Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Lime ginger cookies

For a blog that takes its name from a baked good, I've been doing a very poor job of sharing any accomplishments in the kitchen thus far. I've made quite a few meals and desserts (pb chocolate chip shortbread, potatoes au gratin, sweet rolls, pasta with pancetta/peas/cream sauce), I just haven't remembered to take pictures of many of them.

This week, I'll be featuring lime as a key ingredient. Often overlooked for its larger, more common cousin the lemon, limes are just as versatile and, in my opinion, much tastier. My Peruvian husband has a serious addiction ("Everything tastes better with lime on it!" - and he follows through, from chili to potatoes to fruit), and he's pretty much converted me.

So, when I found this recipe on Pinterest for lemon cookies, I figured it could be easily adapted - and it was. The cookies are sweet yet tart, and a wonderful divergence from the chocolate chip/standard cookie taste (Disclaimer: I have nothing against chocolate chip cookies - I love them and I will post a recipe next week for an amazing oatmeal chocolate chip. Just sayin' sometimes it's nice to branch out).

I've only tweaked a couple things from the recipe linked above (namely, adding ginger and increasing the amount of lime juice), so just want to make sure I give full credit to it.

Just a little shoutout to my kitchen scale. Makes adding ingredients so easy - just tare before each one! I'm quickly converting to the European idea of ingredients by weight. Except it means having to convert each of my recipes as I make it, and sometimes I forget to re-tare.
 First, as with many cookies, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Butter should be at room temperature - take it out and be patient! Go make yourself a cup of tea or vodka and wait it out. Growing up, I always wanted to get my bake ON and just stuck the butter in the oven or microwave to half-melt. Turns out, there's an actual reason this leads to poorer texture in the resulting cookies (although the taste will remain the same, so don't beat yourself up about it).

Mmm, can I start eating the "dough" early?
Add in the vanilla, egg, lime zest, and lime juice. Back in Boston, I had homemade vanilla from beans and vodka that I used in all my baking. Here, I've purchased the beans, but haven't obtained the spirits yet, and I've had a hard time finding actual vanilla extract (as opposed to some weird vanilla aroma thing that is definitely NOT the same thing). The closest I've found is this:

Technical difficulties, blogger doesn't want to upload the cropped, zoomed image.

Smells like vanilla, not sure why it's "en poudre," but I've been using it in my baking for the past week and it seems to do the trick, although it's been lots of guesswork for how much to add.

Mmm, the stars of the show. Post-zesting. Also - if you want to make juicing easier, apply pressure and roll the limes around on the counter some. Really makes a difference if the limes are a bit old or dry.
As for the lime zest, I wanted to use 2 limes' worth, but my zester failed about halfway through, so it ended up being about 1.5 limes' worth (see above). I also used 1.5 limes' worth of juice (about 55 ml - they were very juicy limes). Honestly, it depends how much you like citrus - I love it and B uses it so often that he can't even taste it unless it's screaming strong.

Mix until everything is incorporated - your batter at this point will look like it's curdled. That's ok.

Add in the salt, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, and flour. Stir briefly until everything comes together. Honestly, I used powdered ginger because that is what I had - but I think the cookies would only be better if one used fresh or crystallized ginger.

From here on out, my pictures are a bit off the mark - we had to run off to an apartment viewing in the middle of my preparation - so do as I say, not as I do. :)

The dough should be light and slightly sticky, but you should be able to form small (1-inch) balls with the help of a spoon. If it's too sticky add a bit more flour and try again.

Put the powdered sugar in a bowl and drop the dough into it, rolling it around until the ball is well covered with sweet goodness.

Yep, bowl - not a plate. Bowl definitely works better.

Place the balls on a greased (or parchment paper covered) baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven until the bottoms show the tiniest hint of brown and the tops of the cookies are no longer shiny. I think our oven is painfully slow to warm up, so it took almost 15 minutes for me, but the original recipe calls for 9-11 minutes.

Let the cookies cool on the pan for at least 3 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack, otherwise they will fall apart. Enjoy! Other than the flavor, one of the reasons I love these cookies is because they are unbelievably soft and moist - and stay that way, even after they've cooled.

1/2 cup (1 stick/114g) butter, at room temperature
1 cup (215g) sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (or random pinch of vanilla powder)
1 egg
Zest from 1-2 limes
55 ml lime juice (1-2 limes)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of baking soda
1 3/4 cup (220g) all-purpose flour

powdered sugar for coating

Preheat oven to 350F (175C). Cream butter and sugar. Add in vanilla, egg, zest, and juice, mix briefly until combined. Slowly mix in salt, baking powder, baking soda, and flour until combined. Drop heaping teaspoonfuls of dough into powdered sugar and roll to coat. Place onto lightly greased/parchment covered baking sheet and bake until the edges start to brown and the centers are not shiny (10-12 minutes). Let cool on baking sheet for 3-5 minutes before moving to a cooling rack.

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