"Lemon Tree, very pretty, and the lemon flower is sweet...

...but the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat!" -Peter, Paul & Mary, "Lemon Tree"

PP&M must have had some sour run-ins with citrus fruits, (pun intended...) but I don't have enough good things to say about OUR lemon tree, planted handily years ago by people with the foresight to know someday David and I would be able to use it. For good, not evil, in case you were wondering.

So. Last Friday night (I'm a little behind here) we had a dinner party at the house with a couple of my coworkers and their hubbies. I decided on a Mediterranean theme because 1) a few of my fave recipes are some type of Mediterranean; 2)there are a lot of vegetarian options for Michelle; and 3) it would give us a bunch of opportunities to use our lemons!

I made my mom's tabouli salad, complete with cherry tomatoes from one of D's tomato bushes and fresh lemon juice ze aforementioned tree. Mr. David made some lovely roasted veggies, as well as my mom's hummus (again with lemon juice-those suckers were juicy). Mom's hummus is that against which I judge all others (other hummi?) so watch out before you serve me some mashed chickpeas and tahini, know what I'm sayin'?
My challenge in this meal was coming up with a dessert. I would have loved to try my hand at baklava, but didn't feel like figuring out a vegan alternative for phyllo dough. Plus, those lemons...I decided to make a simple lemon sandwich cookie, vegan style. Why sandwich cookies? I just think they are fun to make-for all ages!-AND pretty to look at.

Trolling around online, I found a surprisingly simple-looking Martha Stewart lemon cookie recipe. It didn't take much to turn it vegan (or as close as I know how--I cannot figure out whether confectioner's sugar is vegan! I've read that Whole Foods brand sugars are, but then when we went, there was one container of granulated in the 365 brand that was specifically marked "Vegan Sugar." Michelle, when you read this can you enlighten me?)

The cookies call for zest in both the cookie (essentially a butter cookie) and filling (cream cheese). I love the smell and taste that zest lends to dishes, but upon completion I felt like there was not enough of a lemon PUNCH in the taste. So, I squeezed some of that lovely fresh lemon juice into a bowl of more confectioner's sugar and made an icing. I drizzled it over the cookies and threw them in the fridge to harden a little before serving.

I used a small flower-shaped cookie cutter for these. I find that bite-sized sandwich cookies are the perfect size--and then you don't feel guilty about taking seconds (and thirds)! Also, you'll notice the recipe call for sprinkled granulated sugar before baking the cookies. I happened to have some gold sanding sugar on hand so I used that instead, which made for a nice effect on the flowers!

Ready for the recipe? OK, I guess you've been good...here you go!

Vegan Lemon Sandwich Cookies
From marthastewart.com

1 cup Earth Balance or other butter substitute, room temperature
1 cup vegan confectioners' sugar*
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for rolling
2 tablespoons vegan granulated sugar, for sprinkling*
1 package (4 ounces) Tofutti (or similar) vegan cream cheese, room temperature
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
1 to 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar*

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl using an electric mixer on high speed, beat butter, confectioners' sugar, lemon zest, and salt until combined. With mixer on low, add flour (dough will still be stiff); finish mixing with a wooden spoon.
Turn dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap, pat into a disk about 1/2 inch thick.

Wrap, and chill until firm, about 1 hour (and up to 3 days).

Unwrap dough; place on a lightly floured piece of parchment or waxed paper. With a lightly floured rolling pin, roll dough about 1/8 inch thick (if dough cracks, let it warm up slightly).

Cut out cookies with a 1 1/2-inch round cutter (reroll scraps once, chilling if too soft). Place 1 inch apart on two baking sheets; sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake until barely beginning to brown, 15 to 20 minutes; transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

In a small bowl, mix cream cheese and zest until smooth. Gradually add 1 cup confectioners' sugar, mixing until smooth. Mix in remaining sugar as necessary to create a firm but spreadable filling.

Form sandwiches: Place about 1 teaspoon filling between two cookies, sugared sides facing out; squeeze gently.

*can be found at Whole Foods or similar grocery/health foods store

1 comment:

Janey said...

Seth is still talking about that salad and how amazing it was, and still dying over how great the cookies were!! Thanks again for the fun dinner!