Let the holiday baking begin! I certainly started mine off on the wrong foot yesterday evening when I got (really!) distracted and left the flour, baking powder, and salt out of today’s recipe… As you can imagine, my cookies melted into a puddle in the oven. I’m always one to try, try again, though, so I gave the recipe another shot this morning. Success!
Cream Cheese-Lemon Rings (originally Cream Cheese-Lemon Bows)
Makes about 6 dozen 2-inch rings
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature (light – not nonfat – is fine if that’s what you have)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons lemon zest, finely chopped (mine was grated with a microplane grater)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder (I used a scant teaspoon as a high-altitude adjustment)
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
Confectioners’ sugar, for sprinkling
Put butter and cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until creamy. Mix in granulated sugar. Add egg, lemon zest, and lemon juice; mix well. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl; mix into butter mixture on low speed.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Place a small amount of the dough in a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip. Holding tip very close to the surface, pipe 2-inch rings onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper; space 1 inch apart. Gently push down any peaks in the piped dough. Refill pastry bag as needed with remaining dough. Bake cookies until golden brown on bottom, about 10 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks, and sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 3 days.
Source: Martha Stewart’s Holiday Cookies 2005 (My version is slightly modified for technique and baking time.)
What a great cookie! I’m especially excited that the recipe worked at high altitude with only one minor modification (the scant teaspoon of baking powder instead of a whole, and I’m not sure the change was even necessary). The dough really doesn’t expand much. The flavor of the cookie is wonderful; it isn’t too sweet, even with the confectioners’ sugar sprinkling, and you definitely get the citrus from the lemon (though it isn’t overpowering). The texture is somewhere between a sugar cookie and shortbread – crisp, but not dry – and I think these cookies would stand up well when transported (perfect for a cookie exchange).
The only downside to the recipe is that it does take some time and effort to pipe the cookies; the dough is pretty firm, so it’s a bit of a workout. I tried putting the dough in a cookie press after reading a comment on the original recipe, but that was a grand failure. The upside to piping is you can do pretty much whatever shape you want. I tried bows (per the original recipe), rings, squiggles, hearts, and spirals, but liked the rings the best. If you try a different shape or size, just be sure to watch them in the oven. I burnt the heck out of my first batch because I left my 2-inch cookies in for the 12 minutes recommended in the original recipe; that baking time was intended for 3 1/2-inch cookies.
Recipe link: Cream Cheese-Lemon Bows