Thursday, June 10, 2010
Lemon Poppy seed Cookies
Lemons and poppy seeds are a quintessentially classic combination, but only for muffins, cakes, breads - that sort of thing. The poor cookie category seemed woefully neglected. Why? Why on earth would two such wonderful companions fail to enter into the cookie realm?
But guess what? I found a cookie that brings lemons and poppy seeds into pure, crunchy, cookie bliss.
Usually I'm not a crunchy cookie fan, and I admit that these cookies took me a while to warm up to, because they are very crunchy. Wafer-thin and crispy, these lemony cookies were a far cry from the chewy cookies that I normally prefer, but as I sat munching one, I thought about it: if these cookies were chewy, it would be weird. The delicate crunch works well with the tangy, dainty flavor of these cookies, and a heartier "chew" would just throw all of that off.
When I started this recipe, the first step really intrigued me. It involved reducing 1/4 cup of lemon juice in a pan and then adding 1 stick of butter. This gave the cookies a really intense lemon flavor. Side note: despite two wonderful things (lemons and butter), don't be tempted to taste this. It's really gross. I'll let you guess how I figured this part out...
Aside from the reduction step, the rest of the recipe is a pretty straightforward cookie recipe - cream the remaining butter with the sugar, add egg and lemon butter mixture, add vanilla and zest, and then the dry ingredients and poppy seeds. I found that the dough was really loose, but it made for good cookies still, so don't worry if it looks more like a cross between cookie and cake batter than cookie dough.
And tah dah! Beautiful, lemon poppy seed cookies! But can you tell from this picture what I forgot? I was such an eager beaver to get these babies in the oven that I didn't sprinkle poppy seeds on top - doh! I remembered for the last batch, but the rest of the cookies were woefully naked.
Print This Recipe
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, plus 3 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest (2 to 3 lemons)
2 sticks unsalted butter (8 ounces)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon poppy seeds, plus more for sprinkling
1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Bring lemon juice to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat; cook until reduced by half. Add 1 stick of butter; stir until melted.
2. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, cream remaining stick of butter and 1 cup of sugar on medium speed. Mix in egg and lemon butter. Mix until pale, about 3 minutes. Mix in vanilla and 2 teaspoons zest. Mix in flour mixture and poppy seeds.
3. Stir together remaining 1/2 cup sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons zest. Roll spoonfuls of dough into 1 1/2-inch balls; roll them in sugar mixture. Place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Press each with the flat end of a glass dipped in sugar mixture until 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle with poppy seeds. (I found that 1-inch balls worked better than 1 1/2-inch. The cookies baked more evenly that way)
4. Bake until just browned around bottom edges, 10 to 11 minutes. Transfer to wire racks; let cool completely.