Happy National Cookie Day!

When it comes to baking, cookies are my thing.

During the holidays, I will definitely bake pumpkin bread a few times, and once I settled on a really good recipe for cream cheese pound cake, I stopped experimenting.  I'm not really a big fan of pies, so never tried to master them.   For some reason, cookies were always easier to make, so I have spent more time over the years trying and perfecting recipes for many kinds.

Today is National Cookie Day, which seems very appropriate to fall in December!  This is the time of year I tend to bake more cookies than any other time.  Not just for guests, but I always tote several containers of decorated Christmas tree shortbread cookies (recipe to come later in the month), Hello Dollies, peanut butter cookies, and other varieties when we go to Tennessee each Christmas.  Since I don't finish my holiday TV tour until about a week before we go home, the Sewell kitchen will be a hurricane of cookie baking activity during that week. 

Here are few of my favorite recipes, some of which will find their way into my Christmas carry-on bag.

My mom made the best lemon bars, but she made only one pan each year - at Christmas.

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These chocolate chip cookies take a bit of planning to allow time to keep the dough in the fridge before baking - but trust me, it's worth the wait.

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If you're in a hurry, these are the world's easiest peanut butter cookies, and they only require five ingredients.

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Happy baking!

 

 

 

What I'm Baking: Lemon Bars

My mom made amazing lemon bars.  The tangy, melt-in-your-mouth kind, with a buttery shortbread crust.

She only made them at Christmas, and stored them in our downstairs freezer.  If you wanted one, you had to go down and sort through her Christmas baking stash of chocolate peppermint brownies, thumbprint cookies and other treats, and wait for what seemed like an eternity - maybe 15 minutes - for it to thaw enough to eat.

Now, my sweet mother-in-law often makes lemon bars at Christmas - since she knows I associate these with my mom.  While I have my mom's recipe, it usually only occurs to me to bake them in December. 

But with warm weather finally springing up in New York - which also triggers a taste for all things lemon - I decided to whip up a batch today.  I often take dessert to our Tuesday night gatherings with friends from church, and decided to switch things up from the usual chocolate chip cookies or cream cheese pound cake I usually take.

Also, with Mother's Day this Sunday, it seemed an appropriate time to make them, so here is the recipe.

Ingredients:

Crust

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened

Filling

  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare a 9 x 13 baking dish by lightly buttering bottom and sides or lining with parchment paper.  Sift flour and powdered sugar together, and cut in butter (I use a pastry cutter) until mixture forms small crumbs.  Press into pan, and bake for 25 minutes.

For filling, combine eggs, sugar and lemon juice; beat well.  Sift flour and baking powder together, and stir into egg mixture.  Pour over baked crust, and bake 25 to 30 minutes.  Allow to cool for at least an hour.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar before cutting and serving. 

If you try it, please comment below and let me know what you think.  Happy baking!