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Easy Lemon Cookies

lemon-cookies-1We found this recipe some years ago in a friend’s recipe book collection. It was cookie-making season, and our oven was broken (well, not really broken so much as simply misbehaving; temperatures were random, the pilot light had a tendency to go out, and all the other things that go with trying to use an incredibly cool looking but obstinate 75-year-old appliance), so we schlepped ourselves over to Sara and Benny’s place for a day of cookies, videogames, random oddball movies and good conversation.

After we had run through our repertoire of cookies, we turned to the books and found we had all the ingredients for these lemon cookies, and so here they are. These cookies are the only acceptable reason to ever buy frozen whipped topping!

Lemon Cookies
1 (8 oz.) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
2 eggs
1 (18.25 oz.) pkg. lemon cake mix
1/3 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°
Lightly grease baking sheets.
Beat together the whipped topping & eggs.
Add the lemon cake mix. Dough will be thick.
Drop by teaspoonfuls into a bowl of powdered sugar and roll to coat.
Place cookies on the prepared baking sheets.
Bake for 8 minutes.

And here’s how to have some fun with these cookies. Penn & Teller, in their lovely book “How to Play with Your Food,” have provided a great recipe for what they call “Swedish Lemon Angels.” Make the cookies according to the recipe above and take them into your workplace (or to a potluck, party or any other social event at which cookies would be welcome). You’re going to want to hand-copy their recipe (below) onto an index card beforehand. At some point, somebody will ask for the recipe. Give them the card.

Note: Penn & Teller’s recipe calls for cutting the cookies into angel shapes, but you can change it to the last few steps of the real recipe when you transcribe it. It doesn’t really matter, because nobody’s going to get that far anyway.

Swedish Lemon Angels
1 Egg
½ cup Buttermilk (or 1/4 c. milk and 1/4 cup vinegar)
5 teaspoons Baking soda
½ teaspoon Vanilla
1 cup Lemon juice (fresh is best)
1¼ cup Sugar
⅞ cup All purpose flour
8 tablespoons Butter or margarine, melted

PREHEAT OVEN TO 375 DEGREES
1. In a small bowl or 2 cup measuring cup, beat the egg until foamy.
2. Add the buttermilk and vanilla and blend well.
3. Add the baking soda, one teaspoonful at a time, sprinkling it in and beating until the mixture is smooth and the consistency of light cream.
4. Add the lemon juice all at once and blend into the mixture. Stir, but do not beat (you want it creamy, but without a lot of air)
5. The mixture will congeal into a pasty lump. Scoop it out of the bowl with a spatula and spread it on a floured surface.
6. Sift the flour and 3/4 cup of the sugar together and use the fingertips to work it into the egg- lemon mixture.
7. With a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out 1/32′ thick and with the tip of a sharp knife, cut out ‘angel’ shapes and twist the edges up to form a shell-like curve about 3/8″ high. Sprinkle on the remainder of the sugar.
8. Brush each ‘angel’ with melted butter.
9. Place the angels one inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown.

Remember making a ‘volcano’ in elementary school? This is the same classic chemical reaction disguised as a cookie recipe. Anyone trying this will wind up with a kitchen counter full of egg-lemon foam about 10 seconds after completing step 4.

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Jim

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