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12.19.2005

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sweet treats: 
l
emony stars
by Yee-Fan Sun
|
1 2

Most times of year, I'm not much of a baker. I'm horrible at making careful measurements; I can't restrain myself from tweaking recipes as I go. Cooking tends to suit my imprecise kitchen techniques much better; I like the fact that I can taste and adjust as I work, something that's not always possible with baking, where so much of the magic happens when your masterpiece is sitting quietly in the oven, beyond your control. Baking, it always seems to me, requires a leap of faith: you put in a whole lot of effort, slide your concoction into the oven, and ultimately, just have to hope for the best. Letting things do their own thing doesn't come easily to me, I suppose. But it's that time of year again -- when the days get short, and the weather dreary, and the lame excuse for a heating system in my otherwise lovely flat means my poor little fingertips can never get quite warm. And baking, it turns out, has a handy side benefit in addition to providing our house with a steady supply of homemade goodies -- thanks to the inefficiency of our dinky little range, having the oven on really does help to get the kitchen temporarily toasty.

Cookies are one of the baked goods I like to make best -- perhaps because they allow a little more control than, say, cakes and pastries. With cookies, there's more room for fixing mistakes. Bake up the first batch and discover that the cookies are rock-hard, for instance, and you know you left them in the oven too long; with batch number two, then, you still have time to redeem your mistake by simply pulling that cookie sheet out a little sooner. In the last month or so, I've been a cookie baking machine -- churning out chocolate chip cookies and gingerbread cookies and, most recently, these lovely lemony stars.

These pretty little cookies are ripe to bursting with one of my favorite flavors in the world. The base of the cookie is essentially a butter cookie dough spiked with a generous amount of fresh lemon juice and zest; the cookie is then accented with a dollop of tangy sweet lemon curd. It's a lovely, delicate concoction that goes perfectly with a gently steaming cup o' tea.

walk this way for the recipe...

 

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