Homer Alaska - Cooking

Story last updated at 6:49 PM on Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Lighten winter's hold with lemon cookie delight




How can anyone allow themselves to fall into a winter funk in this zany and creative little town of ours? Possibly this Seasonal Affect Disorder is just a lame excuse for grouchiness and lack of a good homemade cookie now and again shared over a cup of tea with a friend, human or furry type. How can you allow yourself to get all balled up and cranky in the winter, living in our little Hamlet by the Sea?


 

I'm driving into work Friday and have on the public radio station and my favorite Friday morning show. Host Glen Caldwell reads the Bush Lines. This one cracked me up. "To our friends and neighbors in scenic Seldovia; brace yourselves, the Tustemena will deliver the Bossy Pant's Marching Band for a micro parade through Seldovia on Saturday. Let the good times roll!"

I happen to be acquainted with a few of the members of the BPMB and know they enjoy celebrating the Mardi Gras season. Wish I would have joined up as a baton twirler or tambourine player. You can bet there will be some serious partying going if you are in the vicinity of any of these fine, fun folks.

We Alaskans love any excuse to get together. We love to eat, entertain, be entertained, enjoy our award winning micro- brew, local wines and mead. We all love to have fun and take advantage of the seasonal out- of- doors opportunities. With all this fun stuff going on, we all need to get out more. No more whining about being sad.

Critters don't seem to be as affected by the seasonal ebbs and flows as humans are. The resident chicken harem the O.F. takes care of couldn't care less about the lack of light and cold. They get food and water twice a day and I save them kitchen scraps as special treats. They get light 24/7 in their deluxe poultry palace. They hang out in their little exercise yard during the day cackling gossip to each other constantly. They roost at night and are happy girls, laying plenty of fresh farm eggs every day.

Mr. Willie dog doesn't change either. He sleeps all day and is happy to hang out with his humans when they are home. Nothing bothers him as long as his kibble and water bowls are full and he gets his daily walks, lots of attention and treats.

We should take a lesson from the chickens and Willie. Sounds like the perfect recipe for a good life. And they both get treats.

In season right now are Meyer lemons. They are a delightful cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange — sweet, thin-skinned, with a bright floral aroma. They are like holding sunshine in your hand. We can even buy them in Homer.

These cookies are bright and tasty, and a much needed pick-me-up from these cold, snowy days. Flecked with bits of Meyer lemon zest and drizzled with lemony-fresh icing, they remind me of summertime. So if you, like me, are in need of some sunlight, make these cookies. My mom would love these, I wish she were closer to share them with.

Iced Meyer Lemon Cookies

Oven 375 degrees

The way my gang loves cookies, I would double this.

Dough

2¼ cups flour

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon baking powder

1 cup butter, softened

¾ cup sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1½ tablespoons finely grated Meyer lemon rind (3 lemons)

Icing

2 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice

1 tablespoon finely grated Meyer lemon rind (2 lemons)

1 cup powdered sugar

Mix butter on high speed until fluffy, then add the sugar and egg. Continue mixing on medium speed adding vanilla extract and 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon rind.

In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Mixing on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the creamed butter mixture until blended, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Gather dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

While the dough is being chilled, juice the lemons you removed the zest from earlier. Add the remaining lemon rind to the powdered sugar, then slowly add the lemon juice. You want the icing to be thick enough to form stripes, but runny enough to drizzle out of a baggie (leave it on the thicker side if you're unsure — you can always add more lemon juice or water).

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees at some point before the dough is done chilling.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator, and using a mini ice-cream scoop, scoop the dough balls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten the cookies with a glass or measuring cup, coating the bottom of the glass or cup with sugar between flattening. The flatter the cookie, the crispier they will be.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until the edges are golden brown. If you want really crispy cookies, don't pull them out of the oven until the edges are really nice and brown. Remove from the oven and transfer to racks to cool completely.

When ready to frost, pour the icing mixture into a plastic baggie. Snip the corner off of the plastic bag and pipe stripes along the cooled cookie tops. Let the icing harden fully before transferring to storage container. The original recipe said it made around 24 cookies, but I made 45 using my mini ice-cream scoop.

Until next time, have fun with the interesting Alaskan winter that we have left. Spring is just around the corner.

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