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Twink's Treats: Lemon Fresh

Twink's Treats: Lemon Fresh

Spring is officially here, and with it come new beginnings.  The past year has been a tough one for me personally, with challenges, struggles and heartache, but each day I do wake up and believe that something great may happen!  That my friends, is hope.  Spring is a time of hope, freshness and brightness, both with the weather and our spirits. During Easter service, I was again reminded of how even the darkest of times don’t last forever – there are new beginnings, and many blessings right around the corner.  

Our food needs freshness, too.  What personifies freshness more than lemon?  I personally love lemon and use it generously in my cooking.  I don’t think of lemons as sour, but fresh and vibrant. The origin of the lemon is unknown, but it is believed that Christopher Columbus introduced them to the Americas when he brought lemon seeds on his voyages. Nutritionally, lemons are a great source of vitamin C.  Add a little lemon juice to soups, stews, pastas and see just how that little touch adds freshness and lightens up even a heavy dish.  I always squeeze lemon juice on vegetables, such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower and spinach.  Try it – you’ll like it! 

Lemon desserts are spring personified.  One of my family’s favorites are my lemon cookies.  I have nicknamed them “Meg’s Lemon Cookies” in honor of my daughter-in-law, who loves them.  Here’s my version:

Meg’s Lemon Cookies:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened (I use Land O Lakes)
¾ cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure lemon extract (I use McCormick’s)
Zest of one lemon
2 cups all-purpose flour (I always use White Lily)
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400.  Combine butter, sugar, lemon extract and lemon zest with electric mixer until light and fluffy, add eggs and mix well.  Combine flour, baking powder and salt, and add to butter mixture slowly, beating well until all ingredients are mixed, about 2 minutes.  Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place 2 inches apart on ungreased insulated cookie sheet.  Flatten each dough ball with the bottom of a well-greased water glass.  Bake 7-9 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.  Cool on cookie sheet 1 minute, then transfer to wire cooling rack.  Ice with glaze when cool.

Glaze:
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon lemon extract (or more to taste)
2 t. milk or half and half
2 t. water

Mix glaze ingredients together until consistency is right – adding more sugar or liquid.  You may add yellow food coloring to the glaze if you wish.  Glaze cookies, and store tightly covered. Enjoy these cookies with a cup of coffee or hot tea – and see how your day brightens. Lemon works!

Until next time, be kinder than necessary, and make someone’s day brighter with your smile.
-Twink

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