m sure there is a better way.  If anyone has any good tricks, I’d love to know!  The leaves are so tiny, they weren’t so easy to chop either.  So, I just kept mounding them up and running my knife through them.  It seemed to do the trick.  The glaze is simply lemon juice and powdered sugar, so it has a nice pucker to it.  What you end up with is a pretty,  grown-up tasting bar- the perfect accompaniment to a cup of coffee or tea.

Lemon Thyme Bars

Bars

1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves   I used 1 TBSP

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

I added the zest of about 1/2 a lemon.

Glaze:

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup powdered sugar

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter and flour an 8 by 8-inch glass baking dish.  I used a metal 8 x 8 pan, sprayed with Pam for baking.  Next time I would add a parchment liner to make them easier to remove and cut evenly.

In a small bowl combine flour, thyme and salt. Set aside. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together 1 stick of butter and powdered sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 30 seconds. Beat in the lemon juice and vanilla. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture. The dough is very sticky, so using damp fingers (dip your fingers in a bowl of water), press the dough into the prepared pan. I also used a wet butter knife to make them as smooth as possible. Bake for 30 minutes until golden. Cool for 30 minutes.   Because I used a metal pan, I baked them at 350F for about 25 minutes.

Glaze:

In a medium bowl, whisk the lemon juice and powdered sugar together until smooth. Spoon the glaze over the cooled crust. Allow the glaze to harden, at room temperature, for at least 1 hour.

Using a metal spatula, remove the crust from the pan. Cut into 1 1/2-inch square bars and arrange on a serving platter or store airtight in a plastic container at room temperature.

Source:  Food Network, Giada De Laurentiis

Blueberry muffins with doughnut topping

When I was looking for a recipe to use up my very brown bananas, I came across this recipe for blueberry muffins with doughnut topping.  Now, with a name like that, you have to agree that these muffins had to be made.   And soon. But, as was the problem with the last batch of blueberry muffins I made, no one here will eat them.  Ugh.  Luckily, I was going to my parents in the morning to help them with their garage sale.  So, I got to unload both my muffins and a bunch of the old clothes Sammie and Alex outgrew.  When I got there, my sister and her two kids attacked me for muffins before I even got in the door.  At least her kids loved them.  But, I have to admit, they mostly ate off the cinnamon sugar top, giving the half eaten bottoms to papa. 😀 My poor dad.  He didn’t even get the best part.

Like most muffins, these were simple to prepare.  You just need to make sure to mix with a gentle hand and not overdo it or you will have tough muffins.  And, no one wants that!  I love the lemon flavor in combination with the sweet blueberries.  I didn’t think just the lemon zest was enough, so I added a bit of lemon extract to make the lemon flavor a bit more pronounced.   When the muffins are warm, you dip their tops in melted butter and then roll them in cinnamon sugar.  The cinnamon sugar crust is a perfect texture contrast to the fluffy, lemon scented cake.  If you have some blueberries on hand, these are a must make.  If you don’t, buy some….

Blueberry muffins with doughnut topping

Yield: 12 muffins

Muffins:
2 cups (255 grams) all purpose flour
½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup (180ml) cold buttermilk, well shaken
3 oz. (3/4 stick/85 gram) unsalted butter, melted and tepid
2 large eggs, room temp
2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups (8 oz/225g) fresh blueberries, pick over for stems

I added a few drops of lemon extract   optional

Doughnut topping:
½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 oz (3/4 stick)  unsalted butter, melted-  I used 1/2 stick and it was plenty

Center rack in oven and preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly coat a 12-cup standard muffin pan with nonstick spray, then flour the cups, tapping out excess.  Or butter and flour the cups.  Or, line with fluted paper or foil liners.  Have all ingredients at room temperature except the buttermilk.

To make the muffins:  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a medium bowl, stir together the buttermilk, butter, eggs, lemon zest and vanilla until combined. Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and stir gently with a rubber spatula just until moistened.  Do not beat until smooth, or the muffins will have a coarse texture. Using a spatula, fold in the blueberries just enough to incorporate them into the batter.  The batter will be very thick,

Using an ice cream scoop ( 2 1/4 inches in diameter/#16), fill the prepared pans with the batter ¾ full. Bake the muffins until golden, spring back when gently pressed in the center, and are starting to pull away from the muffin cups, 18 to 23 minutes.  Cool in the pan just until they can be handled, 10 to 15 minutes.

