Saturday, March 09, 2019

Remembering Phyllis with Lemon Cookies

Phyllis Welsh was a lady, a kind and thoughtful woman, a diehard Giant's fan, a bit of a mischief maker now and then, and my friend, as well as a P.E.O. sister. She is gone now, after a brief illness.

This coming Wednesday we will gather to remember her, along with her family, and along with friends from the Model T Club that she and her husband started, along with friends from her church and along with neighbors and many others. She loved to entertain and people were drawn to her love of people and of life.

For the gathering I'm bringing cookies. The star shape is one of the shapes of P.E.O. so the cookies are stars. P.E.O. is a 150 year old group that raises funds for scholarships for women. There are chapters all over the U.S. and Canada and Phyllis was probably the member who most embodied our goals and aspirations for ourselves. I will miss her a lot and I know there are many others who will, too.

You may want to try these delicious cookies. They are plain rolled cookies but the lemon adds a bright note to them, perfect for the return of daylight savings time. That's right, time to set our clocks forward when we go to bed tonight if you live in most of the U.S.

Meyer lemons are wonderful for this cookies, but regular lemons you find at the market are fine, too. In a pinch, you can use lemon extract.

This recipe is one that my mother got from an old friend of the family, Irene Johnston. The cookies are simple and not too sweet. With the addition of Meyer lemon zest and juice they have some zing. Irene’s recipe didn’t have the salt and had nutmeg instead of the vanilla extract. Adding the lemon was my idea. Bake just until the outer edges of the cookie begin to brown for the best cookies. For these stars that meant when the tips of the stars were just beginning to brown a little.

You can use any shape cutter you like and you can decorate them any way you like, but this lemon glaze is easy and adds another kick of lemon.

The dough is usually pretty easy to roll out. If the dough seems too crumbly, add a little bit (1-2 tablespoons) of milk. If it's too sticky to roll out, try chilling it first.

Meyer Lemon Sugar Cookies
by Irene Johnston

1 cup butter or margarine
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
Mix the above ingredients together until creamy.
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
zest from ½ a medium Meyer lemon (or use regular lemon…it’s delish, too)

Mix the flour, baking soda, salt and zest together. Combine with the butter mixture. If too dry, add mile, one tablespoon at a time until dough forms.

Roll the dough to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut with cookie cutters. Place unbaked cookies on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees F. until lightly browned, about 6-7 minutes. (If dough sticks while rolling, refrigerate briefly). Remove from oven when done, cool on baking sheet a minute, then cool on cake rack until fully cooled.

After cookies have cooled, can be frosted and decorated as desired.

Meyer Lemon Glaze
Zest from ½ a lemon
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
juice from Meyer lemon, heated for one minute in the microwave

Place zest and confectioners’ sugar in a bowl. Whisk in a little of the lemon juice. Add dribbles of the juice until a glaze is formed. If too thin, add a little more sugar; if too thick whisk in more lemon juice. Reserve left over juice for another use.

Using small offset spatula, ice tops of each cookie. Set on cake rack to dry.

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