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COLUMN: Winter break a perfect time to bake up some memories

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By Deanna Godman

School will be out for almost two more weeks, and it is time to find things to do to occupy the kids and create memories. Baking cookies together is one way to create lasting memories and teach the kids a little about measurements, too.

Even though Christmas is over, that does not mean that baking has to end. Cookie dough can also be refrigerated or frozen and used a little at a time, or the cookies can be shared with friends and neighbors.
I love sugar cookies. I am generally a fan of most cookies, but sugar cookies hold a special spot because they are so good, but so difficult for me to make. I strongly believe in baking as much as possible from scratch so I can control the ingredients, but for a long time I just grabbed a tube of Pillsbury dough if I wanted sugar cookies. The reason was that I simply could not find a recipe that I liked as much as the store bought dough.
To me, the perfect sugar cookie is soft and buttery. I do not like hard cookies unless they are Oreos or thin mints. Most sugar cookie recipes that I found were for rolled cookies (rolling dough with a rolling pin to use cookie cutters), and many of them seem to make hard, crunchy cookies. Or at least that is what happens when I use the recipe. I like to make sugar cookies using cookie cutters with my daughter because it is such a fun activity for her, especially when making cookies for Santa.
When we do that, though, we only make about a quarter of the batch that way and then I shape the rest of the dough another way, in the hope that they will be softer.
I also like to have just a little bit of a lemony taste in my sugar cookies, but most recipes do not call for that, and I worried that adding lemon juice would throw the recipe off too much.
Recently while looking for cookie recipes on Pinterest so I could make them for a club luncheon, I came across lime sugar cookies. If there is anything I like more than lemon flavoring for sugar cookies, it is the idea of lime-flavored treats. I like the tanginess, and the tropical twist on holiday treats. I was already considering making lime melt-away cookies that I found in a Martha Stewart cookbook years ago, but this sounded even better.
The original recipe called for ½ cup of coconut to be added, but I did not have any. I also did not want the cookies to be overly tropical. Not everyone likes the chewiness of coconut and I thought the texture might detract from the effect I wanted, so I did not bother buying the coconut.
I am in love with this cookie. It is soft and chewy and stays chewy for days (when they last that long).  The only drawback that I can see is that the cookie comes out flatter than most sugar cookies. That does not bother me too much, but I do intend to work with the recipe to fix this one minor flaw, perhaps by adding cream of tartar or increasing the baking powder to affect the leavening.

Lime Sugar Cookies

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest of one large lime, finely minced
3 Tbsp lime juice
1/2 cup sugar for rolling cookies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
Cream butter and sugar together with a mixer until fluffy. This takes about 5 minutes with a stand mixer.
Beat in the egg, vanilla extract, lime juice and lime zest.
Gradually blend in the dry ingredients.
Chill dough for 30 minutes or more, covered.
Roll rounded teaspoons of dough into balls, and roll in sugar. Place on cookie sheet about 1 inch apart.
Bake 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cookies stand on cookie sheet for 2
minutes before removing to wire racks.