A couple of weeks ago I received the invitation “Would you like to come to a cookie exchange?” There is no good answer to this question as it was a good friend of mine who invited me and I wanted to go, but I really didn’t want to make 8 dozen cookies. Don’t get me wrong, I love to bake, and 8 dozen cookies isn’t that many if I was making a couple dozen of each kind that I like, but I had to make 8 dozen of the all one kind of cookies since that is the way that a cookie exchange works. To add just an little extra level of stress for me, I have never been know to bring something I have already made – I like to find a new recipe.
I just happened to have recently purchased the Martha Stewart Holiday Cookie magazine and found several contenders, but they either contained alcohol (had to be kid friendly), nuts (nut allergy alert) or some other funky ingredient that would appeal to a wide audience. Then I saw a picture of these lovely cookies that looked like little donuts and are called lemon wreathes. They didn’t sound too difficult or sweet so I decided they would be the perfect cookie for the exchange.
My verdict on these is about an 8 on a scale of 10. I think the icing could use a touch of water or milk because the amount of lemon juice required to achieve the proper consistency made it just a bit too tart and I am a fan of tart. The key to success with these cookies is definitely to keep them small. The recipe calls for a tablespoon of dough for each cookie and it is easy to make them bigger but the smaller cookies definitely are better. Martha decorated hers with white non-pareils but after the first few, I skipped this step as I found that while it looked beautiful, it detracted from the cookie itself.
Try them and let me know what you think.
Ciambelle (Lemon Wreathes)
from: Martha Stewart – Holiday Cookies 2010
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling dough
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 cup unsalted butter – softened
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups confectioners sugar
- White non-pareils for decorating (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°. Whisk flour, baking soda and salt to combine in bowl and set aside. In separate bowl, combine lemon zest and sugar until thoroughly combined, use a pastry cutter or just your clean hands.
In large mixer bowl, beat butter and sugar mixture on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well to incorporate after each egg. Add vanilla and 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Reduce speed to low. Gradually add flour mixture until combined.
Scoop 1 tablespoon dough and transfer to lightly floured surface. Roll dough into 4 inch rope. Bring ends together, overlapping slightly and pressing together to form a ring. Transfer rings to a parchment lined cookie sheet spacing about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake until pale golden brown on bottoms and around edges, about 15 minutes. Cool completely on wire racks.
Whisk sifted confectioners sugar with enough lemon jice to make a smooth, thin glaze. (Here is where you will want to taste the glaze to make sure it isn’t too tart – add water or milk if necessary). Dip top of each cookie into glaze letting extra drip off. Return cookies to wire rack (with something underneath to catch any excess glaze) to dry completely. If you wish to use decorative sprinkles, do it now before the glaze has a chance to set. Store in airtight container for up to 3 days.