When I have something challenging to work through, my “go-to” therapy is playing my piano or baking. As hot as it was in Iowa when we were there on vacation a few weeks ago, I baked up a storm. Coincidentally, it did storm with all kinds of crazy thunder and lightning.
As I considered how joy and grief could exist simultaneously, I mixed up a batch of one of my favorite summertime lemon cooler cookies. They are small, tangy sweet lemon cookies rolled in confectioners’ sugar and go perfectly with a cup of tea or a glass of ice tea under the shade of a pine tree on a hot summer day. Originally these cookies were made by the brothers Jacob and Joseph Loose at their Sunshine Bakery. Opened in 1912 in Long Island City, NY, until 1955, the bakery remained the world’s largest. My first introduction to lemon coolers was a boxed version I bought at TJMaxx. It wasn’t until several years later that I made them myself. Freshly made tastes so much better, and they’re a snap to make.
I’m sharing a recipe I’ve tweaked over the years. I think you’ll find them addictive. Not medically addictive, but you know, deliciously addictive. So much addictive that you may find yourself getting up in the middle of the night to carefully and quietly lift the cookie jar lid to sneak a cookie or two.
Lemon Cooler Cookies
1 cup (230g) butter (room temperature)
2/3 c (133g) granulated sugar
2 egg yolks (room temperature)
1 cup (125g) confectioners’ sugar
2 tsp (10g) baking powder
1 tsp (4g) salt
2 Tbs (28g) arrowroot
2 ½ cups (312g) flour
2 tsp lemon zest
¼ cup (85g) fresh lemon juice (2 lemons)
Preheated oven to 350F (180C).
In a medium mixing bowl, add room temperature butter and granulated sugar, lemon zest, salt, granulated sugar, egg yolk, and fresh lemon juice, and beat until light and fluffy. In another bowl, add flour, arrowroot, and baking powder. Mix these with a utensil until well combined. Add the flour mixture to the first mixture. Blend well with a spoon or with an electric mixer. Then beat for 2 min.
Cover the dough with an airtight wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour. These can be mixed ahead and baked the next day. Remove from refrigerator and scoop dough to make small balls and place on parchment-lined cookie sheet. Flatten them just a bit with a sugared glass bottom or the palm of your hand.
Bake in preheated oven. Remove from oven and allow to cool to safely handle. Add confectioners’ sugar to a small bowl and roll the cookies in the sugar until nicely coated. I like the sugar thick enough that you don’t see the cookie. The sugar may melt; roll again until you have the desired effect.
Note: Use unsalted butter. Substitutes will ruin the classic flavor. A small cookie scoop is quick and assures the cookies are consistent in size and will bake evenly. Beating the first ingredients and using arrowroot makes a soft, tender cookie with a crisp edge.
I’ll post this recipe on my website with the nutrition facts. In the meantime, each cookie is 16g of carbohydrates.