Monday, March 29, 2010

Lemon-Cardamon-Buttermilk Cookies

...with lemon-buttermilk-vanilla glaze.

Dang, those just sound good, don't they? They do to me, anyway. Because I really, really like cardamom. (And they are good. I highly recommend that you try them.)

Basically this is a slight modification of the Buttermilk Cardamom Cookie recipe I found over on Sugarcrafter. As I mentioned in the previous post, I misread the recipe and thought they were lemon-buttermilk-cardamom cookies, and as a result, ended up with several pounds of Meyer lemons, one or two of which I ended up using in the recipe. I also used powdered buttermilk, instead of liquid for this recipe, including the glaze. Oh, and speaking of buttermilk, here's my understanding of it: buttermilk- the real kind- is the liquid that separates from the solid when you're making butter. It's not sour at all, like the stuff you buy in the carton at the store. That stuff is, as I understand it, cultured skim milk (I'm not exactly sure what kind of culture it is, though). And the powdered buttermilk is basically just that- the real buttermilk in powdered form. I haven't really used it a lot in baking or cooking, so I don't know how it compares to the liquid stuff, but I plan to use it a lot more whenever a recipe calls for the liquid kind, as it keeps for a whole lot longer. Most of the time when I've used the liquid stuff in the past, I end up throwing half of it out due to it being past the expiration date. Anyway, let's make some cookies!

Over on Sugarcrafter, she wrote that several people told her, “These are…different.” Now, when people say that I take it to mean that they don't like what they're eating, but they don't exactly dislike it, either. Mostly they're just not sure what to make of it. I haven't tried the recipe in it's exact original form, only my modified version, and I have to say, these are different, but in a really good way. I really, really like these cookies, and will definitely make them again (maybe even today or tomorrow) and would make them for friends too. They are, as SC says, 'soft and fluffy, almost cake-like,' which I didn't think I'd like at first because I prefer my cookies a little more crumbly, but after the first cookie, I really got hooked on them. They reminded me of some sort of fast food/gas station type of coffee cake pastry, only better, which led me to later try a sprinkling of cinnamon on top. The result? Success! (Makes me feel a little better about having forgotten the candy sprinkles.)

Here's the original recipe-

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup Butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp buttermilk

Vanilla glaze:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 Tbsp buttermilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

My main modification to the cookie part was that I increased the amount of cardamom. I just eyeballed it, but I think it was about 1 1/4- 1 1/2 t, and of course, the powdered buttermilk and Meyer lemon juice- so instead of 5 T liquid buttermilk, I used 1 T powdered + 1/4 c. Meyer juice, + 1 T water (I'm sure 5 T juice would've been fine, but since it was my first time making it, and using Meyers in general, I wanted to be a little careful. Looking back, it's not like 1 T is going to push things overboard, I know).
For the glaze, it just seemed like way too much for the amount of cookies, so I cut it in half. And in reality, if you make the glaze using the amounts in the original recipe, you will have a whole lot left over- but that's not a bad thing at all, since I found myself using what little glaze I had leftover to dunk my cookies in, all the while wishing I hadn't halved the recipe. So I don't recommend cutting it in half. But I did, and here's kind of how it went-

1c powdered sugar
1t powdered buttermilk
1 1/2T Meyer lemon juice
1t double-strength vanilla extract

You might be thinking that a whole teaspoon of double-strength vanilla could be too much for a half-order of the glaze recipe. You might be right. It's not that the vanilla flavor was too strong- I love that flavor- but the alcohol part of it was a little too strong. Don't get me wrong, I like my alcohol too, but it didn't really work in this case. So I had to do a little bit of reworking- not a problem really, I think this is where I'm best- adding and tasting, and adding again until it tastes the way I want it to. But of course that makes it hard to come up with an actual recipe to post somewhere or share with friends, since I don't really measure any of it out. I think I ended up adding about another tablespoon of buttermilk powder, and the juice of a whole Meyer. Possibly a little more powdered sugar too, I can't remember. But anyway, here's the thing- it's super easy to make and hard to mess up. Skip the actual recipe- just use it as a guideline:

Powdered sugar
Powdered buttermilk
Meyer lemon juice
Vanilla extract

Mix it all up in whatever proportion tastes right to you. That's generally how I do it, and that's what I plan on doing next time. One thing to note, and you can kind of see this in the photo, is that the powdered buttermilk, being sort of an off-white color, has the unfortunate effect of making the glaze look like a glaze of a whole different kind. It's especially bad when you have it all over your fingers after swirling your cookie in a plate of leftover glaze, but try and overlook this when you're eating these cookies.

By the way, here's a recap with my changes, along with the rest of the recipe:
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup Butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/4-1 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp powdered buttermilk + 5 T Meyer lemon juice

Cream the butter and sugar together.
Add in the egg.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cardamom, and salt.
Add the buttermilk and flour mixture to the butter mixture gradually.

Drop on a lightly greased baking sheet and bake on 375 F for about 10-12 minutes, then let cool on a rack before adding the glaze/sprinkles (don't forget to try them with a dusting of cinnamon!)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Oh My(er)...

All I wanted was a lemon. Just one. Just a regular one. It was for a lemon-cardamom cookie recipe that I'd found that I wanted to try out (Oh, and cardamom? I love that shit! I only recently started using it, but I now use it a lot. Got a couple cool recipes using it that I plan on posting on here, too). So today on my way home from a short jog, I stopped in the little grocery store around the corner from my house and as I was walking by the 'Reduced for quick sale' cart that was right across from the regular lemons, all it took was a split-second glance-

"Holy crap, are those Meyers? In the 'Reduced for quick sale' cart?" Why, yes. Yes they were Meyer lemons. Several bags of them, with several lemons each (7, I found out later) all for the unbelievable price of 79 cents per bag. I grabbed 3 bags right up without a thought. It's not like I needed them. But for that price, I wasn't going to turn them down. No way. Especially not after I bought over 2 kilos a couple weeks ago at another grocery store because they were clearly marked as being 99 cents/lb. but when I looked at my receipt the following week, after I had already cut them all up for preserved lemons, I found out that I actually paid $3.99/lb. Which was an average price, I guess, but I probably wouldn't have bought so much if I'd known that. Anyway, I've been really getting into preserved lemons a lot lately. They're all the rage these days. Haven't had a chance to try any of them out yet, but I've been making a lot of them. I already have a couple 'regular' jars-

...and a single jar of the spiced kind, plus two jars of preserved myers. Now I have about 20 more Myers that I need to use. No hay problema, I'll figure something out. Probably preserve them (in a big-ass pitcher, since I'm out of jars).

The funny part of this all is that if I'd actually read that cardamom-lemon cookie recipe at some point before leaving the house today, I'd have seen that it didn't even call for lemons- because it was actually for buttermilk-cardamom cookies! Well, I actually did read it (awhile ago) and she mentions lemon flavor a few times in it- from the buttermilk- so I guess I just remembered it wrong when it came time to go to the store. So, big oversight on my part results in big Meyer lemon windfall, yay! Here's the recipe that I used for the buttermilk-cardamom-lemon cookies. I modified mine slightly- added more cardamom, (because I love that shit!) used powdered buttermilk instead of the liquid kind, but also Meyer lemon juice instead of just plain water for rehydrating the the buttermilk powder. Also used Meyer lemon juice in the glaze. Haven't tried them yet. I'll report back here when I do.