Improvising: Almond lemon butter cookies

After bragging about my well-stocked kitchen on Twitter, I settled in to bake Spicy Lemon Butter Cookies — a long-standing recipe in my “to be baked” folder — only to discover . . . well, my pantry was stocked. Until I used up all my ingredients.

Gone were two staples of any baker’s repertoire: nutmeg and vanilla extract. Vanilla extract. I mean, seriously? We’re out of vanilla? Rookie mistake to not check and see if we had vanilla. I was cocky, friends, and I’ll admit it: I was wrong.

Wrong.

Still, I was in the mood to bake. So I improvised. The vanilla became almond, my most favorite of all flavors; and the nutmeg became extra cinnamon, which I added generously. If I’d been on my A-game, I would have thought to substitute cardamom — the most exotic of all spices in my pantry.

But I wasn’t. I was flustered.

Despite my frequent dessert-baking, I still consider myself an amateur. Cookies scare me. Unlike cupcakes, which have a foolproof pull-out-a-toothpick way of checking doneness, you can’t really tell if cookies are done until they’re . . . done. Or, in my case, “extra crispy.”

They were still delicious. Light, fluffy, and with a very distinct almond taste (and aroma!) I love. I could definitely see these at a summer or spring party, and I’m sure they’d be pretty if you didn’t make them as large as I did! Abide by the 1-inch-size cookie ball rule, friends. Abide. They spread.


Almond Lemon Butter Cookies

Adapted from WordFlux’s Spicy Lemon Butter Cookies

Ingredients:
1 cup (2 sticks) of unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 egg
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp lemon zest
2 cups unbleached flour

Directions:
Beat butter, sugar, salt, egg, almond, cinnamon and lemon zest in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in flour on low-speed until well mixed. Refrigerate 1 hour. Alternatively, you can shape the dough into a log and wrap in a parchment paper before putting in the fridge.

Preheat oven to 350Β°F. Shape dough into 1-inch balls or, in case you have made a log, slice the dough. Place on ungreased baking sheets. Flatten with a fork.

Bake 12 minutes or until lightly browned around edges. Cool on baking sheets 1 minute. Remove to wire racks; cool completely. Store in an airtight container.



For more delicious and food-related posts (recipes, novels, and more!), head over to Weekend Cooking, hosted by Beth Fish Reads.

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18 thoughts on “Improvising: Almond lemon butter cookies

    • I have room in my heart for both almond and vanilla, Rufus! One is not a substitute for the other, no doubt, but they’re both quite delicious. I would definitely try these again using the actual ingredients originally called for — I bet that one would be fab, too!

  1. Just stumbled upon your blog. Love it! These cookies look so tasty. I applaud you for keeping your cool. If I’m missing ingredients I either decide to just forget it, or (worst case due to poor prep) only realize when I’m half way through the steps!

  2. I hate that feeling when you find an ingredient you were absolutely sure you had just isn’t there. I always blame my husband, but he’s never fooled when I try to oh-so-innocently ask, “Do you know where the cumin is?”

  3. These look delicious. I’m impressed how well you improvised. I would have had to run to the store to get the ingredients the recipe called for. I’m not very daring.

  4. These look delicious! Maybe I will try them some day in the near future πŸ™‚ but due to the fact that I’m just as addicted to vanilla as I am to almonds, I might use a bit of both πŸ˜‰ thanks for sharing!

  5. Almond extract is a staple (I checked — it’s really here!) in my pantry. It adds a lovely flavor and aroma. Good job on the improvisation … can’t wait to see what new cookies come out of your oven.

  6. It looks like your substitutions turned out great. I can’t remember exactly how the old saying goes but it applies in this case. I think it something like this: Necessity/No vanilla or nutmeg is the mother of all inventions.

  7. This actually happened to me too πŸ™‚ Almond does substitute well doesn’t it? And now, do you have vanilla extract back in stock again? πŸ˜‰
    Your cookies look really scrumptious!

  8. They sound yummy. I recently had a vanilla crisis of my own while making cookies. Luckily my mother lives down the street so I sent my daughter running down there to borrow a tsp. My mother gave her an extra 1/2 full bottle of it for me. Thanks, Mom.

  9. I started to salivate as I was reading your post. I still make the mistake of assuming that I have that special ingredient, but am getting better at getting off my tuff and checking.

  10. Not sure about the almond cinnamon, but I can always vote for cardamom. My top fave in cookie flavors. And they are done when they look right AND a light pat with the tip of your finger springs back a bit. If the dent just sits there, not done. And of course, no black edges! That means the heat was too high, at least to start.

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