Make the topping: In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon. While the muffins are still warm, gently remove them from the pan one at a time, dip the tops in the melted butter, and roll into the cinnamon sugar to coat. Place on a wire rack.
Serve warm or at room temperature.  Store at room temperature up to 2 days in an airtight container.  They may be frozen up to 10 days, then thaw at room temperature for 1 to 1.5 hours.

Source:  Baking for All Occasions by Flo Braker

Lemon Tea Bread

Whenever I have leftover brown bananas, I make banana bread.  So, when I had leftover lemons, why not do the same?  While this is called a bread, to me, the bread itself tasted more like a lemon scented pound cake.  The cake is moist and buttery, dotted with lemon zest.  Then, the glaze adds a nice jolt of lemon flavor, as well as sweetness.  I love how the lemon zest sugar looks on top of the bread and how it gives it more lemon taste and some texture.  Similar to pound cake, this bread tastes better the next day.  It becomes more moist and seems to absorb some of the flavor from the glaze.  I have never had Starbuck’s Iced Lemon Pound Cake, but a few of the online reviews mentioned that this bread tasted similar, but it is even better.  I’ll have to test this declaration the next time I go to Starbucks.  Regardless, this bread, cake, pound cake, whatever you want to call it, is delicious.

Lemon Tea Bread

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup milk

2 tablespoons lemon rind, divided

1 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Beat softened butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add 1 cup granulated sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.

Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt; add to butter mixture alternately with milk, beating at low speed just until blended, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Stir in 1 tablespoon lemon rind. Spoon batter into greased and floured 8- x 4-inch loaf pan.

Bake at 350° for 1 hour (mine only took 45 minutes…so keep a careful eye on it at about 40 minutes.)  or until a wooden pick inserted in center of bread comes out clean. Let cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove bread from pan, and cool completely on a wire rack.

Stir together powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth; spoon evenly over top of bread, letting excess drip down sides. Stir together remaining 1 tablespoon lemon rind and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar; sprinkle on top of bread.

Source:  Southern Living October 2004

Glazed Citrus Doodles

I always thought citrus was fine as a flavor, but why choose it if chocolate is available?  But, I have really grown to love it, especially lemon and lime.  But, I just realized that I have never baked anything with orange before. So, when I was flipping through Everyday Food,  I was intrigued by this recipe for glazed citrus doodles.  I love Martha, she never lets me down, so I thought I would give them a try.  The cookie is a simple snickerdoodle base, but minus the cream of tartar.  Then you add orange and lemon zest, which together give the cookie its super refreshing citrus flavor.  And oh my gosh, I am so in love with the smell of zesting citrus fruit!  Although the cookies are delicious as is, they are made even more delicious with the addition of an orange-lemon glaze.  These citrus doodles are the perfect cookies to finally welcome in the warm weather.  So, come on, and get yourself a plate, a tall cold drink and enjoy it.  Here in Chicago, you can never know how long it will last…

Glazed Citrus Doodles

2  3/4 cups all purpose flour (spooned and leveled)

1 Tbsp baking powder

1/4 tsp fine salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp

1 1/2 cups  sugar

2 Tbsp grated orange zest, plus 3 Tbsp juice (2 oranges)

4 tsp lemon zest, plus 3 Tbsp juice (from 2 lemons)

2 large eggs

2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven 350F, with racks in upper and lower thirds.  Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter, granulated sugar, 1 Tbsp orange zest, and 2 tsp lemon zest on medium high until pale and fluffy, 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl as needed.

Beat in eggs, one at a time.  Add flour mixture; beat to combine.

Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place 2 inches apart, on parchment lined baking sheets.

Bake until the edges are lightly golden, 12 to 15 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through.  Let cool on sheets on wire racks 5 minutes, then transfer cookies to racks and let cool completely.

