Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Lemon Coolers...

With another Wednesday upon us, you can be sure time was carved out today to prepare the Weekly Wednesday Treat Day goodie! With a harried weekend behind us, I wasn't able to menu plan for much this week, so to pick out what we were going to make, we took one of our most-used baking books and decided whatever it landed on (as long as it was new to us!) is what we would do.

Jeff, with the help of Gus in his lap, cracked it open and guess what? It landed on those Chocolate Whoopie Pies that we have made before. He tried again, which brought us to these Butterscotch Sundae Cookies, and again, we made those too. Third times the charm, right? Yes! This time, he managed to strike a new one - these Lemon Coolers.

To incorporate the first layer of lemon into the cookies, we took note of a technique we first tried a few years ago by using your fingers to rub the intense zest into the sugar(s) before you begin mixing in the fat. Manhandling the zest this way bruises it, smashing the natural oils into the sugar making for quite the fragrant experience. You'll need a fair amount of zest to push the lemon flavor through - however, if you by chance have lemon oil at your disposal, drop the amount of zest down to a teaspoon and add a quarter teaspoon of the oil.

Using butter in the cookies lends flavor and tenderness as one would expect, but to make these cookies tender and soft enough that they practically melt on the tongue, a half cup of softened cream cheese also jumps into the mix. With the dry ingredients stirred in to form a soft dough, it will need to rest in the fridge for a half hour before you begin the baking process.

Dropped onto baking sheets using a tablespoon cookie scoop, the balls of chilled dough are flattened using the bottom of a glass, or measuring cup, to spread them into a rough round about a quarter inch thick. To prevent the cookies from attaching to the flattening utensil of choice, dip the bottom into confectioners' sugar between each press.

Once they've been baked until the bottoms and edges are a bare golden, the hot cookies will be fairly delicate - let them cool right on the baking sheets for a few minutes to allow them to set and make them handle-able without falling apart. The tops of each cookie were supposed to be dipped into a lemon-laced sugary concoction, but in our case we need to spoon the sugar over the top and gently rub it in (see below). The mixture was made by blitzing superfine sugar with confectioners' sugar and two bright tablespoons of fresh lemon zest. Just as in the cookies, if you happen to have the concentrated pure lemon oil handy, you could take out the zest and use a quarter teaspoon oil instead. A good time to take care of this is either before you begin making the dough or while it is hanging out in the refrigerator, resting.

When I was imagining this cookie, I thought the topping would be more like snow-like or powder-y and soft - you know, like powdered doughnuts or whatnot, but it was more like moist granulated sugar. My guess is my lemon zest was extremely moist, which worked against the confectioners' sugar. Even if our topping wasn't exactly as intended, we both liked the sugar-y, tart crunchy crust it gave the cookies! I did, however, have a truckload of that sugar mixture leftover - at least three-fourths of it was still there when I was done with all of the cookies, making me believe it was suppose to end up powder-y. Refreshing, citrusy and a nice change from those heavier or chocolate laden treats.


  1. These look so light and fresh! These sound SO good right now! I love chocolate and the syrupy drippy treats but my true weakness is something like this in the shape of a cookie and the crisp lemon flavor would be impossible to pass up!

  2. Joe,
    These sound great. Is the texture cakey in any way (I hope not), or just soft?

  3. Yum! Ifor some reason the fact that they are called "coolers" intrigued me...I've never had coolers before. I love lemon though, but I dont bake with it nearly enough! I just made a lemon pie cake but is the only thing! Love your blog so much! Thanks for sharing! (:


  4. Dionne - I agree, can't live without the decadent treats, but still love the light and refreshing ones just the same!

    Meryl - I don't think I would describe them as cake-like. More dense, soft and slightly chewy - some of Jeff's co-workers described them as almost creamy.

    buttersweet - Thanks for stopping by!

  5. I love that you had to try again a few times to get to a recipe you hadn't made. Sounds like a well used book and that it got you to something new. I have to admit I'm usually a chocolate fan so I would probably pass over these in a book but would definitely try them on a plate.

  6. Hi Joe,
    I was in a bookstore today and checked out the KA Cookie Companion, since you recommend it so highly. It looks like an awesome book! I hope to purchase it at some point. BTW - I love, love, love lemon!

  7. Isn't there some kind of detectives trick in which they plop open a phone book and it's supposed to fall open to whatever page was looked at last (or looked at the most?) Something like that... Your idea just brought that vague (probably old tv mystery?) memory to mind.

    Anyway, on to the real issue, LOL, those cookies look delicious. I love lemon cookies, even more than lemon bars. I also love the "rubbing the zest" trick which I first read in a Dorie Greenspan cookbook. I also do that with every recipe that has zest and sugar!

  8. Kelly - Thanks for stoppin' by!

    Donna - You will love that book!

    Jennifer - Isn't that a great trick? Makes the hands smell good, too!

  9. THX for sharing