Recipe: pailin’s ginger lemon cookies
One more day for Menu for Hope! The bidding ends tomorrow and then your are SOL. So be sure to get your raffle tickets for all of the lovely prizes being offered. Don’t forget – it is for a terrific cause!
Remember the batch of candied lemon peels that I bricked the other day? I successfully made a batch yesterday morning. Then I went into town to pick up some gifts for Jeremy’s administrative staff at a local cook/gourmet shop and what did I see? Candied lemon peel… for $3.25. Huh. Had I known they stocked this, I would not have gone to the trouble of making my own. Since I didn’t know, I tossed my head back and walked off feeling superior because I *did* make my own. But really, I was kicking myself on the inside.
made my own damn candied lemon peels
I needed candied lemon peels for this great recipe that my friend, Pailin, had given me years ago. Pailin is Thai, a chef in California, and a sweetheart. When Pailin and Wayne visited us in Pasadena, they brought whole bags full of fresh herbs and vegetables from their amazing garden and a couple of bags of cookies that she had made. I noshed on those cookies for many days and when they were gone, I felt as if something was missing from my life. I emailed for the recipe and Pailin happily obliged. They used to live in the small town of Independence, California – gateway to the Eastern Sierra. She was *famous* for her baking.
I realized the reason I loved the cookies so much was because of the candied ginger. I used to hate ginger. My mom loves the stuff and she cooked with it often. The biggest gripe that Kris and I had growing up was how Mom wouldn’t chop the ginger into chunks large enough to remove. No – she sliced it so it looked just like bamboo shoots or something else we willingly ate, and then we’d bite into the little stealth ginger slice and wince and spit it out. Maybe it requires maturity of taste buds to appreciate it, but today I’ll eat ginger in just about any dish: sweet, savory, raw, cooked, candied, pickled… I always have fresh ginger root on my counter, right next to the garlic.
chopped ginger, chopped candied lemon peel, grated fresh lemon peel
I have shied away from cookies since we moved to our present elevation. The leavenings are a bitch to puzzle out. That’s frustrating for someone like me, who used to crank out 6 dozen cookies after work with my hands tied behind my back. I had the right temperature and times dialed in for the perfect texture, baby. It was my thang. Then we came here and the cookies came to represent failure after so many years of perfection, much like graduate school – and I was like “who needs that?! pffffffttttt!” But I believe knowledge can overcome fear and I figured out that cookies without leavening are relatively stable to deal with. So when I dug around for a cookie recipe, Pailin’s ginger lemon cookies were perfect.
lemon juice for a little tang
add the goodies
It’s a buttery dough that requires chilling. I definitely cut the slices too large because they spread a lot more than I had anticipated.
slice and bake
lay the dough down with more spacing than this
The flavor is nice and light. I might try upping the amount of crystallized ginger and perhaps a little more lemon juice. Since I used my own candied lemon peel, which is drier than the store-bought stuff, I am wondering if perhaps the texture would be slightly chewier/softer with that gooey candied lemon peel?
waiting for a cup of tea
Pailin’s Ginger Lemon Cookies
16 oz. (2 cups) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar (or 1 1/3 cups powdered sugar – more stable at elevation)
2 lemons’ freshly grated zest
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp vanilla
4 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut (oh, I omitted this because I didn’t have any)
1/2 cup crystallized ginger, coarsely chopped (use as much of this as you like)
1/2 cup candied lemon peel (use as much of this as you like)
Cream the butter and sugar together. Mix in the zest, lemon juice, and vanilla. Add flour and salt and mix until well blended. Finally stir in the coconut, ginger, and lemon peel. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and shape into a log (or whatever shape you want) and refrigerate for a couple of hours. Preheat oven to 325°F. Remove from refrigerator and slice the dough about 1/4 inch thick. Set on baking sheet with enough space for spreading. Bake for 20-25 minutes.