Whisk together 1 Tbsp orange zest, 2 tsp lemon zest, citrus juices, and confectioners’ sugar until smooth.  You may need to add more confectioners’ sugar to get it to the consistency you want.

With a small spoon, spread glaze over each cookie.  Let set 1 hour. (Store in airtight containers, up to 3 days.)

Source:  Everyday Food

Back in the Day Bakery’s Lemon Pie Bars

I have a huge cookbook collection.  They are my biggest weakness, probably even more so than chocolate.  Okay, well maybe it is a toss up.  What is my favorite kind of cookbook? Hands down it is a bakery cookbook.  If a book has bakery in the title, it must be mine!  I think this obsession stems from two things.  One, I especially love to bake delicious, but not so fancy cookies, brownies and bars.  Bakery cookbooks are always chocked full of these kinds of recipes.  And, if I wasn’t a pharmacist, I always dreamed that I would be running the cutest little bakery. Maybe someday…. But, until then, I will continue to research, try recipes, and blog them in preparation. 😀 So, the latest bakery book I picked up is The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook.  While flipping through it, there were so many recipes I flagged, that I finally gave up because it’s kind of silly to bookmark the whole book!

I very recently developed a new love for anything citrus and Back in the Day Bakery’s lemon pie bars looked incredible.  Of course,  I have had lemon bars many times.  But, those always have a shortbread crust and a lemon curd filling.  These are different in that they have a graham cracker crust and a creamy, opaque lemon filling.  The bars are slightly tart, which pairs perfectly with the sweetened whipped cream.  Just to warn you, this recipe does make a whole lot of bars.  But, there a lot worse problems to have.

Lemon Pie Bars

Yield: one 13 x 9 pan  ( a whole lot of bars)

For the crust
3 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 24 crackers)
12 Tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
2 Tbsp sugar

For the filling
1 cup heavy cream
2 tsp grated lemon zest
1 cup fresh lemon juice
Two 14 oz cans sweetened condensed milk
6 large egg yolks

Fresh Whipped Cream (optional)

Position a rack in the middle of  the oven and preheat the oven  to 350° F.  Grease a 9 X 13 inch baking pan and line with parchment, allowing the ends of the paper to hand over two opposite edges of the pan.  I also greased the parchment paper.

To make the crust:  In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, butter,  and sugar and blend with a fork until the crumbs are evenly moistened.  Press the graham cracker mixture firmly and evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan.  Use a piece of parchment to press on the crust with the palm  of your hands to make sure it is completely level.

Bake the crust for about 8 minutes, until lightly golden.  Let cool completely before adding the filling. Turn the oven temperature down to 325° F.

To make the filling:  In a large bowl, whisk together the heavy cream, lemon zest, lemon juice, sweetened condensed milk,  and egg yolks.  Pour the filling over the cooled crust.

Place the baking pan  inside a larger baking pan and pour enough hot water into the larger pan to come halfway up the sides of the smaller pan.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the filling is puffed at the edges and no longer jiggles in the center when the pan is tapped.  Remove the pan from the water bath and set it on a rack to cool for 1 hour, then refrigerate until cold.

Cut the bars into squares and serve chilled, with the whipped cream.  The bars will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

To make fresh whipped cream: 

2 cups heavy cream

1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar

Using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the cream on medium until it starts to thicken.  Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until the cream holds nice soft peaks.

Source:  The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook

Lemonade Sugar Cookies

The winters in Chicago can be pretty brutal.  But, this year we have had an unseasonally warm winter and for that, I am very thankful.  I really do not like cold weather and snow.  This past week, we have had temperatures in the 80s!!  So, I decided it was time to change the kids winter clothes from their drawers for their summer clothes.  I knew I should have waited because March weather can change in a instant.  And, of course, it did.   Now, the temperature has fallen to the 50s and 60s.  Luckily, I just put the clothes in boxes under the kids’ beds, so I can easily pull them back out.  But, I am sorry fellow Chicagoans…this cool weather is probably my fault. 😀  Next time I promise to wait to do my seasonal clothes exchange until June.

