Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.
More detail here: ok, I know this is my recipe, but when I make these, they come out flat and crunchy like lemon Girl Scout cookies. Yours are rounder and higher and soft in the middle. How did you do at?
barbara, love thyme and lemon together; i do a cornmeal cookie with those elements. i looked at your recipe and had some thoughts. i'm thinking that the editors may not have followed your instructions. I'm wondering about your directions to . I think you may be abusing your egg whites. when i make merinques as cookies or for a dacquoise, i beat the white w/ salt pinch til opague and foamy or maybe 1/2way to stiff; and then i add the sugar gradually and continue til shiny stiff. You mention the meringue being thinner because of zest's water but i think it is the OIL in the zest that is the culprit; oil being the element that will deflate meringues and make them watery and flat(the latter can also happen by working the meringue too long. For yrs i have made a silver palate recipe for Chocolate mint merinques, made with chopped After Eights. When I made big batches, i had trouble with meringue getting thin/flat and then weeping when baked. So I started doing the meringues in multiple small batches so i could get them into the oven ASAP after adding the fat (the After Eights).Your recipe says for your meringues to sit 1/2 hour before baking. I think that's a major glitch, because the oil in the zest will deflate them while they sit. Take a look at that SP recipe and try baking them right away. In the same Good Times ckbk they have a dacquoise w/ almond meringues; they bake them at 300 degrees for 1 hour, all in one go.
So i'd suggest those alterations.
The other thing you might want to play with is using True Lemon instead of zest. I heard it raved on Chowhound and bought it to try and ended up using it in my Lemon Pecan Polvorones (http://food52.com/recipes...) to great effect.
Le bec fin, thank you so much! When I made these, I was following instructions for French macarons, which have you let the batter rest. I'm going to try it again without the rest. I tried True Lemon as a lemon sub in drinks and didn't like it, but it might be just fine in cookies, I'll try that as well. Thank you, this is really helpful.
dr. b, it's an honor if i can be of help! i haven't tried True Lemon in anything except those polvorones so i'm glad to know not to try in drinks.I am SUCH a lemon-dependant; wouldn't it be a thrill to have a lemon tree in your yard (like some lucky 52ers?!)
I'm waiting for the editors to chime in--because I really want to know! I made these a few days ago, and they tastes fantastic. But I was disappointed because I hoped for a puffy cookie like in the editors' pictures. Re: True Lemon, I haven't tried it, but I do really like the KAF Catalog powdered lemon flavor. I tried the powdered pineapple, too. Very effective for French macarons, so probably good for this use, too.
I was going to buy some of the KAF powdered lemon, but they added corn syrup to it! I had hoped it would save me from all the lemon zesting, but I have a zero tolerance for corn syrup.
The corn syrup is a significant down side--and I use the powder sparingly, mostly in icings and frosting. I hadn't paid close enough attention to the ingredients when I bought the KAF.powder.
AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.
Such an interesting thread, this one. Great for the poor souls like me who must enjoy such activities vicariously. ;o)
Ok, just for grins, I tried this recipe with True Lemon (1/2 tsp) and dried thyme instead of fresh (about 1/4 tsp). I put them in the oven right away, and baked at a lower temperature. They were slightly more puffy, but still crunchy in the middle. And I really don't like the taste. The thyme note is fine, but there's a huge difference between the taste of fresh zest and True Lemon; we preferred the cookies made with zest. So the mystery continues.
well barb, mea culpa. so sorry it didn't work out for you.
No worries, le bec fin, I had fun playing with it and will try again. Maybe it's the almonds?
I had never heard of True Lemon until reading this thread, but my sanity depends on always having a bottle of Minute Maid Lemon juice on hand. It is sold in the frozen juice section of the market and I keep one in the freezer and one in the fridge. When I don't have a fresh lemons, it is a godsend. No preservatives or additives. Penzeys used to sell freeze-dried lemon zest but I don't know whether they do now. It's hard to imagine a satisfactory substitute for zest.
I've used the Minute Maid juice also, and I should have realized that if I didn't like True Lemon in water, I wouldn't like it in cookies. Oh well, back to the drawing board.
But we still don't know how to get them puffy! Barb, what kind of oven do you have? Maybe they have a really nice convection oven? I have a very plain GE Profile, electric--has cold spots in the front left side. But what I'm thinking is that maybe superior oven and we cannot be blamed for the non-puffy cookies?
Hi Hilary, I actually have a brand new oven that isn't convection but works really well. I'm thinking maybe it's the almonds. I use Trader Joes almond meal, but I'm thinking about trying it with almonds I grind myself. I made meringues with almonds that I ground/chopped and they came out puffy. To be continued......
Drats again! Okay that was the only somewhat plausible thought I had. But I too, used the Trader Joe's almond meal--cheaper and less fussy.
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