I am excited to once again be back in baking mode this holiday season and share all the cookies, biscuits, tarts, and other winter deliciousness from my kitchen. This has been the longest hiatus I have had from blogging – turns out planning a wedding, finishing a PhD, and trying to get a job takes a lot of time (or at least mental effort), which kept me away from blogging! But I’m hoping to remedy that this winter, and I would like to begin with some of the cookies I made this weekend for my friends and colleagues at work.
Limoncello is one of my favorite liqueurs, especially from the time when my partner made a bottle for me from scratch a few years ago. And with so many cookies being heavy on the chocolate or nuts this season, a cookie with lemon seemed like a great, light antidote. These cookies are also not too sweet, and are just sweet enough to curb cravings for a light post-meal snack. If you do not have limoncello on hand, you can probably add the zest from another half a lemon or so – you can always taste your dough to figure out if you want a stronger flavor. The dough for these cookies can also be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator or freezer. I love to freeze my cookie dough – it lasts fresher much longer, and it is so easy to slice off a few and get fresh baked cookies in 10 minutes!
Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen
- 2 sticks (8 ounces; 230 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
- Pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 and 1/2 tbsp poppy seeds
- Zest from 1 lemon
- 2 teaspoons limoncello
- Put the butter in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat at medium speed until it is smooth. Add the sifted confectioners’ sugar and beat again until the mixture is smooth and silky. Beat in the egg yolks and vanilla extract and limoncello, followed by the salt and poppy seeds. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour, beating just until it disappears. It is better to underbeat than overbeat at this point; if the flour isn’t fully incorporated, that’s okay just blend in whatever remaining flour needs blending with a rubber spatula.
- Turn the dough out onto a counter, gather it into a ball, and divide it in half. Wrap each piece of dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
- Working on a smooth surface, form each piece of dough into a log. Wrap the logs in plastic and freeze for half an hour. (The dough can be wrapped airtight and kept refrigerated for up to 3 days or stored in the freezer for up to 1 month.)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Then, using a sharp slender knife, slice each log into cookies. (See photo below – you can make the cookies thicker if you’d like; just bake them longer.) Place the cookies on the lined baking sheets, leaving about 1/2 inch (1.5 cm) space between them.
- Bake the cookies for 10 minutes, or until they are set but not browned. These cookies will start browning from the bottom much sooner than the top, so you want to keep an eye. Transfer the cookies to cooling racks to cool to room temperature.
I cannot wait to share the recipes of the other cookies I have been baking. What are your favorite cookies?