Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Pink Lemonade Cookies

As a former full time employee of the Botetourt County Library system and a current casual employee ( I go in when they need me), I volunteer to help out with programs from time to time.  One such program was Tuesday.  The children's Librarian is trying to increase attendance at the children's story hour in Buchanan.  Together we thought that if we promoted it as a party and I brought some baked goods, we could get some kids and parents in for food, if not for stories and crafts!


The theme for the next two weeks is something to do with Valentine's Day, so I tried to come up with cookies that were heart shaped or red.  For this week I chose pink lemonade cookies.  Doesn't that just scream hot sultry days and nights and bright sunshine?  Well, we haven't got any of that.  We've had cold, icy, overcast days and freezing nights and it is currently, according to my vastly overpriced cell phone, 39°.  But I can dream, can't I???


Pink Lemonade Cookies

2 sticks of butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
12 ounce can of pink lemonade concentrate, thawed, divided use
zest of one lemon, divided use
4 drops red food color


Preheat oven to 350°.

I use a Kitchen Aid mixer for beating butter.  I can place the softened sticks in the stand mixer and away is goes.  Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Your hand can't get it light and fluffy enough, unless you are way stronger than I am.


Scrape it down from time to time and then add the two eggs and beat some more.  While the stand mixer is working away, place the flour, baking soda and baking powder in a bowl and stir with a fork until mixed.


Add a cup or so of the flour to the mixer and mix well.  Measure out 3/4 cup of the melted lemonade concentrate.  Add that to the mixer.  I added 1/2 the zest of a lemon and 4 drops of food coloring to boost the color and lemonyness.  Surely that is a word???  It only added a touch of pink to the cookies.  The rest comes in the frosting.  Save the rest of the lemonade and the lemon zest for the frosting.  Mix well.

Add the rest of the flour and mix until blended.  Drop by a small cookie scoop onto a cookie sheet, leaving room for them to spread out when baking.  I wanted heart shapes so I used my very clean palm to gently flatten the cookies slightly.  Then I took a table knife and dipped the tip in a small dish of flour.  Don't forget to tap the excess off the tip of the knife.


I inserted it in the top of the cookie and spread it apart a wee bit...top of the heart.  Then I used the side to make a point in the bottom of the cookie...bottom of the heart.  I used my fingers to make small adjustments and then baked them for 10 minutes.


Let the cookies cool for 2 minutes and transfer to a cooling rack.  When cool, you can frost them.

Pink Lemonade Frosting

2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1/6 cup pink lemonade concentrate, from above
1/2 lemon zest, from above
4 drops red food color


This recipe means you have to wash the mixing bowl and beater twice.  sigh.   Place the butter in the stand mixer and mix until very soft. 


Add the sugar, lemonade concentrate, food coloring and lemon zest.  You will have some lemonade concentrate leftover.  Make a glass for yourself.  This is thirsty work.


Mix everything together.  Keep mixing until it is soft, about 5 minutes.  You can just spread the frosting on the cookie or pipe it on in a heart shape. 


I have a pastry bag, but you can use a  quart size freezer Ziploc bag if you don't have one and want to pipe a shape.  Use the freezer weight as they are less likely to spring a leak.  Just fill, cut the tip of one corner and squeeze gently.


I used a round tip and just piped a simple heart.  Ok.  I'm terrible at piping.   I tried a few fancy shapes, heart within a heart, filled hearts, but the simple heart worked best.


And here is the saddest part of all.  I am on Atkins.  During induction you have to be VERY strict about sugar and flour, meaning NONE.  And I don't want to start over.  It takes 2 weeks.  Two very long, sad weeks.  I'm half way there.  So no tasting.

Lee liked them and took six up to the computer.  I put a bunch in a closed container to take to library the following day.  And I walked away. 

I'm tougher than I look.  I look squidgy and puffy.  But I've got an iron will.  For ONE.  MORE.  WEEK.

But now I can't give you my opinion on how delicious and lemony these cookies are.  Lee liked them, but then he's easy.  It's a cookie, isn't it?

Walt, a library patron, said, " Like little frosty cakes.  I like soft cookies."


Cari, an actual library assistant, like I used to be, said, "Mmm!  Lemon!"

Sara, daughter of Cari and frequenter of the Buchanan library, said, "It was really good!"

There you have it.  Three unbiased opinions.


Oh, and the kids liked them, too.

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