Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Meyer Lemon Cookies

When I found out that The Daily Meal was having a recipe contest featuring Country Crock spread, I figured I'd throw my hat into the ring. And of course I went with a baked item.

Here's the deal. I live at high altitude and baking can sometimes be finicky. Cookies sometimes spread too much, particularly those with a lot of butter. To thwart that, I sometimes add vegetable shortening to cookies, but that stuff doesn't add any flavor to the party. I figured that County Crock would be fun to work with.

I decided to use Meyer lemon in these cookies, but they'd be great with any citrus you like, or skip the citrus and add vanilla instead.

For Easter, you could add a drop of food coloring to tint the cookies or shape them into egg shapes. Drizzle with a little icing or chocolate, if you like. The basic cookie is a blank slate, so adapt it any way you like.

These cookies are crisp with a little chew. Don't overbake them, or they can get hard ... but then they're pretty good dipped into coffee or tea.

Meyer Lemon Cookies

2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup Country Crock spread
1 1/4 cups sugar
Zest and juice from 1 Meyer lemon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and set aside.

Beat the Country Crock spread, sugar, Meyer lemon zest, and Meyer lemon juice at medium speed in a medium bowl with an electric mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat for a few minutes, until the mixture is fluffy.

Add the flour mixture in several additions (this helps keep it from flying around the kitchen when you start the mixer), beating just enough to blend it well.

Use a small scoop to form balls of dough, and place them on the baking sheets, leaving room between them to spread. I put 12 cookies on each of two sheet and had enough dough left for another 6 cookies, but it depends on how big you make your cookies. Flatten the cookies with the palm of your hand.

Bake at 350 degrees until the cookies are very slightly browned, about 16 minutes - don't overcook them. If you're baking 2 sheets of cookies at a time, you'll probably want to swap them around after about 10 minutes of baking.

Remove the cookies from the sheets and let them cool completely on a rack. Continue forming and baking cookies until all the dough is used.