Lemon Square Cookies

Lent is approaching all too quickly. Time to think of a few sweets to soften the blow before the ‘give-ups’ begin! We don’t overdo our Fat Tuesday but a batch of fresh cookies made on the preceding Sunday to last through Tuesday always seems the best way to go for us.

Lemon Square Cookies

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar
pinch of salt
1 cup cold butter, cut into small squares
2 teaspoons finely-grated fresh lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon extract
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Mix together the dry ingredients, place into a mixing bowl. Add half of the pieces of butter, the lemon zest and mix to form buttery crumbs. Add the second half of the butter and mix until no flour is visible. Add the extracts and lemon juice until the dough just holds together.

Lightly knead the dough and then divide into two portions. Place each on a square of waxed paper and form into about 1 1/2-inch square logs about four to five inches long. Wrap the waxed paper around the logs and refrigerate 3-4 hours or overnight. Remove the dough rolls about 30 minutes before baking to soften a bit.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the baking sheets with parchment paper. With a sharp knife, carefully slice 1/4th thick slices from the logs and place about an inch or so apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake the cookies for approximately 15-20 minutes depending on your oven. They should be firm to the touch and golden brown around the edges. Remove them to a rack to cool before icing.

Lemon Icing
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
Enough fresh lemon juice to form a medium-thick icing.

I’ve never heard anyone say no to some colorful sprinkles scattered over the cookies before the icing dries.

*A thought . . . If you have some walnuts or pecans on hand, you can toast a cup of them then finely grind them. After you form the log squares, you can roll and press the nuts all around the logs before you refrigerate them. That way, you get an extra bit of crunch and the flavor of the nuts goes well with lemon.



Lenten Thought for the Day

“For prayer to be effective our petitions should be for benefits worthily to be expected from God. Ye ask and receive not, because ye ask amiss.” (James 4, 3)

St. Thomas Aquinas: Compendium of Theology, 251 (13th century)

Lenten Fare – Something New From the Kitchen

Lent is here and you might be looking for a light, meatless lunch some meatless Friday this Lent. This is a good one and you can always add a protein when serving it on another day of the week. Slices of leftover chicken is nice. Tuna puts it back on the Friday list. And, if you have some favorite salad add-ins, you won’t be reported.

Minestrone Salad . . . Sort of!

8 ounces your favorite pasta (NOT spaghetti!)
1 15-ounce can of kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can of yellow wax beans, rinsed and drained
1 zucchini, thinly sliced
1 cup shredded cabbage
4 Roma tomatoes diced
1 cucumber, peeled and sliced
½ cup crumbled Feta cheese
Black olives or green olives to taste
½ cup Italian or Greek-style bottled dressing
2 teaspoons of dried Italian herbs
½ teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper

Cook the pasta according to package directions but you don’t want it mushy. Drain the cooked pasta and place in a large bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Put in a covered container and make sure it is chilled before serving.