Here is a chewy almond and lemon scented sugar cookie. I use a bit of almond paste, which makes the cookies quite chewy (stick-to-your-teeth chewy, in fact, like a macaroon). Its rather strong taste is balanced with the zest and juice of a Meyer lemon. They're just as good made with an orange. You'll find in the instructions some tips for extracting the most citrus flavor from the zest, when using it with sugar. Don't forget to put a piece of white sandwich bread in the airtight box in which you store the cookies. That will make them even chewier. Enjoy!! —AntoniaJames
Test Kitchen Notes
This recipe works very well and makes nice soft chewy cookies. I am too impatient to let the dough chill more than a few hours, but even with that, they turned out quite tasty and stretchy. The almond and lemon are a lovely combination, and I added some cardamom as well, which I think blends well. I switched out the sour cream for greek yogurt (as I have that in my fridge far more often than sour cream) which thankfully didn't seem to make much of a difference. If you don't want to buy the wheat gluten just for this recipe, it seems like you could leave it at the bread flour, which is already high gluten, and just let the dough rest for longer. But I didn't try it that way, so I don't know for sure! All in all, nicely composed recipe! - solmstea —The Editors
- Serves 2 dozen cookies
Zest of one lemon (or orange, if you prefer)
¼ cup almond paste
¼ cup butter
3/4 cup of turbinado raw cane sugar, divided
¼ cup of brown sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lemon (or orange) juice
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 ½ cup bread flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vital wheat gluten
- Set 1/4 cup of the raw cane sugar aside; mix the rest with the chopped zest. (See note below.)
- Melt the butter. While it is cooling, stir together thoroughly in a medium bowl the flour, wheat gluten, baking powder and salt. If there are any spices you think would be tasty, add them now.
- In a large bowl, cream the almond paste with the brown sugar.
- Add the melted butter, the raw cane sugar and zest mixture, and the lemon juice. Beat well.
- Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat well, until combined.
- Add half of the flour mixture to the butter, sugar and egg mixture, and beat some more.
- Add the sour cream and stir well until combined. Add the remaining flour and stir to combine.
- Using a strong spoon, beat the dough for at least fifty strokes. You’re getting the gluten going. Gluten makes bread stretchy. It also makes cookies stretchy. I discovered this fact last Christmas, when I ran out of all-purpose flour while baking cookies, but had plenty of bread flour.
- Chill at least overnight, or longer. The gluten needs time to work its magic on the dough.
- When you’re ready to start baking, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Farenheit (or 350 if you have a convection oven).
- Roll the cold dough into balls using a bit less than a tablespoon per cookie. Roll them in the reserved raw cane sugar. (It’s easiest to put the sugar in a shallow bowl and do five or six at a time.)
- Place on parchment lined cookie sheets, with no less than 2 inches between each cookie. Do not flatten them, except as necessary to prevent them from rolling off the cookie sheet. They should look like balls sitting on the pan when they go into the oven. The heat will flatten them out.
- Bake in the middle of the oven for ten minutes, then remove from the oven. They should be a very pale brown, just around the edges. If they look just a bit underdone, remove them from the oven anyway. They'll cook a bit more on the baking sheet once they are out of the oven.
- Let them sit on the cookie sheet for a few minutes, then transfer gently to a cooling rack.
- When cool, put the cookies right away into an airtight container with a slice of fine-crumbed sandwich bread.
- For subsequent batches, rinse the cookie sheet under very cold water to cool it off before covering with parchment and placing the cookie dough on it. This dough will keep for about a week in the refrigerator, with the cookies getting chewier and chewier, the longer you keep the dough, thanks to the gluten.
- Note: To get the most flavor, use a traditional zester and not a microplane grater. With the microplane, you leave too much of the flavor-rich oil on the grater. Also, you can recover the liquid otherwise lost in the chopping process by zesting the lemon over a cutting board on which you’ve put about a tablespoon of sugar (in this case, raw cane turbinado sugar). Let the zest drop onto the sugar, and chop it with the sugar. (This also keeps the zest from all sticking to the blade.) After you’ve chopped the zest about half way, sprinkle another tablespoon of sugar over the zest, then continue with your chopping. The sugar will soak up the oils and other liquids from the zest. And do this with a knife on a cutting board, not in a chopper or blender, because just as you leave too much of the juice and oils from the zest on the microplane grater, you leave too much of that great flavor behind in the bowl of the chopper or blender. If you do this a few hours before you use it, you will be amazed at how wet with the juice and oils from the peels the sugar becomes. Raw cane sugar works well for this.