17 January 2011

lemon & lavender sugar cookies

I have most definitely been meaning to post this ringer since, uhmm, before the holidays (derp!). It suits my all-encompassing obsession with all things lavender these days. It is getting pretty silly, honestly. It matches my lavender-mint tea tree shampoo and conditioner, hippy-dippy lavender shea body wash, fancy lavender tea, and my most recent -- and probably most ridiculous find: lavender lattes right up the street at the cupcake bakery and cafe! Selling point: the syrup is purple, and really, who doesn't want to try a latte that's purple?! Oh yeah, and I'm pretty danged sure my new lotion that my super-thoughtful sister-in-law got for me is lavender-chamomile-vanilla-rose-delightfulness. She and I probably agree about 75-90% of the time, so it doesn't surprise me that she picked out something that I'm so in love with. In fact, given her recommendation, I've become a pretty big fan of Lush products in general (even on facebook; then I must really mean it). It makes me feel quality.

Right, so yes, COOKIES. Here's the scoop: The recipe comes from the Nov/Dec 2010 edition of Cook's Illustrated for 'Chewy Sugar Cookies', and the lemon and lavender idea comes from their Holiday 2009 special edition, under 'Glazed Butter Cookies'. The butter cookies kind of freaked me out (so. much. butter!), and the sugar cookies looked really pretty with a perfect crackle texture on top, so I went with it.

2 1/4 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. sugar, plus 1/3 c. for rolling
2 oz. cream cheese, cut into 8 pieces
6 T. unsalted butter, melted and still warm
1/3 c. veggie oil
1 large egg
1 T. milk
1 t. vanilla extract
1 t. lemon juice
2 t. grated lemon zest
1 t. ground dried lavender (cheap-cheap in bulk spice as dried flowers -- makes your pantry smell awesome! Mash 'em up with a mortar and pestle, or the MacGuyver way, with the butt end of the ice cream scoop in a small bowl. Nobody judges a person who puts flowers in their cookies!)

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 F. Line two large rimmed cookie sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, and slat together in a medium bowl. Set aside.

2. Place 1 1/2 c. sugar, cream cheese, anad lavender in a lage bowl. Place remaining 1/3 c. sugar along with the lemon zest in a shallow baking dish or pie plate and set aside. Pour warm butter over sugar and cream cheese and whisk to combine (some small lumps of cream cheese will remain but will smooth out later). Whisk in the oil until incorporated. Add egg, milk, lemon juice, and vanilla, continue to whisk until smooth. Add flour mixture and mix with rubber spatula until soft homogeneous dough forms.

3. Take 2 T. of dough at a time. Using hands, roll dough into a ball. Roll the ball in the zest/sugar mix to coat and evenly space onto prepared baking sheet. There will be 12 balls per sheet (no joke!).

4. Here comes the fun part! Using the bottom of a drinking glass (a juice glass is perfect for this), flatten the dough balls until they are two inches in diameter. Fix any massive cracks in the dough, then sprinkle with any leftover zest/sugar mix.

5. Bake until edges are set and just beginning to brown, 11 to 13 minutes, rotating the trays halfway (switch racks plus a 180 degree turn). Cool cookies on baking sheets 5 minutes. Using wide metal spatula, transfer cookies to wire rack and cool to room temperature.

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