I knew that this week was going to be a busy one. One top of all the standard preparations that surround Thanksgiving, we were expecting to meet my sister's future in laws who were driving in from several states away to meet our family. Just a little added stress to the mix, at least for my Mom and sister.
With that in mind, I decided not to worry about today's cookie post. Instead, I pulled out a ziploc bag of frozen cookie balls that I prepared months ago and popped into the freezer. I love this technique, it enables me to make up a large batch of cookie dough all at once (including the accompanying mess) and then either cook them immediately or save them and cook them each one at a time even, whenever I feel like a fresh warm cookie. It works wonderfully, especially in certain circumstances such as unexpected company, quick weeknight treats, or just so that you don't find yourself eating an entire double batch of cookies in one day.
These cookies are soft and almost cakey with a delicious hit of lemon, and for this batch I combined lemon and lime zest together. If you don't flatten the dough balls (I don't) they stay softer and more cakey, if you prefer them to develop a chewier texture, flatten down the each cookie before baking it as the recipe instructs. The original recipe calls for a glaze which I have occasionally used, but I most often serve them plain. The glaze adds further depth to the lemon flavor since it is bound together with lemon juice instead of your typical milk. A soft, mildly sweet cookie that is delicious any season, whether it is alongside a cup of hot tea on a cold snowy day or a glass of iced tea under an umbrella in the sun.
For freezing directions (and this is applicable to most drop style cookies, I especially like to do this with Chocolate Chip Cookies):
Scoop out balls of dough to the desired size (1 tablespoon for smaller cookies, 2 tablespoons for larger ones) and space them out very closely together on a cookie sheet so that they are nearly but not quite touching. Place the tray in the freezer and leave until the balls are frozen solid. After they are completely frozen, remove them and place them all in a freezer safe container, either a sealed bag or bin. When you are ready to bake your cookies, remove the desired number from the freezer and place them on the cookie sheet spaced apart with enough room so that they may spread. Leave the tray out until the cookies balls are mostly defrosted while you are preheating the oven. Bake according to original recipe's instructions, being prepared to bake them slightly longer if they are not entirely defrosted. Enjoy fresh, warm, homemade goodies whenever you like. Restock freezer as necessary so that you don't ever run out. You never know when you need a cookie in a hurry.
Lemon-Frosted Sugar Cookies
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup Butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
To prepare cookies, beat granulated sugar and butter in a large bowl at medium speed of a mixer until well-blended (about 4 minutes). Add eggs and next 4 ingredients (egg through 1 teaspoon vanilla), beating well. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (flour through salt). Add flour mixture to sugar mixture, stirring well. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap; chill 4 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 400°.
Using a 1 TB cookie scoop dip scoop into a small bowl with some extra flour. Shake off the flour and scoop out a level TB of dough. Release dough onto cookie sheet and using a floured hand or bottom of a cup press firmly on the ball to flatten. Place cookies two inches apart. Bake at 400° for 8 minutes or until golden. Immediately remove cookies from pans using a wide spatula, and cool on wire rack.
To prepare icing, combine powdered sugar, lemon juice, and 1/4 tsp vanilla. Stir in food coloring, if desired. Spread about 2 tsp of the icing over each cookie, or place icing in a small zip-top plastic bag. Snip a tiny hole in one corner, and drizzle icing over cookies. Sprinkle with assorted sugar sprinkles, if desired.
Be sure and check out the rest of the cookies for Week 9 of the Twelve Weeks of Christmas Cookies: