public displays of confection

I know my baking is a success when my roommate says: “That’s good. Get it out of here.”

This afternoon I couldn’t resist testing a recipe for lemon zest sugar cookies before class. I’ve been looking for something tasty and sweet that would travel well between my kitchen in Brooklyn and Chicago where my boyfriend lives. Homemade food is a great gift from the heart, whether it’s for a special occasion or no reason at all. In fact, spontaneous acts of baking are my favorite.

The sugar cookie recipe is from Big Girls Small Kitchen via one of my favorite blogs, Design Sponge. The result is a plate full of sunshine. It’s the perfect combination of moist, old-fashioned sugar cookies – the likes of which grandma used to make – with just the right touch of lemon zest to brighten anyone’s day. I suppose the cookies are actually quite analogous to where the recipe came from; Big Girls Small Kitchen is a blog developed by two childhood friends who grew up on the classics (Joy of Cooking, Betty Crocker) and are now twenty-somethings taking a fresh approach to compact kitchen cooking.

Now, for the record, it must be stated that none of the cookies I made from this batch will ever make it to Chicago. My boyfriend is away at a conference this week, but I just couldn’t wait any more (I only saw the recipe four days ago, but upon looking at the awesome food photographs, you will wonder how I made it this long). After all, one of the best things about sugar cookies is that you probably already have all the ingredients you need in your kitchen. Also, in another act of full disclosure, the recipe says it yields 20 cookies, but if you’re like me and can’t help but run a couple of cookie dough taste tests (for quality control, of course!) the yield is more like 16-18.

Make these cookies for someone you love, a neighbor or a stranger. Keep ‘em local or ship them off. In any event, try not to eat them all yourself. Be kind.

Giant Chewy Lemon Sugar Cookies

2 ¼ cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 sticks butter
1 cups sugar
zest of 1 lemon
1 egg
1/3 cup coarse sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
2. Sift the flour, salt and baking soda together.
3. Cream the butter, 1 cup of sugar and lemon zest until very smooth. Add the egg and continue to beat until fluffy. Pour in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined — don’t overmix.
4. Spread the remaining 1/3 cup sugar onto a shallow plate. Form balls out of the cookie dough 2 inches in diameter and roll them through the sugar. Arrange on a cookie sheet 4 inches apart
5. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until just the edges are golden. The tops of the cookies should remain pale. Cool completely on the cookie sheets before removing to a plate.

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