In the past 48 hours, however, I HAVE been doing a lot of baking. Now, you have to know that I don't claim to be a great baker in any way, shape, or form. Christmas cookies are about as far as I go. But when the hubby announced on Sunday afternoon that he was in charge of a bake sale at his work on TUESDAY (today!) with proceeds going to charity - I needed to step up to the plate.
As per usual in my cooking/baking adventures - some things turned out well, some not so much, and I learned lots along the way. I thought I'd share with you some favorites old and new. Happy Baking!
Old Favorite: Lemon Cookies
- 3 cup(s) all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoon(s) cornstarch
- 3/4 teaspoon(s) salt
- 1 1/2 cup(s) (3 sticks) butter (no substitutions)
- 1 cup(s) confectioners' sugar
- 1 tablespoon(s) grated fresh lemon peel
- 1 1/2 teaspoon(s) lemon extract
- 1/4 teaspoon(s) almond extract
- 1 1/2 cup(s) confectioners' sugar
- 5 teaspoon(s) fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoon(s) grated fresh lemon peel
1. Prepare lemon cookies: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. On waxed paper, combine flour, cornstarch, and salt. In large bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat butter and sugar until creamy, occasionally scraping bowl with rubber spatula. Beat in lemon peel and extracts. Reduce speed to low; gradually beat in flour mixture until blended, occasionally scraping bowl.
2. Divide dough in half. Between two 20-inch sheets of waxed paper, roll half of dough 3/8 inch thick. (If paper wrinkles during rolling, peel it off, then replace it to remove wrinkles.)
3. With floured 2 1/4-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut dough into as many cookies as possible. With floured 3/4-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out and remove centers from cookies. Reserve centers and trimmings to reroll. With lightly floured wide spatula, carefully place cookies, 1 inch apart, on ungreased large cookie sheet. (If dough becomes too soft to transfer to cookie sheet, freeze 10 minutes until firm.)
4. Bake cookies 15 to 16 minutes or until edges are golden. Transfer cookies to wire rack; cool 10 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, prepare lemon glaze: In small bowl, with wire whisk or fork, mix confectioners' sugar, lemon juice, and lemon peel until blended. Dip top side of each warm cookie into glaze. Place cookies on wire rack set over waxed paper to catch any drips. Allow glaze to set, about 20 minutes.
6. Repeat with remaining dough, reserved centers, trimmings, and glaze, adding a little water to glaze if it begins to thicken. Store cookies, with waxed paper between layers, in tightly covered container at room temperature up to 1 week, or in freezer up to 3 months.
New Favorite: Pistachio-Zucchini Cupcakes
I know, these sound a little crazy - but they are so good! Plus they are made with pre-made cake mix so they are quick to whip up. Light and moist, they have a great spiced flavor and the glaze on top with a kick of lime is great. I made my glaze waaaay too runny - I need to experiment with glazes the next time I make these...
1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with baking liners. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, cinnamon, cardamom, pepper and cloves. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil and milk. Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until smooth; stir in the zucchini.
2. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pans, filling each cup two-thirds full. Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool.
3. Sift the confectioners' sugar into a medium bowl. Whisk in the lime peel, lime juice and 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon water until smooth. Cover each cupcake with the glaze and sprinkle with the pistachios.