Before it got cold, I made these delicious lemonade sugar cookies because it was feeling like summer.  These are super soft and chewy sugar cookies, with a crisp bottom and a sugary crust.  The lemon tang comes from the combination of lemon juice and lemon zest.  I don’t think there is a drink much more refreshing than an ice cold glass of lemonade and this cookie captures the flavor perfectly.  So, if you are experiencing cold weather, this cookie will bring you a taste of summer.  If you already have warm weather (I’m jealous :D) then I suggest sitting outside and enjoying it with a plate of lemonade sugar cookies and of course, a tall glass of lemonade to wash them down.

Lemonade Sugar Cookies

Yield:  3 dozen

2 1/2 cups flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp kosher salt

grated zest of 2 lemons  I used a microplane

8 Tbsp (4oz) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/4 cup canola oil or other vegetable oil

1 1/4 cup sugar

2 eggs, room temperature

1 tsp vanilla

2 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

additional granulated sugar to roll the dough in

optional yellow coarse sanding sugar

Stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the grated lemon zest with the soft butter.  Blend until smooth and add the vegetable oil.  Add the sugar and mix to blend.  Add the eggs, scraping the sides occasionally, and mix to blend.  Add the vanilla and lemon juice.  Add the reserved dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  The dough will be fairly loose.

Chill the dough for several hours (or overnight) before forming and baking the cookies.

Preheat the oven to 350.

Roll tablespoon sized scoops of dough into round balls, roll in sugar (or sugar mixed with yellow sprinkles if desired- I like how it looks like lemon zest on the outside of the cookies), and place on parchment lined sheets.  The cookies will spread, so leave several inches between them.

Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until the tops of the cookies feel “just firm” when gently pressed.  Somehow, mine only took about 10 minutes, so I would start checking at about 8 or 9 minutes.  The bottoms turn a light golden brown, but the tops should stay pale in color.

Source: Sweet Stuff:  Karen Barker’s American Desserts

Helpful Hints:

  • The author suggests substituting lime or orange flavorings if you prefer.  These sound delicious as well.

Lemon Lime Crinkles

Here in Chicago, it’s 30 degrees and the ground is covered with slushy, dirty, nasty snow.  It’s so cold that it makes you not want to leave the house unless you really have to.  I’ve lived here all my life, so you would think I’d get used to it.  But, no, I don’t.  I still hate the winter.  😦 I would move some place warmer in an instant if all my family and friends didn’t live here.  So, to chase away the winter blues, I thought I would bake something to remind me of summer.  When I think of the warm Chicago summer, I think of my kids running through the sprinkler, shooting each other with water guns  and me watching, trying to keep cool with a cold drink.  Nothing really quenches your thirst better than a tall glass of ice cold lemonade.  I came across these lemon lime crinkle cookies and I thought they would replicate the flavor of my favorite summer drink.  You make a basic sugar cookie dough and add some lemon and lime zest to give it a bright citrus flavor.  They have crispy edges, a chewy middle and a lemon lime flavor that is totally addicting.  Unfortunately, summer is several months away.  But if you make some of these cookies, it will add a little warmth to your otherwise freezing cold day. 😀

Lemon Lime Crinkles

Yield:  36 small cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp cream of tartar

1 egg

1 Tbsp finely shredded lemon peel (Microplane)

1 tsp finely shredded lime peel (Microplane)

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 Tbsp white, yellow, and/or green nonpareils or plain sugar – I went a little crazy with the sprinkles 😀

Preheat oven to 375°F.  In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add 1 cup of sugar, the baking soda and cream of tartar.  Beat until combined, scraping the bowl occasionally.  Beat in the egg, lemon and lime peel, and vanilla until combined.  Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer and then finish mixing by hand with a wooden spoon.

Place the nonpareils or sugar in a bowl. Shape the dough into 1 inch balls.  Dip the tops of the dough balls in the nonpareils or roll in sugar. (I pressed the tops in the nonpareils, then rolled the uncovered part in sugar.)  Place two inches apart on a parchment lined cookie sheet. (I got 16 cookies/sheet).  Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or just until the edges start to brown.  Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool.

Source:  Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Cookies 2008

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