Lemon Crackle Cookies


Hello again and happy fall, y'all! I feel like the year has flown by.  Here we are almost all of the way through October.  Soon it'll be Thanksgiving and Christmas.  But here I am, still thinking it's summer time, running around in sundresses and baking lemon cookies instead of pumpkin bread.  I'm in total disbelief that it's Autumn.  Here in Raleigh we're only starting to see a few signs of the changing season; cool, crisp air in the evenings and a few crunchy leaves under our feet.  If I didn't go to the store and see bags of candy lining the aisles, I would have no idea Halloween was a little over a week away.

The past few months have been incredibly busy, sometimes I feel like I don't get to stop and relax.  But when I do get a little break, I usually can't stand it and have to keep busy.  So any extra downtime I have had lately has been devoted towards baking - mostly classic desserts and treats given away to new friends.

 My sweet tooth isn't raging anymore like it was for the past... well forever.  Maybe as I've gotten older my little taste buds have evolved and are going in a different direction.  Instead of a piece of cake I'd probably choose a steak.  The other day I had a few lemons left over from a pasta dish I made and used them towards a nice light, lemony crackle cookie.

Quite the beauties, aren't they?  They're pretty photogenic, but then again what cookies aren't?  Hello.  I took these pictures using my iPhone, which is good enough for me these days.  I actually sold my DSLR a few months ago (gotta pay those bills) so I don't have a camera anymore.
 Lemon Crackle Cookies

2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice + zest of one lemon
1 large egg
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

In a medium sized bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  In a large mixing bowl, using a mixer on medium speed, beat together butter, granulated sugar and vanilla until creamy and well combined.  Beat in lemon juice and lemon zest until combined.  Beat in egg until well combined.  Reduce mixer speed to low and beat in flour mixture until just combined.

Chill dough in refrigerator for 1 hour or overnight.

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Roll 1 inch balls of dough into confectioners' sugar and place on cookie sheets, spacing about 1 1/2-inches apart.  Bake 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden in color. Side note-feel free to add a few drops of yellow food coloring into the dough.

Allow cookies to cool 2 minutes before transferring to wire racks.  Dust with confectioners' sugar.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies

Atlantic Beach Pie

Hello there! How is everyone?  I'm still here, just a little more quiet than in the past.  I hope everyone is having a great summer!  It's been a busy one for me.  I moved to North Carolina few months ago and I'm really enjoying it.  The area is beautiful, the people are nice, and the food is good!  I've always been a big fan of Southern food.  I've been instagraming a lot of the food I've been trying, so feel free to follow along at Wanderlustpig.  

I thought it would be suiting to bake a pie native to North Carolina for the blog.  I baked Atlantic Beach Pie using this recipe from Food52.  The recipe is from Bill Smith, a chef at Crook's Corner in Chapel Hill.  I haven't been to Crook's Corner yet, but I really want to.  

The pie was soo easy to make, which is exactly what I want during these lazy days of summer.  The crust is made up of crushed saltines, softened butter and sugar.  I was unsure if the crust would taste good, but it does!  The filling is simple as well: just egg yolks, fresh lemon or lime juice and sweetened condensed milk.  I topped the pie with fresh whipped cream and a sprinkling of sea salt.

The filling set up beautifully and tasted like key lime pie.  It's definitely not the prettiest pie you'll ever see, but it's refreshing and easy to make.

Blueberry Buttermilk Coffee Cake

It's blueberry season, y'all.  Time to get your hands on some of those delicious berries!  I picked these berries up in Michigan at a Meijer store, and they were really good.  I'm hoping to get to a farmers' market soon to pick up some local blueberries.  I'm hoping I can still get strawberries, too.  It's been a crazy month and I'm ready to get settled in and do some baking.

I did manage to throw together this coffee cake, and wow was it good.  Incredibly easy, too!  I think what made it so delicious was I used buttermilk and a special Southern flour called, White Lily.  This was my first time baking with it and I can already tell a difference over regular flour.  The cake turned out so light and fluffy.  I'll have to research more on why White Lily makes baked goods lighter.  I think it might have to do with the type of wheat they use.  Have you used White Lily before?

The blueberry cake is topped with a buttery-brown sugar crumb topping.  This could be served as a coffee cake for breakfast, or a dessert.  If you serve it as a dessert, I recommend a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Blueberry Buttermilk Coffee Cake

2 cups all purpose flour + 1/3 cup, divided use
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened, divided use
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray an 8x8-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, sift together 2 cups flour, baking powder and salt.  In a large bowl, using a mixer on medium speed, beat together 6 tablespoons butter, sugar and vanilla until creamy.  Beat in eggs until well combined.  Reduce mixer speed to low and beat in flour mixture, alternating with buttermilk, until just combined.  Gently fold in blueberries.  Spread batter into the bottom of prepared pan.

To make the topping, beat together remaining 2 tablespoons butter, 1/3 cup flour, brown sugar and cinnamon until well combined and crumbly.  Sprinkle crumble on top of cake batter.  Bake 40-45 minutes or until well risen and golden brown.  A toothpick inserted into cake should come out with moist crumbs attached.

Makes 9 servings