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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Lemon Cake-Mix Cookies

Lemon Cake Mix Cookies

DAY 9: Lemon Cake-Mix Cookies

A soft, lemony, slightly gooey cookie.

We make a similar cookie with a white cake mix that we call Snowball Cookies, but there was just something wrong with calling these “Yellow Snow”- ball Cookies.

This is a great recipe for kids and beginning bakers, as there is minimal measuring. Kids are also great helpers when it comes to rolling things in powdered sugar. Just plan a little extra clean-up time if you let them help with that step.

RECIPE:

Lemon Cake Mix Cookies

Lemon Cake-Mix Cookies

½ cup butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 tsp fresh lemon zest, optional
1 box lemon cake mix
Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.

In a large mixing bowl, combine butter, cream cheese and vanilla. Use an electric mixer to beat until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and lemon zest and then cake mix. Chill dough in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Place about ½ cup powdered sugar in a small bowl. Roll dough into balls (about 1” in diameter) and then roll in powdered sugar. Place on baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes, and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Dust cooled cookies with additional sifted powdered sugar.

Makes 2 ½ – 3 dozen cookies

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Lemon Pillow Cookies

Lemon Pillow Cookies

DAY 10: Lemon Pillow Cookies

Soft and fluffy, like a good pillow. Just lemony. And edible.

A nice break from a season full of chocolate-dipped and candy-topped confections. Think of them as a much needed palate cleanser.

Recipe adapted from Yes to Yum.

RECIPE:

Lemon Pillow Cookies

Lemon Pillow Cookies
———–(adapted from Yes to Yum)

3 ½ cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
4 Tbs sour cream
2 Tbs milk
3 Tbs lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla
zest from one lemon (about 1-2 tsp)
½ cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, sour cream, milk, lemon juice, vanilla and lemon zest. Gradually add flour mixture.

Place ½ cup sugar in a small bowl. Roll cookie dough into 1” balls (or slightly smaller) and roll in sugar. Place on prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 11-­12 minutes, or until the tops are set. These cookies will stay a pale color, even when they are baked through.

Makes 3-4 dozen cookies

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Waffle Week: Lemon Yogurt Waffles

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Desserts in our house usually have to come in both a chocolate and non-chocolate variety. So, alongside our Double Chocolate Waffles, we had these Lemon Yogurt Waffles.

These waffles are a little sweeter than regular waffles (even after I cut the sugar in half from the original recipe), so I don’t think I would want them for breakfast. Little A had no problem eating them anytime of the day, however.

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The waffles are made with plain yogurt and flavored with fresh lemon zest. They have more of a light cake consistency than regular waffles.
The berry sauce was a perfect accompaniment for the sweet lemon taste of the waffles.

For Waffle Tips & Suggestions, click HERE.

RECIPE:

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Lemon Yogurt Waffles
——————(adapted from The Perfect Pantry)

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2-1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
Grated zest of 2 lemons
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, sugar, oil, eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.

Use a ladle or measuring cup to pour batter evenly into hot waffle maker (about 2 scant cups for the 4 small Belgian waffles in my waffle maker). Cook for about 3-5 minutes, or according to directions on your waffle maker. Remove waffles from waffle maker and place on a wire rack (not a plate). Serve immediately or keep warm in a warm oven (very low heat).

Makes 2-3 large Belgian waffles (8-12 small squares)

To freeze: Cool waffles on a wire rack. Place in Ziploc bags and freeze. Reheat individual frozen waffles in a toaster (for crispier edges) or microwave (for a soft waffle).

 

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Creamy Citrus Cheesecake

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For Brian’s birthday a couple of weeks ago we had this wonderful cheesecake. It is a very creamy cheesecake flavored with lemon and orange zest and juice. You can use blood oranges or regular naval oranges. Lime would also be a great flavor, instead of the lemon. The recipe comes from Aimée Bourque, who is the editor of Simple Bites and author of the blog Under the High Chair.

The original recipe did not have you bake the cheesecake in a water bath, but I did because I think it helps the cheesecake cook more uniformly, and reduces cracks on the top of the cheesecake. To prepare your pan for a waterbath, wrap the springform pan in a double layer of foil. Or: this time I did one layer of foil and then put the pan in an oven-safe bag (the kind used for roasting turkeys). Place wrapped pan in a larger roasting pan and add hot, almost boiling, water to the roasting pan to a level about halfway up the outside of the springform pan.

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If you are nervous about moving a pan full of boiling water: pull the oven rack out slightly from the hot oven. Place roasting pan on the oven rack, place springform pan in the roasting pan, and then add boiling water to the roasting pan. Carefully push oven rack back into the oven.3711 150-1

Just out of the oven-No Cracks!

