Sunday 25 March 2012

Sunday Baking: Lemon and Cardamom Cookies

I have still been baking, most Sundays. This weekend has been especially busy because I am finishing up work on my first book (it is only a revision guide but I feel terribly pleased with myself!) Strangely, though, I seem to be more productive when I have lots to do.

Today has been no exception. I have made pumpkin ginger cupcakes and lemon butter cake, both from Short and Sweet; I have modified the lemon butter cake a little, splitting it and filling with home made lemon curd, and then icing with ginger cream cheese frosting. It got rave reviews at work last week. The best thing about these cakes is that they both use partial amounts of a key ingredient - butternut squash, and condensed milk - which means they have to be made again shortly afterward.

The green grocer has some marvellous lemons in at the moment so I have gone a bit overboard. I also got this letterpress cookie cutter set, so I made lemon and cardamom cookies, using this recipe.

8oz butter, softened
5½oz caster sugar
1 lemon, zest only
9oz plain flour
3½ oz ground almonds
3 tsp ground cardamom or 1 heaped tsp cardamom seeds, ground in a pestle and mortar

Preheat the oven to 190C. Line 2 large baking trays with baking parchment.
Beat the butter, sugar and lemon zest together in a large bowl until pale and fluffy. Beat in the flour, almonds and cardamom until the mixture is well combined and comes together to form a stiff dough. Roll the dough into 24 balls and place 12 on each baking tray – make sure you leave space between each one. Press each cookie with a cookie stamp or the bottom of a glass to flatten. Bake a tray at a time for 12–14 minutes until the cookies are pale golden brown. Leave them to cool on the tray for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Store the cookies in an airtight tin and eat within 7 days.

Firstly, those letterpress cutters aren't all that. The letters were a bit faint by the time they had finished baking. I wonder if it would have helped to chill the dough first? It was very warm today (hello, Spring).
Secondly, I think I don't understand cardamom. I only had the pods, so I ground a bit more than a large tsp of the pods, and then fished the pods out. The cookies have an overpowering cardamom flavour, which I quite like; but the lemon is somewhat lost. I have a deep distrust of ready ground spices but I might buy some ready-ground cardamom for next time. I do like cardamom. Even the word is good.

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