Lemon Wafers - 350 F

RECIPE: Lemon Wafers

This is the sort of wholesome little cookie that nannies, or mommies, used to give to good little children. They are a tiny bit chewy and seem to contain the hallucinogenic ability to bring visions of rocking horses, red balls, and blackboards sharply into focus.

1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Grease two baking sheets and set aside.

Beat butter and sugar in a medium-size bowl until well blended. Beat in egg, vanilla, and lemon peel.

In another medium-size bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt with a wire whisk until light and thoroughly combined. (Using a wire whisk to blend the dry ingredients makes sifting unnecessary in this case.)

Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating until well combined.

Drop batter by rounded measuring teaspoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, or until golden and lightly browned around the edges. Remove from cookie sheets to wire rack to cool.

Makes about 3 dozen.

Heart-preserver tip: Substitute margarine for butter.

[Comfort Food, by Holly Garrison, pg 75; Dell Publishing, New York, 1988.]

[July 1991: We tried these last night, to pack for my drive to Reno. We wound up eating half of them before getting them packed... They start out as a misshapen blob on the cookie sheet, but when they bake they turn into perfectly round, puffed-up cookies. Absolutely the cutest thing... Light lemon flavor, and you can taste the egg in it.]

[May 2005: Made a batch as half of my contribution to the "Cookies For LJ" project, where various volunteers bake cookies to send to the LiveJournal staff. About the only thing I'd add to my notes above is it takes longer than 8 minutes for the edges to turn golden brown. And one lemon is enough for the amount of lemon peel you need.]

[August 2010: My new wife Lynn points out that, three ovens later, they're taking about 9 minutes to bake.]

[July 2014: Using another oven, and the dough had chilled in the fridge. Using 8 straight minutes can result in them being undercooked -- still flat and not puffed up, slightly darker in the center, and not solid enough to scoop up with the spatula. Suggest starting with 8:15 or 8:30.]

[Dec. 2018: Made a GF version with Bob's Red Mill 1-for-1 All-purpose gluten-free flour. Used 3/4 tsp Lemon extract instead of the 3/4 tsp zest.]

[July 2021: Used Bob's Red Mill gluten-free flour with 1 tsp Xanthan gum. 1-plus tsp lemon zest. With chrome melon baller to scoop, got 46 cookies, baked 8 minutes per sheet.]

[Aug. 2021: Bob's Red Mill gluten-free all purpose flour, 1 tsp Xanthan gum, 1 tsp lemon extract. These spread out to an incredible degree. Next time I want to bump up the flour by ¼ or ½ cup.]

Hazel Boston-Baden, P.O. Box 17522, Anaheim CA 92817.

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