Alphabet shaped cookies are astoundingly fun to make... and to eat! You can even write messages or play games like crosswords, soup of letters or scrabble with them! They are perfect for engaging children in the kitchen and this particular batter is plain gorgeous. Plus the lemon and poppy seed combo is an all-time favourite everybody will love. If you feel like it, decorate them with some lemon glaze, but they are already delicious on their own. Appetizing brain exercise, to eat by the handful.
If someone told me they would be baking sugar cookies in a day in which the thermometers rose above 35ºC, I would definitely forever label them as crazy. And yet, ironically, that's exactly what I ended up doing.
It happened a couple of weeks ago, when, shortly after I arrived from NYC, summer decided it would be a nice idea to come to Munich too. And so, along the usual summer showers, clouds and thunderstorms, we have had summer sun and heat, with unbearably hot days when temperatures will never fall below 30ºC - not even overnight. Despite knowing that this hard mix is oddly standard to Munich, this meteorological moodiness often makes me feel that I have unknowingly been living in a tropical rainforest. When I am sweating on my couch after midnight and the thunders start, I can even hear Jorge Ben singing amidst them: 'moro... num país tropical' (I live in a tropical country).
The problem was that I decided to go shopping for kitchen (in)utilities, and ended up bringing home such items as these fantastic cookie cutters. They were tiny, cute, rounded... exactly like I imagined letter shaped cookies should be. They were really perfect, or else they would have not come home with me. And then they were sitting in the counter, waiting for me to gather the courage and patience to make sugar cookies, giving me that look every time I walked into the kitchen to fetch some fresh fruit or water from the fridge. And then, suddenly, just because besides being crazy I am also a bit stubborn, I decided I could wait no longer, and ripped apart their plastic case.
Oh well. It was already done. Now I couldn't go back.
There I was, very happy with my micro polka dot lemony dough, thrilled at the idea that I would be making something - literally - meaningful out of it! It was short after noon and, therefore, my East-facing studio apartment had reached water-boiling temperatures, even with the blinds shut. It was so hot that soaking wet washed clothes barely needed to hang on the wire. So picture this: I am running back and forth under this heat, struggling to keep the dough cold enough to roll and bake, so that the letters hold their shape. Yet as I start cutting cookies, already dizzy, sweating and panting, I realize that my set has no S shape. I mean, I was just trying to cut out my name and... baam, not possible!
I mean, in Englizh, the lacking letter is actually not all that important. Indeed, truth to be told, you can write a whole lot of text and likely even maintain any kind of chat for plenty of time without even having to bring it up. I would not be taken aback if one could write an entire romance without it. Maybe you have not noticed, but there are practically none of them in the whole paragraph at the moment. In Portugueze, however, not having a damn S makez it practically impossible to zay anything at all. My quick fix for the problem, after a zudden inztant of irrational rage againzt whoever or whatever might be in charge of the packaging of the product, was to replace the mizzing letterz with an horizontally flipped Z. That had to do the trick for the day, but I came back to get a decent zet as zoon as I could.
bolachas do alfabeto de limão e sementes de papoila.
para miúdos e graúdos.
375g de farinha
300g de açúcar
225g de manteiga
sumo e raspa de 1/2 limão
3 colheres de sopa rasas de sementes de papoila
1 colher de chá de xarope de baunilha
2 colheres de chá de fermento
1/2 colher de chá de sal
Com uma batedeira, bater a manteiga com o açúcar até obter uma mistura cremosa. À parte, misturar a farinha com o fermento, o sal e as sementes de papoila.
Juntar uma colher de sopa da mistura de farinha à mistura de manteiga e bater. Juntar o sumo e a raspa de limão, batendo bem. Juntar nova colher de sopa de farinha e bater. Isto evitará que a massa coalhe com a adição do ovo.
Adicionar o ovo à mistura de manteiga e bater até estar bem incorporado. Continuar adicionando a farinha aos poucos, até estar finalmente toda incorporada na mistura principal.
Formar uma bola de massa e envolver em película aderente. Levar ao frigorífico pelo menos 20 minutos.
Estender a massa com a ajuda de um rolo sobre uma superfície polvilhada com farinha e cortar com cortadores com forma de letras. Colocar as bolachas sobre tabuleiros forrados com papel vegetal, ligeiramente espaçadas entre si. É muito importante que as bolachas sejam mantidas o mais frias possível, para que sofram o mínimo de deformação no forno. (E é por isso mesmo que é má ideia fazê-las num dia de muito calor.) Levar ao frigorífico pelo menos meia hora.
Pré-aquecer o forno a 220ºC. Levar um tabuleiro ao forno de cada vez, cerca de 5-7 minutos, ou até as bolachas começarem a dourar. Retirar do forno e do tabuleiro, deixando repousar e endurecer sobre uma superfície fria, ainda sobre o papel vegetal.
lemon poppy seed alphabet sugar cookies.
perfect for kids... and better for grown-ups.
juice and zest of 1 lemon
3 scant tbsp poppy seeds
1 tsp vanilla syrup
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Using an electric hand mixer, cream butter with sugar until fluffy. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt and poppy seeds.
Add a spoonful of the flour mixture to the butter cream and beat. Add the lemon juice and zest and beat again. Add a second spoonful of flour and beat. That will keep the batter from curdling as one adds the egg.
Add the egg to the cream mixture and beat until well blended. Continue by gradually adding and mixing in the flour, until finished.
Shape a ball of dough and wrap it in plastic foil. Place in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.
Roll the dough with the help of a rolling pin, over a flour-dusted surface. Cut the cookies with the letter shaped cutters. Place the cookies over parchment paper lined baking trays, leaving some room between them. It is very important that the dough is really well chilled, so that the cookies hold their shape. (And that's precisely why baking them in a hot day is a bad idea). Place in the fridge for at least half an hour.
Pre-heat oven at 220ºC. Bake one tray at a time for about 5-7 minutes, or until the cookies are slightly golden. Remove from the oven and from the baking tray and let them cool and get hard while still on the parchment paper sheet, over a cold surface.
have fun with these and happy baking!
lots of love