day 1: martha’s lemon wreaths

I don’t normally do involved recipes.

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Three steps? Fine.

Four? Sure.

Five? Pushing it.

But this is the 12 days of Bakemas here at RDG. So I have to pull out all the stops, people.

Let this serve as fair warning: this is an involved recipe.

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Leave it to Martha to make things complicated. But my oh my, is it worth it. You’ve never had tastier lemon cookies.

And if you have, don’t tell Ms. Stewart.

I am the laziest cook on the planet, so if I can do it, you can do it.

Let’s begin.

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For dry ingredients you’ll need flour, coarse salt, and baking powdah.

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And sugar. Oh boy do you need sugar. Granulated, powdered, and raw*, please.

*The raw is for decorating. So if you’ve got some sprinkles, fancy sparkly colored sugar, or chopped nuts you feel like stickin on top of the cookies, by all means omit the raw sugar.

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Now for the good stuff. Two sticks of unsalted butter (room temperature), vanilla extract, three eggies, and four large lemons or six small ones.

Got all that? Sweet.

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Stick three cups of flour, a teaspoon of baking powder, and a teaspoon and a quarter of coarse salt in a mixing bowl. Mix it on up, baby.

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Grate one tablespoon plus one teaspoon of lemon zest. I used small lemons and I zested two of ’em.

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Toss the zest in a food processor with 2/3 cup of granulated sugar.

Pulse for a few minutes until it’s nice and combined.

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Poof! Lemon sugar.

Now, then…

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…lop those lovely little lemons in half.

And if you can figure out how I could have said that sentence with more l-words, you win a Lamborghini.

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Juice ’em. Juice ’em real good.

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Cube the butter and throw it in the mixer. And I mean throw it. There is nothing funner to throw than butter.

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Toss in the lemon sugar…

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…and cream until it’s nice n’ fluffy.

Okay, not fluffy. The stuff’s not gonna look like a friggin bunny rabbit. But you know, combined evenly.

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Add the eggs, one at a time, and try to take a picture of the blade spinning around and around without getting dizzy.

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Add one teaspoon vanilla…

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…and one teaspoon of the lemon juice.

Now here’s where it gets good.

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Add the flour mixture a little bit at a time. Slow ‘n steady wins the race when adding flour, my friends.

Think tortoises.

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At the end it should look something like this. Dough-like.

If not–for instance, if you suddenly find ground beef in your mixing bowl–something has gone terribly awry.

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Scoop out a spoonful of that beautiful lemony dough onto a floured surface. Martha says to do it a tablespoon at a time to make 6 dozen cookies.

Yep, 72 cookies. Rolled out and shaped by hand. And then baked. And then glazed. And then decorated. 72.

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Yeah, ummm…that’s not going to work for me. So I made giant versions. I rolled out about three tablespoons of dough at a time…

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Into strips about 6-7 inches long*. Now’s the time to line your baking sheets with parchment paper.

*If you want to do it Martha’s way, roll out one tablespoon at a time into 4-inch strips.

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I ended up with two dozen. Much more manageable. And easier. And lazier.

Toss em’ in a 350 degree oven, one sheet at a time, for about 18 minutes.

While those are baking, let’s make some glaze, shall we?

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Throw three cups of powdered sugar in a mixing bowl. Add the remainder of the lemon juice, or 7-8 tablespoons.

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Mix it on up, sugar.

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Bee-youtiful.

You should probably lick the wisk, just to make sure it’s not poisonous.

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Alrighty. By now those cookies should be ready to go. Pull em’ out of the oven and them cool off for a spell.

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Meanwhile, pour your glaze into a shallow dish. It’s better for dippin, my dears.

I don’t see any lemon seeds in there, do you? *Whistles*

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Bust out some of that raw sugar (Martha wants you to use nonpareils, but I don’t like the taste of ’em, so I went a different route. Feel free to use whatever tickles your cookie-decorating fancy).

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Dip the top half of each cookie in the glaze and set on a rack (or back on your parchment paper) to let dry.

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Hello, gorgeous.

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Before the glaze dries, sprinkle each cookie with a few pinches of raw sugar, or whatever you’ve chosen to decorate these little beauties with.

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Oh my.

Let the glaze dry for an hour or two before you transfer them to an airtight container.

Or eat them all in one fell swoop.

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Oh. My. Goodness.

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These wreaths are bee-youtiful.

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Although “wreaths” is a relative term for me. My batch looked more like mis-shapen doughnuts.

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But boy were they tasty.

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And delicious. The cookie has a dense, shortbread-esque quality, the glaze is tangy, and the extra pinch of sugar on top gave it a tiny bit of crunch.

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Martha, you do dang fine work. And although my cookies will never look as perfect as yours, a gal can try.

Happy 1st day of Bakemas!

-RDG

Lemon Wreaths (from Martha Stewart Living, December 2009, pg. 98)

For the Cookies

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

For the Glaze

  • 3 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 7 to 8 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup nonpareils for decorating (I used raw sugar)

1. Preheat oven to 350. To make the cookies: Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Pulse sugar and lemon zest in a food processor until combined (about 2 minutes).

2. Beat sugar-zest mixture and butter in a mixer on meduim speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and lemon juice. Reduce speed to low. Gradually add flour mixture and beat until combined.

3. Scoop 1 tablespoon dough and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Roll dough into a 4 inch rope. Bring ends together, overlapping slightly, and press together to form a ring. Repeat with remaining dough. Transfer rings to parchment-lined baking sheets about 1 1/2 inches apart as you work. Bake until pale golden on the bottoms and around the edges, about 18 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and let cool.

4. To make the glaze: whisk together confectioner’s sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl until smooth. Dip the top side of each cookie into glaze, letting excess drip off. Return cookies to wire racks, glaze side up, and sprinkle with nonpareil. Let dry completely. Decorated cookies can be stored at room temperature for 3 days.

Comments

  1. You are making my mouth water. They look delicious!

  2. Teresa Morton says:

    Bee-you ti fully done! I love your blog!

  3. “..lop those lovely little lemons lengthwise…” would’ve worked too! =)

    Thanks for the recipe and pics! Will be making this weekend!

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