Thursday, February 14, 2013

Pink Lemonade Cookies for Valentine's Day


Valentine's Day brainstorming...

It all started with a picture going around facebook...


the Chocolate Heart Peanut Butter Cookies from Betty Crocker. They looked so good, I wanted to make a batch just to eat them all myself!

We planned to make them as Valentines for The Girl's class, packaging them up like this idea from Better Homes and Gardens...

Photo from BHG.com
...but then we learned one of her classmates was allergic to peanut butter. We wound up making them for Mr. LH to take to work.

Still working with the packaging idea, we thought some more. I didn't want to make sugar cookies but I did have a "contest winning lemon cookie recipe" I recently found and wanted to try...and I could color them pink...making Pink Lemonade Cookies!

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Pink Lemonade Cookies - Makes about 3 1/2 dozen
only slightly adapted from Lemon Crinkle Cookies on Lauren's Latest

½ cups butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 whole egg
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp neon pink food coloring gel (you could also use red or another pink, but this is what I had on hand. If you use something different, add color to your desired shade)
¼ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoons baking powder
⅛ teaspoons baking soda
1-½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cups powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons pink decorating sugar (optional - this just added more sparkle to the finished cookies)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease light colored baking sheets with non-stick cooking spray and set aside. (you could also use a silpat mat or silicone mat instead)

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Whip in vanilla, egg, lemon zest, and juice. Add food coloring gel. Scrape sides and mix again. Stir in all dry ingredients slowly until just combined, excluding the powdered sugar. Scrape sides of bowl and mix again briefly. Pour powdered sugar onto a large plate. Roll dough into 3/4" to 1" balls. Mix powdered sugar and pink decorating sugar together. Roll dough balls in sugar mixture. Place on baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough.


Bake for 9-11 minutes or until bottoms begin to barely brown and cookies look matte - not melty or shiny (this was about 10 minutes for my oven). Remove from oven and cool cookies about 2-3 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.


*If using a non-stick darker baking tray, reduce baking time by about 2 minutes.


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Notes:
  • The color shade was incredibly similar between the raw dough and the baked dough - except the baked cookies had a prettier pink to them (maybe from the pink sugar used?).
  • These are at their absolute best as soon as the 3 minute cooling period is done. Even my anti-citrus boy loved these cookies! Don't be surprised if you find yourself standing at the oven shoving these in your mouth while they are still warm. It's hard to resist.



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