ForneyLife

Tips for Christmas Cookie Baking & Lemon Egg Cookie Recipe

Posted in House and Home, Recipes by Sarah on December 7, 2009

I found a wonderful and timely article on NPR by a woman who had a nearly identical Christmas cookie extravaganza experience growing up with her mom.    The full article can be found here:  http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=98204493 and I highly recommend it (turns out we’re not the only ones who store all the cookies in the basement!).

The article contains baking & storing tips with the special needs of storing frozen cookies in mind.  It also includes a tasty sounding recipe that has been in her family for over 40 years!  I’d like to try my hand at it this coming weekend – who knows, maybe it will become another Forney Family Christmas cookie!

Tips for Baking & Storing

Before baking, make sure you have all requisite ingredients as well as baking utensils, pans and parchment paper.  It’s best to use the exact ingredients specified in a recipe rather than make substitutions that can adversely affect both texture and flavor.

• In general, cookie dough should be mixed by hand or with an electric hand mixer. Avoid overmixing the dough, which can lead to tough cookies.  Stir in ingredients such as chocolate chips, nuts and dried fruits by hand.

• Use sturdy, aluminum baking sheets with or without a rim.  Rather than greasing sheets, line them with parchment paper.  This helps the cookies bake more evenly, makes it easier to slide them onto a cooling rack and allows for quick cleanup

• Always preheat the oven and space cookies at least 2 inches apart

• Bake one sheet of cookies at a time, which allows the oven’s heat to circulate evenly and prevents cookies from becoming too browned on the bottom. If you must bake more than one sheet at a time, then place sheets in the top and bottom thirds of the oven and rotate midway through. Never place cookies on a hot baking sheet, as they will spread; either let the sheet cool or run it under cold water before re-using it

• If cookies spread too much, chill the remaining cookie dough in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes before baking

• Unless otherwise noted, transfer cookies immediately to a cooling rack. Just slide the parchment paper with the cookies on it directly onto the rack. Cookies will firm up a bit as they cool. Allow them to cool completely before frosting

Storing and freezing cookies:

• Make sure cookies are cooled completely before storing.  Metal tins keep cookies crisper and firmer than plastic containers.  Use the same storing principles when giving gifts of cookies. Festive decorative tins are both attractive and practical

• Store soft cookies like macaroons in a separate container from hard cookies like biscotti. Otherwise, you’ll end up with all soft cookies

• Layer cookies between sheets of waxed or parchment paper to maintain freshness and to prevent them from sticking together. Sturdy cookies such as biscotti can be stored without the paper.

• Most types of cookie dough can be frozen raw then baked later, though drier cookie dough, such as shortbread, freezes better. Place formed cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze until firm, about 1 hour. Place cookies in a freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. There is no need to thaw them; just add a few minutes to the baking time.

• To freeze baked cookies, place them in single layers separated by sheets of waxed or parchment paper and store in a freezer-proof, air-tight container. Baked cookies can be frozen for up to 6 months and should be defrosted on the countertop before serving.

Lemon Egg Cookies

Dough Ingredients
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons lemon extract
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
Lemon Icing
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon extract
  • A few drops of whole milk
  • Colored candy sprinkles (optional)
Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees, and position a rack in the center of the oven.  Line four large cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

In a small bowl, lightly whisk eggs, lemon extract, oil and milk.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Using a rubber spatula, mix until a dough starts to form. Using your hands, lightly squeeze and knead the dough. If it seems a bit dry, then add 1 teaspoon of milk at a time until it reaches desired consistency. The dough should be somewhat sticky and elastic.

Scoop 1 tablespoon of cookie dough and roll between your palms until a smooth ball forms. Place the balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet 2 inches apart.

Bake cookies for 15 to 20 minutes, or until lightly browned on the bottoms. The tops will be white but cooked through. Transfer to a rack and cool completely before frosting.

To make the icing, whisk the confectioners’ sugar and the lemon extract in a small bowl. Add a few drops of milk and continue whisking until the icing is smooth and opaque and clings to the back of a spoon. Taste and add more lemon extract, if desired. When it’s ready, pour icing through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any tiny clumps of confectioners’ sugar.

For easy cleanup, place a sheet of parchment paper under a cookie rack before icing cookies. Dip the top of the cookie in the icing, then place on the rack. Decorate with colored candy sprinkles, if desired. Allow to dry completely before storing in an airtight tin or plastic container. Properly stored, cookies should last seven to 10 days.

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