Thursday, May 17, 2012

Detective work was worth it
for delicious lemon cookies

Sometimes a recipe takes a little detective work before it's made.
   That was the case with Easy Lemon Sugar Snaps (click for the recipe), which attracted me because the recipe called for using a lemon cake mix doctored up with cornmeal and lemon peel. I wondered how well it would work.
   Actually, the recipe calls for a two-layer size lemon cake mix with pudding in the mix, which puzzled me.
   Did they mean a cake mix with a dry package to make pudding? Or a cake mix that contained shelf-stable wet pudding?
   The detective work began.
   I hit the cake mix aisle with my husband, and initially saw two-layer lemon cake mixes, but none with pudding.
   My husband pointed to the top row, where the Dr. Oetker Sauce’n Cake mixes were.
   There was one for lemon cake and “pudding.” This was the only thing that remotely resembled what the recipe was asking for, so I took two boxes (the recipe said a two-layer size cake mix).
   Inside each box was a dry package for the cake, and a dry package for the pudding that’s sprinkled on top of the cake with hot water.
   I decided to give them a try, using all four packages – the cake and pudding dry mixes from the two boxes.
   Lo and behold, it was the exactly what the recipe was asking for.
   The cookies turned out very well, with a delicious bright lemon flavor. They were delightfully chewy, which was a bit of surprise considering the cookies are called “snaps.”
   In the magazine picture, the cookies were small and dainty, and each looked like a tiny mound.
   Mine were much broader and thinner, but the taste didn’t seem to suffer any.
   The cookies were extremely easy to make.
   Butter and egg are mixed together, and the lemon and pudding cake mix(es) are added and beaten in until combined. The cornmeal and finely-shredded lemon peel are stirred in.
   At this point, the dough will be in small shaggy pieces and will not form a ball.
   This is absolutely fine. Don’t bother kneading the dough as the recipe says, as it will easily come together in small balls of dough for each cookie. Pick up pieces of the dough and press and roll them together into one-inch balls.
   The cookies are baked on ungreased cookie sheets. The recipe says to bake them for nine to 10 minutes, but I suggest checking them at seven or eight minutes to see if the bottoms have browned. If they have the cookies are done.
   After the cookies are baked, they're transferred to a wire rack and cooled completely before serving.

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