Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Blueberries+Lemon = Divine

I can't recall where I first got the idea to mix the flavors of lemon and blueberry together. It may have come from my cousin , DEWBaker who makes the most divine scones (and cakes, and cookies, and pasta, and everything culinary) and she may have made a scone flavored with blueberries and lemon. I have applied that same delicious combination to biscotti and now to slice and bake cookies. The recipe was taken, again, from Smitten Kitchen.

The cookies were delicate and lightly lemon flavored. I would have liked a bit more blueberry in mine and will probably up the amount of dried blueberries by 1/4 cup. Reports from my taste testers tell me that I needn't change the recipe. I leave it up to you. I imagine this cookie would also be great with a simple vanilla ice cream. It is easy to make and the best part is that you can freeze the cookie dough and keep it for whenever you want to have fresh cookies.

Also, I used dried blueberries that I brought with me from Trader Joe's in the US. These are, hands down, my favorite dried blueberries. They're all natural and the flavor is so intensely blueberry that they taste like they were picked and dried in their prime - which they probably were. If you can't find dried blueberries or you can't find dried blueberries that taste good, you can also use a variety of other flavors. Smitten Kitchen has a large selection of options on her site. Me? I think I'll try apricot+pistachio next.

Blueberry Lemon Slice and Bake Cookies
Scaled down from Smitten Kitchen

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 c. dried blueberries, minced (like I said above, if you want a blueberry explosion you can add an extra 1/4 cup)
Zest of one lemon
1 large egg yolk
pinch of salt
1 cup all purpose flour
*Note - There is almond extract in the photo. I decided to omit it at the last minute and am glad I did.

Put the butter in the bowl of a mixer and beat at medium speed until it is smooth. Add the sifted powdered sugar and beat again until the mixture is smooth and silky. Beat in the egg yolks, followed by the salt, dried blueberries, and lemon zest. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour, beating just until it disappears. It is better to underbeat than overbeat at this point; if the flour isn’t fully incorporated, that’s okay just blend in whatever remaining flour needs blending with a rubber spatula. Turn the dough out onto a counter, gather it into a ball and wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Working on a smooth surface, form the piece of dough into a log that is about 1 to 1 1/4 inches (2.5 to 3.2 cm) thick. If you get the thickness right, and the length you end up with will be fine. Wrap the logs in plastic and chill for 2 hours. (The dough can be wrapped airtight and kept refrigerated for up to 3 days or stored in the freezer for up to 1 month.)

Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a baking sheets with parchment paper (or silpat). While the oven is heating, use a sharp slender knife, slice each log into cookies about 1/3 inch (10 mm) thick. (You can make the cookies thicker if you’d like; just bake them longer.) Place the cookies on the lined baking sheets, leaving about 1/2 inch (1.5 cm) space between them.
Bake the cookies for 12 to 14 minutes, or until they are set but not browned. Transfer the cookies to cooling racks to cool to room temperature.
Keeping: Packed airtight, the cookies will keep for about 5 days at room temperature, or in the freezer for a month. Unbaked logs can be frozen for longer.

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