December 22, 2005
Cookies! (Pignoli and Lemon Wedges to be Specific)

In the post about the dessert I served at a recent dinner party, I gave you the recipe for the pomegranate granita and pointed you to the recipe for the rosemary shortbread we served with it.

There were two more cookies in that dessert and they both came from the very first cookbook I ever bought for myself - a paperback classic now out of print called 365 Great Cookies and Brownies by Joanne Lamb Hayes and Bonnie Tandy LeBlang. It was $5.99 when I bought it back in 2000 and approaches cookies in a no-nonsense way. Get this stuff, do this to it, bake for this long, eat.

I've made many of the recipes in this book, and I think it's a great resource for anyone who likes cookies. That's a heck of a lot of people.

I reproduce the recipes for the pignoli and the lemon bites (which we made into thin lemon wedges) here. If you can find a copy of the book in a used bookstore, pick it up. Your dentist will thank you.

Pignoli from a recipe by Joanne Lamb Hayes and Bonnie Tandy LeBlang

1 cup pine nuts
2 sticks (1/2 cup) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spread the pine nuts out on a cookie sheet and bake two to three minutes. Shake the pan, and put it back in for two to three more minutes so the nuts are nice and toasty.

In a medium bowl beat the sugar and butter together until "light and fluffy". Beat in the egg, vanilla, and lemon juice.

Add flour to the mix slowly and beat until blended well. Stir in the pignoli. Cover and refrigerate for one hour until firm.

Preheat oven to 300 F. Drop batter onto greased cookie sheet (or a Silpat or a sheet of parchment on a cookie sheet). Bake 20-25 minutes until edges start to brown. Remove to a rack and cool completely.

Lemon Wedges from a recipe by Joanne Lamb Hayes and Bonnie Tandy LeBlang

1 stick softened butter (8 tablespoons)
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons AP flour
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Juice of one lemon (about 3 tablespoons)

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large bowl, beat butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer on high speed until fluffy. Stir in 1 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, ad lemon extract. Press dough into an ungrased 9" round cake pan, leveling surface. Bake 20 minutes.

In the same bowl, beat the eggs until light and fluffy. In a small bowl stir together 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, and baking powder. Add to eggs and beat until blended. Stir in the lemon juice and remaining zest.

Pour the egg-sugar mix over the warm crust and return it to the oven. Bake 20-25 minutes or until set. Remove pan to a rack and let it cool completely in the pan.

Run a knife around the outside of the pan and invert. If it doesnt come out easily (and it won't), whack the bottom of the pan or use the "gravity-assist" method of holding the pan flat about 10 inches from the surface you wish to turn it out on and dropping it.

Cut into 16 or 32 wedges (first 4, then cut those in half to get 8, then cut those to get 16...). You should get long, thin wedges. Arrange the wedges in the shape of the original circle on a serving plate, dust with powdered sugar and serve.

Posted by Barrett in Maryland at December 22, 2005 6:55 AM | TrackBack Print-friendly version
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