Friday, June 25, 2010

The way you squeeze my lemon

I love lemon pastries of all kinds. It surprised me to see no basic lemon cookie recipe online or in my favorite cookbooks. So I had to take matters into my own hands. I knew it had to be done, but I had to do it right. Lemon had to find its soul mate - - the blueberry. But it needed something more. Here was an excuse to use the vanilla sugar that makes me feel extra bad ass in a magical way. And there is something about the zest and zing of lemon followed by a mellow roundness in the vanilla. Throw in blueberries and you can call it a nutritional supplement, right? A fruit bar if you will. I'd like to think so.

Lemon Vanilla Cookies with Blueberries

  • 1 1/2 cups + 2/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar or vanilla sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup liquid sweetener (agave or maple syrup is best)
  • 3 tablespoons nondairy milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/2 vanilla bean pod, seeds scraped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract
  • 1 medium lemon, zested
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup blueberry preserves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a medium to large bowl combine all the flour, baking soda and salt. Whisk to get everything incorporated nicely.

In a separate large bowl whisk together oil and sugar until thoroughly mixed. Stir in liquid sweetener, vanilla and lemon extracts, nondairy milk, and lemon zest. Mix these ingredients together, then slowly sift/stir in the dry ingredients. Use your hands to get a dough to form. Avoid overworking the dough.

Next take small portions of the dough and roll into walnut sized balls. You can make them bigger but this size usually yields about 20 cookies. Gently press cookie between your palms and fingers to form little disks. Push a small dimple in the center and add 1/2 teaspoon or so of blueberry preserves.

Place on parchment paper lined cookie sheets and bake for 10 to 13 minutes, depending on your oven, or until the edges turn a faint golden brown. For a softer cookie with a chewy edge, bake for about 10-11 minutes. Allow a few minutes for cookies to cool before removing from sheet pan, then transfer to wire cooling rack and allow to completely cool.


Don't peek while the cookies are baking. Go find something else to do. Update your Twitter status or something.

If possible, invest in a nice micro-plane grater. They are super awesome and can be used for all kinds of stuff. They zest lemons like nothing else and are usually under $18.

If you can get a hold of real vanilla bean pods, try making your own vanilla sugar. Just split a vanilla bean down the middle and toss everything in a glass jar with some sugar then shake up the jar. The pod will eventually infuse the amazing aroma and flavor of vanilla throughout the sugar. The vanilla pod can stay in the jar for a long time and be recycled to infuse a few batches.
It's one of the quickest way to feeling fancy and gourmet when making desserts. I mean really, how many of your friends are making their own vanilla sugar? Exactly. Indulge them. They will love you for your mad baking skillz.

Thanks to Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World for the inspiration now in cookie form.

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