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Scrumptious snowflakes

Sparkling Lemon Snowflakes
It’s been almost a month since the annual holiday bake-a-thon with five of my friends from high school. I just recently tapped into the bounty of baked goods that have been stored in the freezer since that time, bringing a big tray of treats to help fulfill the news staff’s goodie obligation. (Departments take turns in the weeks leading up to Christmas, bringing goodies one day a week.)

There are still quite a few plastic bags and containers filled with cookies and candies for future events, as I came away from that weekend get-together with a heavy load of baked goods. I had to rearrange the freezer to fit them all in.

There is one particular bag of cookies, however, that might not be around for long. I have gotten in the habit of sneaking one or two out of there for myself, often as an evening treat. Once in a while, I share one with Hubby Bryan. (He will claim that once in a while isn’t very often.)

The lemon snowflake cookies were a successful experiment from the baking extravaganza. I found the recipe in a new cookbook that came across my desk, “Betty Crocker Christmas Cookies” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2013).

I’m not sure what attracted me to this particular recipe, as I usually find cut-out cookies to fussy to deal with. It may have been the delicate snowflake shapes. It may have been that the dough seemed quite simple.

But more than likely, it was the lemon that won me over. Lemon — or anything citrus, for that matter — is one of my favorite flavors, and it seemed like a refreshing counterpoint to the richer flavors that abound during the holiday season.

Alas, on that November weekend, a snowflake cookie cutter was not among our assembled utensils, so we settled for stars instead. After making a double batch of the recipe, we each came away with a small bag full of sparkling lemon stars. Since that time, I made a regular batch at home, using two snowflake shapes, pictured here.

The shapes don’t really matter to my tastebuds. I’m gobbling up both stars and snowflakes at an equal pace.

Notes from the kitchen:

* To get a satisfactory sparkle on these cookies, I used a product called Cupcake Gems —a larger grained sugar sprinkle that was available in both gold and silver. I chose the silver, but gold would also be lovely, or perhaps a mixture of the two? The original recipe called for coarse white sparkling sugar.

* My snowflake cutters yield a solid cookie — no cut-out in the middle. I used a small round cutter on some of the cookies to get the desired effect, but liked the solid cookies better in the long run (more lemon to love).

* Because of that love for lemon, I used all lemon juice in the glaze, no water, to get the desired tartness.

* The recipe claims to make six dozen cookies, but I found it made closer to four dozen, perhaps because I didn’t cut out most of those centers. I wouldn’t hesitate to make a double batch next time.Sparkling Lemon Snowflakes ¾ cup butter, softened

¾ cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

1 egg

2¼ cups all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon salt

Glaze and garnish:

2 cups powdered sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons water

¼ cup coarse white sparkling sugar

In large bowl, beat butter and granulated sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add lemon peel and egg; beat until well blended. On low speed, gradually beat in flour and salt until well blended.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. On floured surface, roll dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut with lightly floured 2½- to 3-inch snowflake-shaped cookie cutter. On ungreased cookie sheets, place cutouts 2 inches apart.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until cookies just begin to brown. Remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 10 minutes.

In small bowl, mix powdered sugar, lemon juice and water. Using a small metal spatula, spread glaze on tops of cookies; sprinkle with sparkling sugar. When glaze is dry, store in airtight containers.  

Daily Globe Features Editor Beth Rickers can be reached at 376-7327.

Beth Rickers

Beth Rickers is the veteran in the newspaper staff with 25 years as the Daily Globe's Features Editor. Interests include cooking, traveling and beer tasting and making with her home-brewing husband, Bryan. She writes an Area Voices blog called Lagniappe, which is a Creole term that means "a little something extra." It can be found at  

(507) 376-7327