With Sweet Dreams and Even Sweeter Days

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies

I have a really hard time sitting on recipes.

As in I can't do it.

Like at all.

The minute I make something that I think is out of this world I immediately want to share it and get it out there for all of you.  Normally this is far from a problem.

Except for the weeks when maybe I make one or two treats that are great and only get around to posting one.

That's when we fall into some trouble.

I'm talking Chocolate Bundt Cake from May 2011 that's been sitting on my desktop patiently waiting to be posted ever since trouble.

Yea.  About that.

I will promise to find a spot for the lonely bundt cake around these parts soon, if you promise to forgive me for shoving these lovely little cookies at you instead.  I think you'll be inclined to do just that though.

They're kind of incredible.

A light and airy cookie that basically bursts with citrus flavor; they're slightly crisp on the edges giving way to a chewy center all the while studded with poppy seeds, both within and sprinkled on top.

The kind of cookies that make you want summer to get here as soon as possible, while also making the remaining weeks of winter just a little bit brighter.  My kind of cookies to say the least.

Now here's the thing.  In the directions it says to roll the cookie dough into a mixture of sugar and lemon zest.  Which is absolutely awesome. Except for the fact my dough was WAY too soft to roll.  It just wasn't happening. 

But I improvised and came up with a pretty fun way to whip them up instead.  It's really not hard at all, it just benefits from some pictures as a guide.

So I figured I'd walk you though it.

Bear with me.

Using a small scoop with a release mechanism, scoop out some dough.  It's easy to go overboard.  Less is more.  You'll get in a rhythm as you go.

Plop it in your sugar/lemon mixture.  Without touching the doughball, scoop the sugar/lemon mixture over the dough until it completely covers the doughball.

See the dough is so soft, if you tried to shape it by hand you'd end up with a big sticky mess, but the sugar/lemon mixture acts as a kind of shield (a delicate shield but a shield nonetheless) and helps you to shape the cookies.

Gently toss the doughball between your two hands to remove excess sugar.  Gently.

Place the doughball on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicon mat. (If you're planning to bake the cookies immediately space the balls at least 2 in apart.  If you want to flash freeze the dough they only need to be about 1 inch apart - full instructions below for either method)

Gently press down on the cookie with the bottom of a glass to flatten them slightly or until they are approximately 1/4 inch thick.  Gentle is the name of the game here.  This cookie dough is soft and benefits from a light hand.

Doughballs before and after pressing down.  Flattening them makes them uniform and shape and size and also helps while they are cooking so the edges don't burn before the centers bake.

If I can do it, you can do it.  Most definitely.

Then either sprinkle some poppy seeds on top and bake or flash freeze them for later.  And enjoy some of the best cookies I've churned out in awhile.

I hope the step-by-step on shaping helped at least somewhat if you do try these cookies out.  If that's the case, I'll try to include them on here more frequently.  And if it didn't help out at all, I hope you're only a little more worse for wear.

I'm off to sunny Florida tomorrow to soak up some real sunshine, but for right now, these cookies are more than enough.


Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies
Servings: 2-3 dozen cookies

- juice of 2 lemons (approx 1/4 cup)
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- zest from two lemons
- 1 Tbsp poppy seeds (plus more for sprinkling)

If baking immediately, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Bring the lemon juice to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Add 1 stick of butter and stir until melted.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour baking powder and salt.  Set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer beat remaining stick of butter and 1 cup of the sugar until creamy and light (about 2 minutes).  Add egg and reserved lemon butter and beat until pale (about 2-3 minutes).  Mix in the vanilla and 2 tsp of the lemon zest.  Reduce speed to low and mix in flour mixture and poppy seeds.

In a small bowl stir together remaining 1/2 cup sugar and remaining lemon zest until well combined.  Using a small dough scoop with a release mechanism, scoop out approx 1 Tbsp size doughballs one at a time.  Place each doughball into the lemon/sugar mixture and cover with lemon/sugar mixture without touching the doughball itself.

Gently toss the doughball between your hands, while they are close together to remove excess sugar.  Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicon mat (spaced 2 inches apart if baking immediately or 1 inch apart if flash freezing).  Press each doughball down lightly with the bottom of a flat glass until approx 1/4 inch thick.

If baking immediately sprinkle with poppy seeds and bake for 9-11 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through or until the cookies are lightly golden brown on the edges and seem mostly set in the centers.  (Mine were done at 9 minutes).  Cool completely on baking sheets on a wire rack and store in an air-tight container at room temperature.

If flash freezing, place tray(s) of cookies into the freezer for 20-30 minutes (or until the cookies have firmed up considerably.  Transfer to an airtight container and store in the freezer until ready to bake.  When ready to bake, pre-heat oven and take out as many cookies as you'd like to make.  Line on baking sheets and sprinkle with poppy seeds and allow to sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes.  Bake as directed, adding a minute or so to the baking time if the edges are not golden by the 11 minute mark.

Cookies will last in the freezer for at least a month.  I have not tested longer.  (Mine never last that long)

Recipe adapted from: Martha Stewart's Cookies

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