I’m not sure if it is because my wedding is only a few weeks away or if my spirits are still flying high after yesterday, but I am feeling better than I have in a long, long while. Cooking/baking and being happy is a total chicken-egg situation for me. Cooking and baking can bring a smile to my face, but I’m also more motivated to do it when I am already happy. Last week was a roller coaster of emotions, and Mr. Foodie just strapped in for the ride. One of the highs was receiving a special gift from my maternal grandmother. She hand-sewed a special article of clothing for me to wear on the big day – a floor-length cloak! I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but it is the most gorgeous thing I’ve ever owned. I cannot wait to wear it at my winter wedding 🙂 What I wasn’t expecting was the beautiful gold cross with a ruby in the center – a necklace her own mother used to wear. She also passed on to me the Bride’s Book of Recipes and Household Hints that her grandmother gave to her as a wedding gift 57 years ago!
While the Brides Book has many neat recipes, I cherish it most for the pieces of advice it gives for managing a household. Even though some of its precepts are outdated (like the fact that the “bride” will be the only one cooking and cleaning), much of the actual advice remains accurate and helpful, like making a list before you go shopping (to save time and money), taking care to entertain with simple, delicious foods that allow you (the host or hostess) to enjoy your company instead of being stuck in the kitchen all night, and replacing shoelace ends with scotch tape lol
When I saw the “lemon drop” cookie recipe, I was instantly eager to try it out. I love lemon baked goods – really lemon in anything and I’m in love. This is partly because I like tart flavors more than sweet in general. The fact that they are “drop” cookies reminded me of my own mother who preferred the imprecise method of dropping dough on a cookie sheet not only because it is easier but because it often makes a softer cookie (due to less handling). I prepared myself to make some tweaks to the recipe itself because of all the research I’ve done on the evolution of cooking methods and recipes since this book was first published. For example, it says “bake in a moderately hot oven–400 degrees F” for 10 minutes – this is not standard for cookie baking anymore, but I went with it and kept a watchful eye on the dough. My instincts were correct – I ended up taking the cookies out at 8 minutes just as they started to brown around the edges.
The end result was a delicious, fluffy cookie with a sugar cookie flavor and texture that was punched up with lemon tartness. For a little added drama, I mixed up a quick lemon glaze to drizzle over the tops of the cookies – adding even more lemon flavor and another touch of sweetness from the powdered sugar. Mr. Foodie gave two thumbs up, and later today I’ll bring a batch to my future in-laws to see how they like them.
I am no stranger to loving my grandma’s recipes (and neither are you if you’ve had the good fortune of tasting her molasses ginger cookies which I make all the time!), but this just might become a new go-to recipe for me. The only “special” ingredient you have to have on hand is fresh lemon as everything else is standard baking fare, but I always pick up lemons when I grocery shop. I know I’ll use them in something each week whether it is a cocktail, a marinade, a soup, or a baked good 🙂
What recipes (and/or household wisdom) did your grandma pass along to you?
Lemon Drop Recipe from Brides Book:
Lemon Glaze Recipe
This is not a part of the original recipe, but I added it mostly because I had extra lemon juice that I didn’t end up using in the cookie recipe itself. Just pour about a half cup of powdered sugar into a bowl, and toss in 1-2 teaspoons of lemon juice. Because I was just trying to use up extra juice, I eyeballed the amounts -you can always add more sugar if it is too liquid or more liquid if it is too thick. Good to know for glaze is the liquid to powdered sugar ratio is small – often one teaspoon to 1 cup of sugar depending on what other liquids you’re adding (a standard version calls for a little milk and vanilla extract – what I use for holiday cookie decorating). You want a slightly thick, but still drizzly mixture. Wait until the cookies cool, drizzle, and let set so you can stack them without sticking. Enjoy!