Frosted Lemon Sugar Cookies

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Frosted Lemon Sugar Cookies
Everyone in the neighborhood knew that my mother made the best sugar cookies on the block, but not everyone knew what made them them the best… When I discovered the secret I felt I’d made one of the greatest discoveries in the culinary world. Mama’s good friend Olga was Jewish and never used dairy products, so instead of butter she substituted schmaltz--which is rendered chicken fat--that gives the recipe a distinct flavor and richness unlike any other shortening--including real butter!
SERVINGS
2dozen
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
dozen
COOK TIME
10mins
PREP TIME
20mins
READY IN

Ingredients

Instructions

Cookies
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream schmaltz and sugar in an electric mixer using a paddle attachment.
  3. Add eggs (one a at time), lemon juice and lemon zest. Beat until well incorporated.
  4. Slowly add flour, baking soda and salt.
  5. Roll dough into balls roughly 1 ½ inches wide and place on a greased cookie sheet, or a baking sheet lined with parchment. Press each cookie with a bottom of a glass dipped in sugar.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes or until the bottoms are slightly golden. Remove and cool completely.
Frosting
  1. Combine all the ingredients until it reaches a creamy consistency. If it’s too thick, add either lemon juice for an extra shot of lemon or milk until it thins to the desired thickness.
  2. Either frost with a spreader (pictured) or pipe onto the cookies and enjoy!

St. Lucia Bread

Since St. Lucia’s Day (or St. Lucy’s Day) is just around the corner on December 13th, we thought we’d share this special Swedish bread with you – fantastic for the Holidays. The celebration of the day comes from stories that were told by Monks who first brought Christianity to Sweden. “St Lucia was a young Christian girl who was martyred, killed for her faith, in 304. The most common story told about St Lucia is that she would secretly bring food to the persecuted Christians in Rome, who lived in hiding in the catacombs under the city. She would wear candles on her head, so she had both her hands free to carry things. Lucy means ‘light’ so this is a very appropriate name.” (see note below**)

December 13th was also the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, in the old ‘Julian’ Calendar and a pagan festival of lights in Sweden was turned into St. Lucia’s Day. It is now celebrated by a girl dressing in a white dress with a red sash around her waist and a crown of candles on her head. Thus, the wreath of bread dotted with candied “berries.” If you’d like you can also add small candles to the cake as well for a more festive look.

** read more at https://www.whychristmas.com/cultures/sweden.shtml

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St. Lucia Bread
SERVINGS
2loaves
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
loaves
COOK TIME
20-25mins
PREP TIME
30mins
READY IN
2-3hrs

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. In a large mixer, soften the yeast in the warm water
  2. Heat the milk until warm. Add the oil and sugar and stir to dissolve.
  3. Add this mixture to the yeast mixture in the mixer
  4. Add salt and saffron
  5. Add the 3 slightly beaten eggs and mix with dough hook.
  6. Add the lemon zest, citron and almonds and continue mixing
  7. One cup at a time, add the flour and mix well after each addition. Stop adding the flour when the dough starts pulling away from the side of the bowl. Adding more flour if necessary.
  8. Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead for 5 min, or until dough becomes smooth and elastic; adding flour as necessary.
  9. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled in size, about 1 hr. (At this point, you can refrigerate the dough, if you want to work with it later).
  10. Divide the dough into six equal balls and roll into large ropes and then braid three together, making two braids.
  11. Pinch the two ends together and tuck under, forming two circular loaves.
  12. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two sheet pans with baking paper, or grease, and put a braided loaf on each pan.
  13. Cover and let rise in a warm place, until doubled.
  14. Combine the remaining egg with a tablespoon of water to make an egg wash, and brush on the braids.
  15. Bake for about 20-25 min or until the loaf feels firm to the touch. If you would like to use a thermometer, the internal temperature should read about 190 degrees.
  16. While the bread is baking, prepare your frosting, mixing all ingredients until smooth and on the thicker side. Cut your cherries in half.
  17. Remove bread from the oven and cool slightly, then decorate, using the green cherries as leaves, and the red as berries.

Mini Puff Pancakes with Lemon Curd and Fresh Blueberries

One of my favorite meals to make is breakfast. In our guest house, breakfast is a veritable feast and a pleasure for the eyes. Our latest twist on puff pancakes (or dutch babies) made their debut on a cold fall morning. There’s nothing like bringing a little sunshine to the table to brighten up one’s day. Surprise your loved one with this easy breakfast made for two!

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Mini Puff Pancakes with Lemon Curd and Fresh Blueberries
SERVINGS
2-4servings
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
servings
COOK TIME
25mins
PREP TIME
5mins
READY IN
30mins

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425º F (220ºC)
  2. Add eggs, flour, milk, sugar, vanilla, salt and lemon zest to a blender and blend until smooth.
  3. Place butter in two heavy cast iron skillets (5-6" in width) (or one large skillet) and place in the oven until butter has melted. Pour half the batter into each pan, return them to oven and bake for 20 minutes, until the pancakes are puffed and golden. Lower oven temperature to 300 degrees and bake five minutes longer.
  4. Remove pancakes from oven, serve individually if using mini skillets, or cut larger dutch baby into wedges and top with a spoonful or two of lemon curd and blueberries and a dusting of confectioners sugar. If desired, garnish with lemon slices and a sprig of fresh mint.

