Due to the unexpected (though completely delighting) success of the lemon balm cookies I made and brought to work a few weeks back, I was asked to concoct a reprise for our colleague’s recent baby shower. I didn’t have time to let the dough firm in the fridge for three hours so instead used the lemons in my new CSA box to bake a batch of lemon poppy seed cookies.
I found the recipe on MarthaStewart.com and, based on reading the comments, it looked like a winner, minus the fact that the dough proved for others to be rather runny. The simple solution offered: Just chill the dough in the fridge for an hour.
With that knowledge in hand (and ready to be dropped), I whipped up the batter before starting on dinner, Indian chickpeas and chard. I must have been rather tired because I failed to follow the directions as written and creamed the butter and sugar together with the dry ingredients instead of in a separate bowl. In my defense, the recipe was not the clearest one ever written and the oversight was not detrimental to my efforts (though something else would be).
Dry and wet ingredients precariously mixed, I popped the dough into the fridge and worked on dinner.
An hour and a half later, I greased my pans—which were standing in for cookie sheets, which I somehow don’t own—and began forming the dough into one-inch-diameter balls. (Chilling the dough in the fridge helped it firm up a bit but it was still quite soft.) I rolled each spherical dough ball in the sugar and lemon zest mixture I had prepared and plopped them on the pans approximately one and a half to two inches apart, as suggested. Then I used the bottom of a glass to push each one down into a quarter-inch-thick circle and placed them in the oven.
I opened the oven five minutes later and, to my despair, found the cookies smushed together and no longer shaped like circles but diamonds that filled the pans in Harlequin patterns. Recipe amendment: Place the rolled dough balls two inches apart after they were flattened rather than before.
Fortunately for me, the pans I used hadn’t been large enough to bake all of the batter at once and I had a second chance to redeem myself—which I did.
I transferred the successful batch of circular cookies to my makeshift cooling rack: Wax paper on top of the gas range racks since I also don’t have a cooling rack. (Perhaps I should stop giving Rob such a hard time for not having any cooking utensils at his home since apparently I don’t either!) A few fell apart on transfer, but that just meant I had to taste test them.
Unlike the lemon balm cookies, these cookies were incredibly lemon—almost tangy—which was most certainly due to the three and a half teaspoons of lemon zest that went into this recipe (and a complete lack of zest in the other). With all the sugar in the batter and the additional sprinkles in which the dough was rolled, the cookies were very sweet (almost too sweet for me). Fortunately, my colleagues loved them—and didn’t even mind the diamond-shaped ones.