Lemon Lime Brown Sugar Cookies with Perfect Lemon Glaze

I found myself with some free time the other day.  And a strong desire for lemon dessert.  It’s not something I’m proud of, but I instantly marched to the pantry and did a quick assessment.

We did have a lemon, a lime, some flour.  Yep, I was ready.  Then came the recipe hunt, which brought me to Martha Stewart’s Lemon Brown Sugar Cookie recipe.  And Giada’s Lemon Glaze that she uses on a different cookie recipe.

The result was lemony magic.  Well, sort of.  I’ll admit that this cookie recipe is a bit non-traditional.  The result was actually like lemon shortbread magic more than traditional cookie magic.  The cookies are a bit more crumbly and delicate than your average sugar cookie, but the flavor is so good!  They’re not too sweet, not too tart.  Just right.

 
My advice?  Make these for a bite of summer, then don’t tell your family.  They make a perfect (not quite healthy) snack.

Hannah’s Lemon Lime Brown Sugar Cookies with Lemon Glaze

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (or self-rising if you prefer puffy cookies like I do)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon and lime zest
  • 2 eggs
  • Glaze recipe (see below)

The Glaze

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 lemon, zested

How to Put It All Together

Stir together the flour and the baking powder.  Cream together the butter, sugar, and lemon and lime zest in a large bowl until light.  Beat the eggs, then stir in the flour mixture thoroughly.  Place the dough on a sheet of plastic wrap and form the dough into a disk.  Wrap the dough and chill for at least 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and cut out shapes with a cookie cutter (or a glass if it’s handy).

Bake for 5 to 8 minutes (or a little bit longer if your oven is a bit on the cool side like ours).  You want the cookies to have a tiny bit of color, but they won’t necessarily turn golden like some cookies.  Remove from the baking sheets and cool on racks.  Let them cool completely before glazing.

When you do want to glaze them, combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a small bowl until smooth.  Spoon about 1/2-teaspoon onto each cookie and use the back of the spoon to spread.  Let the glaze harden before stacking the cookies for storage (in the fridge overnight is a good glaze-hardening option).

Biscuit Success

This is one of those weird mornings.  It was an early wake-up morning for Scott, which means extra morning time at home for me.  Not extra sleep time.  If I tried to get extra sleep after waking up once, I would never ever wake up.  Ever.  I’m talking 2020, still happily asleep, fired years ago for not making it to work.

So with sleep off the table, that usually puts good old-fashioned chores on the table.  Laundry and dishes and everything under the sun.

But this morning, I couldn’t muster the energy for chores.  Instead, it’s been an epic TV/couch morning.  It’s been beautiful.  (I did in fact find the momentum to put away clean dishes from the dishwasher during commercials.  I can handle five minutes of work per 45 minutes of TV, even during down time.)

I also have some laurels to rest on today, because last night I conquered the buttermilk biscuit.  Thanks to Southern Living’s Buttermilk Biscuit recipe, I am no longer a biscuit failure.

For the past three years, Scott and I have been taking excellent biscuit recipes (I assume) and ruining them with whole wheat flour.  We were trying to make biscuits healthier, which isn’t wrong as a goal.  What’s wrong is turning something that’s supposed to be light and fluffy into a small, dense brick.  These are not bricks, and they are also not whole wheat:

biscuits

You can go ahead and ignore the dog hair on the cookie sheet.  That’s just extra protein (or roughage or something good).

While I think the flour is 90% of the genius, I will say that I like this recipe.  It’s simple, and that’s good.  I also like using buttermilk, because you can make it yourself.  Did you know that?  Just put slightly less than a cup of milk into some sort of container, then add one tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice, and wham.  Buttermilk.

And last but not least, I like that I learned a new biscuit trick this past weekend, and I think it worked.  Instead of using a pastry cutter to turn the butter and flour into a biscuit mixture, try grating your cold butter.  That’s right.  If you grate it with a cheese grater, it turns into tiny pieces of butter that integrate better than slices with the flour.  Perfect little pockets of butter.  That’s especially handy if you don’t have a pastry cutter thing.  I don’t.

So there you go.  That’s all of the biscuit genius I have to offer, and I’m happy to say that it worked.

(Links acting funny again, but you can get to the Southern Living recipe by clicking on the biscuit picture.)

Chocolate Almond Macaroon Silver Linings

One advantage of having way too much free time is having enough free time to make things like chocolate almond macaroons.  They’re for a care package for friends, but Scott and I had to taste test a few, right?  Naturally.

macaroon

Interested in a good, quick recipe?  Here you go!

