If you’ve been joining me in Bluesky Kitchen, you may remember that we have a Meyer Lemon Tree. I wrote about it here and shared a luscious Ice Box Lemon Pie here. To date, we have brought in 42 lemons and Sweet Shark estimates there are another 20-25 left on the tree. We should have a lemonade stand out front. I’m trying to not waste any wonderful bit of luscious lemony~ness.
A couple of weeks ago in preparation for a cooking class I was teaching, I decided to use up some of those lemons and focus a class on lemons. I knew some of the recipes I wanted to include: an awesome Lemon Vinaigrette Salad, a scrumptious Lemon~Leek Frittata and Teeny-Tiny Lemon Potatoes. All I needed was a dessert featuring lemons and I wanted something new that I had not made before. I searched through Pinterest and found several really pretty lemon cookie recipes. As pretty as they were, I’m not really a cookie maker, so I knew I would have to test the recipe before teaching it in a class. (Remember the warning: don’t make a dish for a party that you’ve never made before. Well, that’s also the mantra for teaching cooking classes: don’t teach a recipe you haven’t tested first.) And I am so glad I did because changes in preparation did indeed to be made.
Not a spoiler: after testing and adjusting, the cookies are just delicious. Sweet Shark and my cooking students loved them. The lemon flavor is multi~layered with that fresh citrus pop that I love. So I’m going to show you ~
How to Make a Lemon Crinkle Cookie to Pucker Up For
Here is the original recipe. Warning: don’t just copy it and make the cookies without reading my adjustments. I’ve made the corrections for you.
Now let me show you how I adjusted the recipe to make it work.
First always do your mise en place. The recipe called for a box of lemon cake, but didn’t specify which kind or which brand. Now I haven’t used a boxed cake mix in years, but that’s partly what attracted me to this recipe. I chose Duncan Hines because it did not have any added pudding in it. The recipe also called for lemon essential oil, which I had on hand.
As a kid, I loved to suck on lemon drops and this recipe called for crushed lemon drops. I used my mini~processor to crush them to a powder. Still a half a bag left for me to enjoy and remember some childhood memories.
Combine all the batter ingredients in the mixer. The ingredients include the fresh lemon juice from our Meyer lemon tree, which is a bit sweeter than regular lemons.
Here is where I knew something wasn’t right ~ here’s the batter ~ notice I said batter, not dough. Here the recipe says to roll the “dough” into balls a bit smaller than a golf ball. I tried that and ended up with batter all over my hands. The batter was too sticky and too loose to roll into balls. I washed my hands and switched to an ice cream scoop. That worked a little better, but it was impossible to roll the balls in the powdered sugar as instructed. I just used my powdered sugar shaker and shook it over the cookies. The recipe says it yields 20 cookies and I only baked half that amount. There was still alot of batter in the bowl. The recipe indicates to bake for 12 ~ 15 minutes. 14 minutes was the magic time for me. Always check your own oven for the right temperature.
The cookies came out of the oven, I cooled them, and tasted and they were delicious. Sweet Shark liked them too. My only negative: I thought the cookies were too big ~ little over 3 inches. I wanted a smaller cookie. While I was baking the first batch, I put the mixing bowl with the remaining batter in the fridge. An hour later (I got busy doing something very important.), I pulled out the mixing bowl and I could tell the batter had thickened and looked more like dough. Using my smallest scoop, I pulled out the dough and was able to roll it into a ball, but it was still a bit sticky. To ensure that all the cookies were the same size, I used my scale (one of my very favorite tools) and weighed the ball. It was 1/4 ounce. So I scooped, rolled and weighed the rest of the dough.
This was progress. I rolled half the balls in the powdered sugar.
This time the cookies baked to a perfect 2 inch round size and also puffed up a bit more than the larger first batch.
I still had some batter left over so I covered the mixing bowl and put it in the refrigerator and there it stayed overnight.
Now I made the frosting. A bit of a problem here, too. I could tell the cream cheese frosting was a bit loose in the bowl and when I piped it onto the cookies.
Still pretty and I sprinkled the tops with some of the powdered lemon drops.
Good, but I wanted the frosting to be firmer and I wanted the garnish to show up more. So for my next batch, I put the frosting in the piping bag with a small decorative tip and then in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Again a definite improvement. The frosting piped better, looked better.
NOTE: To make filling a piping bag easier, put it in a tall glass.
Remember the cookie batter I put in the refrigerator? The next morning I was able to easily scoop and roll the dough into balls. Overnight was even better than an hour and the cookies turned out great.
This time I sprinkled half the cookies with lemon zest and half with crushed lemon drops.
NOTE: Always zest lemons before you juice them, even if your recipe doesn’t call for zest. Save your zest on a piece of waxed paper, fold up and put in a ziplock bag. Take out and use directly from the freezer when you want an extra punch of lemony flavor in tea, on vegetables, in salads, chicken or veal piccata, or for use in baking.
So here is the adjusted recipe. This is the one I want you to use and print. The citrus from the lemon cake mix, fresh lemon juice, lemon essential oil, and lemon drops give these cookies a great depth of flavor and I hope you’ll love them ~ refreshing, soft, not too sweet, and pretty as can be ~ although I can’t claim credit for the original recipe. But I do think I improved on the technique.
BONUS: Here’s an extra to make these cookies even better: I wanted to see how the cookies would freeze. I placed 16 cookie balls on an unlined sheet pan and put them in the freezer overnight to quick-freeze. The next morning, I baked them straight from the freezer for 16 minutes, just 2 minutes longer than unfrozen and they turned out great. I will probably make another whole batch, quick-freeze, put in a Ziplock and have in the freezer for when I need some quick cookies. I am so proud of myself.
One of my students said she was going to make these for Easter, and I think that is a great idea. I hope you do, too.
Remember to come back tomorrow for Your Inspired Design Link Party #26 and on Friday for the Bluebonnet Blog Hop.