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A citrus zest-spiked sour cream makes a perfect topping and hides any imperfections that develop in the top of the cheesecake as the cheesecake cools.

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I served this cheesecake with fresh blueberries and this fabulous homemade Blueberry Syrup.

It is flavorful enough that it could also be served on its own without any topping.

RECIPE:

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Creamy Citrus Cheesecake
———(adapted from Aimée Bourque on Savory Sweet Life)

Crust:
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 1/2 Tbs granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

Filling:
3 pkg (24 oz) cream cheese
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup sour cream
Zest and juice of one lime or small lemon (wash before zesting)
Zest and juice of half an orange (wash before zesting; remaining half will be used in topping)
5 large eggs, room temperature

Topping:
1 cup sour cream
Zest and juice of half an orange
6 Tbs granulated sugar

Place oven rack on the lowest level of the oven. Preheat oven to 350°F.

For the crust:
In a small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs and sugar. Add melted butter and mix. Press onto the bottom of a nine-inch springform pan. Bake crust for 8-10 minutes until slightly golden. Cool. Wrap springform pan in a double layer of foil, or one layer of foil and then place in an oven bag (like the kind used for turkeys). Place springform pan in a larger roasting pan.

For the filling:
With a mixer, beat together cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add sour cream, citrus zest and juice. Mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until just incorporated.

Pour filling over crumb crust.  Fill roasting pan (not springform pan!) with very hot (almost boiling) water to about 2-inches deep.

Bake cheesecake in the water bath for about 60 minutes. The cheesecake will have puffed significantly, and the middle will still be slightly jiggly. Remove pan from water bath and run a sharp knife around the sides, but do not remove ring. Cool for 15 minutes on a wire rack on the counter.

For the topping:
Combine sour cream, orange zest and juice, and sugar together in a small bowl. Pour over slightly cooled cheesecake and let stand for half an hour at room temperature.
Cover cheesecake pan tightly with plastic wrap, taking care not to disturb the surface of the cheesecake. Chill for at least four hours or overnight.

To serve:
Remove plastic wrap and lift off the outer edge of the spring form pan. If desired, slide a sharp knife under the crust and slide the cheesecake off the spring form base and onto a cake stand or serving platter.

Serve cheesecake alone, or topped with fresh berries or homemade blueberry syrup.

 

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Garlic Roasted Cauliflower

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Surprisingly, cauliflower is one vegetable that everyone in our house loves doesn’t complain about when it shows up on the table. We especially enjoy this roasted cauliflower, flavored with garlic and a little lemon and garnished with toasted pine nuts and chopped fresh parsley.

RECIPE:

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Garlic Roasted Cauliflower
————–(Adapted from Barefoot Contessa)

1/4 cup pine nuts
1 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs melted butter
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1/2 Tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Spread pine nuts in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake at 350°F for 3-5 minutes, or until toasted (watch carefully-pine nuts burn quickly). Remove pine nuts from baking sheet and set aside.

Increase oven temperature to 475°F. In a Ziploc bag or bowl, combine cauliflower florets, garlic slices, olive oil and butter. Toss until well coated. Spread cauliflower onto baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Roast at 475°F for 20 minutes, or until tender. Toss cooked cauliflower with parsley, lemon juice and  reserved pine nuts. Taste and add additional salt, if desired.

 

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Twelve (More) Days of Christmas Cookies: Glazed Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies

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DAY 4: These lemon poppy seed cookies are the texture of a soft sugar cookie, without the hassle of rolling and cutting. The cookies have just a hint of lemon flavor; I added a lemon glaze to intensify the lemon flavor.

RECIPE:

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Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies
——————-
(adapted from My Kitchen Cafe)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
zest of one lemon (divided)
1/4 cup buttermilk

Glaze:
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 Tbs light corn syrup
1 cup powdered sugar
lemon zest (from half of a lemon)
1-2 drops yellow food coloring (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda and poppy seeds. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg, vanilla and half of the lemon zest (save remaining zest for the glaze) and mix well. Add half of the dry ingredients; mix in buttermilk. Add remaining dry ingredients; mix well.

Drop the dough by tablespoonfuls onto a greased or lined baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the edges are set. The cookies should be puffy and fairly light in color when they are finished baking. Remove from the oven and let cool for 1-2 minutes on the baking sheet. Move the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Mix glaze ingredients. Add more lemon juice, if needed, for a thick drizzling consistency. Drizzle/spread over cooled cookies (or dip the tops of each cookie in the glaze).

Makes about 2 1/2 – 3 dozen cookies

 

TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS COOKIES (2010) RECAP:
DAY 1: Raspberry Crumb Bars
DAY 2: Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
DAY 3: Chocolate Nutella Cookies

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