I have to say, in a world full of online ideas that are impossible to pull off without Martha Stewart super powers, it’s a relief to find a recipe that works for me.  (There was a tragic Martha Stewart spring roll incident at our apartment recently.  It’s too soon to talk about it in any detail, but it wasn’t pretty.)  The macaroons even look as great in my oven as they do in the recipe.  Magic.

Homemade Goodness and Pecan Spinwheels

Yesterday was Christmas baking day, but I didn’t factor in time for the dough to do its thing and for the oven to preheat and bake and bake some more, and for me to then take care of the trillion dishes that baking produced.  My kitchen looks like a disaster area or an example of a hundred and one health violations.  Don’t worry, it was sanitary before the baking happened.

The original intention was to make two batches (doubling the recipe doesn’t really work out in this case), so there are some extra ingredients and things scattered around the kitchen with all of the other mess.  Only one batch made it to completion, which brings up the next issue.

I have 3.75 loaves of stollen to show for my labor.  I assumed I would have 7.75 loaves at this point (that last quarter loaf is for necessary quality-sampling purposes and because you can’t take bread out of the oven without eating some).  Do I go for another round of baking?  Do I sacrifice several good hours of sleep tomorrow for the sake of tasty food?  I’m reasonably certain the answer to that question is going to be “no” this year.  Sorry, friends.  Several of you were slated to receive stollen in the next few days, but it looks like I’m going to have to be selfish with my meager baked output.

With all of that beautiful baked bread/dessert at home, I still managed to buy Little Debbie Pecan Spinwheels today at the grocery store.  I consumed two of them within twenty minutes of the purchase.  Spinwheels have been a long-term favorite.  They’re totally sweet and desserty, but they’re just on the okay side of the junk food spectrum.  They’re kind of a natural color, after all.  You could pretend they’re not bad for you, unlike most of their Little Debbie cousins.  (Swiss Cake Rolls?  Not even remotely close to being healthy.)

Enough of a reverie about food for one day, right?  I promise I have other interests.  Sometimes I think about friends and books and other things between thoughts about food.

Speaking of other things, I recently watched Saving Private Ryan for the first time.  It was a fantastic movie–sad and powerful and all of that.  I did have to watch it in small doses though, and it was the TV edited version.  I have a hard time watching war movies with semi-contemporary weapons now that my brother is in the army.  The end of the movie threw me off, too.  If it was trying to make me feel better about all of the sadness of the first 95% of the movie, it totally failed.  If it was trying to portray the brokenness of the world, it achieved that goal.  I’ll be on a strict regimen of comedies for the next week to recover from all of that.

Day of Clumsiness and Pain

Yesterday really did have its good moments, so as you read this, please realize that I’m writing with a smile on my face.  I basically had my very own America’s Funniest Home Videos episode last night, minus the camera and the canned laughter.

First, I’ll set the scene.  I have a really nice bruise on my right knee and a tiny piece of twig in my left ankle.  Neither is worth mentioning, except that they show that yesterday wasn’t an isolated incident.  I seem to get clumsier as I get older.  In middle school, when everybody else was spilling stuff on themselves and getting cuts and bruises all the time, I was totally put together.  Not anymore.

The third wound is where the fun started yesterday.  I was supposed to bake cookies on Monday night for a community group activity on Tuesday morning, but I fell asleep waiting for the dough to chill.  Somebody should enjoy the cookies anyway, so the baking went forward a day behind schedule.  As I was taking the second cookie sheet out of the oven, maybe somewhat distracted by the scent of goodness wafting towards me, I pushed the cookie sheet onto the stove with my forearm.  Oops.  Got a nice burn and dropped the cookie sheet immediately, leaving a pile of crumbles that used to be cookies on the floor.

I wasn’t too distraught about that, so I took a relaxing delivery walk with the contents of the first cookie sheet.  I love leaving things for people.  When I was a kid, my mom and I picked flowers from our garden and left little mini-bouquets on our neighbors’ doorsteps on May Day.  Knowing that people would walk out of the house to surprise flowers probably made my day better than theirs.  See, doing nice things for other people can be totally selfish.  How sweet.

So I was feeling good, listening to music, entirely past the burned arm.  Then I skipped up from the road to the curb, happy as could be until the split second when I kind of half fell and my left leg felt like it had exploded from knee to thigh.

I hobbled home, did my thing, and thought I might never be able to walk without a limp again.  I’ll let my leg speak for itself:

It’s a lot better this morning.  Nothing a heat pack and some ice cream won’t heal in a few days.  Someday I’ll learn not to catch hot cookie sheets with my bare arm or trip into extreme pain.  Until then, I’ll just keep laughing at myself.  At least my heart is healthy because of all the laughter.