Crab-filled Avocados

Looking for a gift for someone who has everything? Something a bit out of the ordinary that doesn’t come out of a catalog or off of the internet?  A gift that will express care and best wishes for the person in a way they may appreciate more than a costly, beautifully wrapped package?
Here’s a suggestion: How about a lovely personalized tea?  “Just for two” — or for whatever number of others you know they’d enjoy having it with! Either indoors or outdoors, fancy and elegant, or simple and casual.  You’d be surprised at the response you’re apt to get. because it’s a gift for all ages! Young and old and in between… My 12-year-old godchild looks forward to her annual birthday tea every year as much as she did the first time one was given to her at age 7.  I know several 80-year-olds who no longer feel up to participating in many activities they used to enjoy, yet, at the mention of a tea, immediately brighten up summoning energy and enthusiasm from some unknown source.
Perhaps this recipe may inspire you with your own ideas for something similar. Just the planning and preparation of such a gift can turn out to be a gift to yourself as you find unexpected enjoyment in creating and preparing it for someone else!
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Crab-filled Avocados
SERVINGS
4people
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
people
COOK TIME
PREP TIME
20mins
READY IN
20mins

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. For each avocado half: mix together 1/4 cup of crumbled crabmeat, a tablespoon of mayonnaise, a pinch of onion salt, and fresh lemon juice (to taste).
  2. Adjust ingredients to desired taste, and add a sprinkle of lemon zest and chopped parsley for garnish. Spoon into avocado half and serve!

Luscious Lemon Rolls

Spring is in the air, Eastertide is here and we are back with one of our newest, most favorite offerings for the season from our Monastic Bakeshop: Luscious Lemon Rolls. With that tangy, dreamy sweetness in every bite, you’ll think you have just tasted a bit of heaven. As we prepared our home for Easter morning, we also prepared these for our bakeshop and Convent. We had some help from the children in the community, too! We hope you enjoy making and eating them as much as we did!

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Luscious Lemon Rolls
SERVINGS
18-24rolls
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
rolls
COOK TIME
25mins
PREP TIME
2hrs
READY IN
2 1/2hrs

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. To make dough, boil water and remove from heat. Add the butter, Crisco and stir until melted. Add sugar and salt and cool to lukewarm.
  2. In a large mixer with a dough hook, put the 1 cup very warm water and sprinkle the yeast over. Stir to dissolve. Add the butter-Crisco mixture to the yeast mixture. Add the eggs and mix.
  3. Cup by cup add the flour, stopping when the dough is just a wee bit sticky still to the touch. Set aside to a warm place to rise, covered with a towel, about 1 hr. or more.
  4. Meanwhile, make the filling. In a Cuisinart, grind together the sugar and candied lemon rind. Set aside w/ the softened butter.
  5. Make the frosting by whipping the butter first, add the powdered sugar slowly cup by cup alternately with the liquid and zest. Beat until creamy. Set aside until ready to frost.
To assemble:
  1. Divide the dough in half. Roll into two 12 x 8" rectangles. Spread with half the softened butter and then half the sugar/lemon mixture - spreading the filling right to the edges.
  2. Roll up jelly roll style, pinching the seam closed, and cut into 1" slices. Place rolls in generously buttered 8" round cake pans.
  3. Let rolls rise until doubled in size.
  4. Bake at 325 degrees for 20 min or until lightly browned and the center is cooked.
  5. Frost while still warm and eat immediately for the yummiest results!

Summer Peaches and Cream Supreme

Just out the side entrance to the convent one steps directly into an orchard of fruit trees: peaches, nectarines and pears. Most of these trees were gifts to us back when the convent was being built, and what a gift they have been each year, providing us with beautiful fruit for eating, cooking, and preserving into different forms of gifts. Right now the peaches are at their peak, gorgeous to behold, and luscious to eat.

I have been longing to see some of them turned into a dessert. I love peach pie, peach cobbler or crumble, but my heart was set on something cool, light and summery, so I set about to make this happen. Here’s what came of my efforts which were quick and easy — just as I wanted them to be.

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Summer Peaches and Cream Supreme
SERVINGS
6-8people
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
people
COOK TIME
30 minutes
PREP TIME
30minutes
READY IN
1 hour

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Press one sheet of phyllo into 9 inch pie plate. Shape and crimp edges to form a crust pour beans into shell and bake according to directions on wrapper until golden brown. About 10 minutes. Remove and discard beans. Let cool completely.
  2. Into a medium saucepan cut up 6 peaches. Add ½ cup water, ½ cup sugar, juice of half a lemon and cook until it begins to thicken into a syrupy sauce. After 20 minutes (approx.) add zest, amaretto or extract. Let cool. Add the four remaining peaches, nicely sliced.
  3. Soften ice cream and spread half into cool shell. Spread a layer of peaches and syrup across this. Then spread remaining ice cream over peaches. Finally swirl remaining cool whip over entire top and freeze till serving time.
  4. Cut into wedges, spoon remaining peaches and sauce over each serving and sprinkle with toasted coconut.

peaches&cream3

peaches&cream2