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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Meyer Lemon Olive Oil Cookies

As we move into the long dark season I begin looking for ways to bring sunshine and light into these dreary NW days and nothing says sunshine, summer and warmth quite like lemons. This recipe for Meyer lemon olive oil cookies makes me smile and is the perfect accompaniment to a nice cup of tea (and because they are made with olive oil instead of butter, they're a little kinder to the waistline (and arteries) -something we generally need to think about this time of year as the holiday festivities make counting calories a wee bit difficult).

1 cup sugar (I like to use organic evaporated cane sugar)
3/4 cup Meyer lemon olive oil
1 lemon zested (Meyer lemon if you can find it, but any will do)
2 eggs
2-1/2 cups flour
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp course lemon salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and make sure the rack is in the center of the oven. Combine sugar, olive oil and lemon zest, blending well with an electric mixer. Add 2 eggs and blend until emulsified (usually takes a few minutes). Sift in flour and baking powder, add salt and blend well. Now roll into balls and put on a cookie sheet (you will probably need to have a small bowl of flour handy to dip your fingers in for rolling). Flatten the cookies and sprinkle a little sugar on top if you'd like (you can also play around and sprinkle some lemon salt, or slivered almonds or anything else you may like to top cookies with). Bake for 12 minutes. Makes approx. 2-3 dozen cookies (depending on size).


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Homemade Grand Marnier

Home crafted gifts can sometimes be met with mixed results. Maybe the special holiday knitted vest wasn't a favorite but the homemade cookies are always a big hit. Well, I've had plenty of "misses" in my attempt at hand crafted items but one of the "hits" that I have had over the years is my homemade Grand Marnier, an orange flavored liqueur. This is a simple recipe that I have used and can be enjoyed in just 5- 10 days, but the longer it ages the mellower it becomes. I am sipping a glass of 2 year old liqueur at the moment and it is buttery and smooth with an intoxicating fragrance rivaling its name brand version. I highly recommend letting it age several months to a year.

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
3 cups brandy
2 tsp orange extract

Dissolve sugar in almost boiling water stirring constantly. Once dissolved, allow to cool at room temperature. Stir in brandy and orange extract and transfer to bottles or jars with tight fitting lids. Shake daily to dissolve sugar completely. The liqueur should be ready in 5 to 10 days - but remember, the longer it ages the mellower it becomes. Makes one quart.