Sunday, December 20, 2009

Lemony Semolina Cookies with Limoncello

This is my new favorite cookie.

I've mentioned Dolce Italiano before, notably when I made Gina's recipe for ricotta cheesecake. It's a really great book with a host of stuff I want to make but never get around to. In my search for Christmas treats, I decided to give the Lemony Semolina Cookies a go, for a few reasons. First, I like cookies and I like lemon. Second, I'm always up for using semolina flour, which I use liberally when making pasta. Third, the recipe calls for limonccello, which gave me an excuse to go get some. I like excuses to go buy booze. Finally, it seemed a good time to use a fantastic olive oil that I received recently as a gift.

As I mentioned a moment ago, this is my new favorite cookie. There's a subtlety and a delicacy to them while still having a burst of flavor that's not too sweet. Anyone who follows my twitter feed may have noticed my exuberance while making these last night. They're also, despite some esoteric ingredients, pretty easy to make. I always like to have semolina on hand, and one you have a bottle of limonccello, it should last you quite a while.

Lemony Semolina Cookies
Adapted from Dolce Italiano by Gina DePalma


2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup semolina (I used closer to a full cup)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup granulated sugar, plus extra for rolling
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
freshly grated zest and juice of one lemon
2 tablespoons limonccello (plus some extra for sipping)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Whisk flour, semolina, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a bowl.

Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, oil and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and egg yolk, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Continue to add the lemon zest, juice, limoncello and vanilla, making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl down.

Using low speed beat in the dry ingredients until a very soft dough is formed. Scrape out onto a sheet of plastic wrap, flatten into a disc, wrap and chill for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 325F. Lightly grease two baking sheets, line with baking parchment or a silpat.

Break off teaspoon-sized bits of dough and roll them into balls about an inch in diameter. Roll each in a small bowl of sugar and place on the tray. Make sure to space them an inch apart as they'll spread.

Bake for 14-15 minutes until they've flattened out and are crinkly on top. Cool on the sheet for 2 minute and then use a spatula to transfer to a wire rack.

This is a very easy recipe once you've gotten all the ingredients. I'm already worried that I haven't made enough, and I'm planning on a second batch sometime later in the week.

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