Lemon Stars

Cover recipe from Taste of Home Holiday, Christmas Cookies & Candies
Lemon Stars
TasteofHome2
This little magazine features recipes that are sent in from readers.  Each is printed on a tear-out recipe card- pretty convenient for those who file away recipes.  They seem to be mostly easy-to-make, home baker kind of recipes, not a lot in there that is really gourmet.  That likely appeals to a lot of folks.  There do appear to be a few treasures tucked inside (my opinion, of course). 

See those penguins featured on the cover?  If I had a penguin cookie cutter (who has one of those, by the way?), I would have tried these.  The text on the cover points to these cookies and says, “cute & easy!”  Really?  I have a pretty steady hand and am fairly decent at decorating with royal icing and I’m pretty sure I couldn’t pipe on icing that would look as perfect as those penguins featured on the cover.  They may be cute, but I’m not thinking those are easy to make. 

I made the stars that were tucked into the background of the cover instead.  They’re a lemon-flavored star with lemon-flavored icing and sugar sprinkled on top.  See my notes below for the results.
TasteofHomeStars1
Lemon Stars
Source:  Taste of Home Holiday, Christmas Cookies & Candies

Ingredients:
for cookies:
1/2 cup butter-flavored shortening
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp. lemon extract
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp. grated lemon peel
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
for icing:
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
6 Tbsp. butter
3/4 tsp. lemon extract
3 drops yellow food coloring, optional
3 to 4 Tbsp. milk
Yellow colored sugar, optional

Directions:
1.  In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in egg and extract.  Stir in sour cream and peel.  Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.  Divide dough into three balls; cover and refrigerate for 3 hours or until easy to handle.
2.  Remove one portion of dough from the refrigerator at a time.  On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness.  Cut with a floured 2-inch star cookie cutter.  Place 1-inch apart on ungreased baking sheets.
3.  Bake at 375 degrees F. for 6 to 8 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.  Remove to wire racks to cool.
4.  For icing, in a bowl combine the powdered sugar, butter, extract, food coloring if desired and enough milk to achieve spreading consistency.  Ice cookies; sprinkle with colored sugar, if desired.

Yield:  9 dozen (see notes below)

Notes from Culinary Covers:
*The dough was easy to roll out and cut.  I didn’t feel that the cookies themselves had much lemon flavor.  I’m thinking that adding a bit of lemon oil instead of lemon extract might help with that.
*For the icing I used yellow concentrated paste instead of food coloring.  You can buy it at craft stores, and I prefer it to food coloring.
*The instructions tell you to spread the icing on the stars.  If you spread the icing on the stars, they won’t look as neat as the ones on the cover (or like my photograph).  You’ll need to put the icing into a piping bag with a narrow round tip and draw the edges first.  Let the edges dry for a few minutes then spoon more icing into the middle of the star and gently spread to the edges.  It’s time consuming, yes, but that’s how you’ll get a perfectly iced star.
*For the sugar, the instructions explain that yellow colored sugar is optional.  I don’t really think it’s optional.  These stars aren’t going to be cute unless you sprinkle them with sparkley stuff.  And you need to get the large sugar crystals for best effect.  If you can find large yellow sugar crystals, use those.  Otherwise, because you have yellow icing already on the cookie, you can use large white sugar crystals and achieve the same sparkley effect.
*This recipe absolutely does not make 9 dozen cookies.  I’m lucky if I got three dozen.
*I originally made these as a Christmas cookie, but then was asked to bring a dessert for my son’s end-of-the-year soccer party.  The stars were perfect.  Little lemon stars for the soccer stars.   I think this sort of thing (sparkley, shaped, iced cookies) attracts the little ones as the kids gobbled them up quickly.

Did this recipe deserve the cover?  The short answer:  yes and no.  The cover features the penguin cookie front and center with several kinds of very colorful cookies surrounding it.   For that reason, yes it deserves the cover.  Would it deserve the cover on its own?  For this magazine and its audience- probably.  They were delightful little lemony cut-out cookies (though not very good without the icing on them), and they were very well received by the people who ate them at my gathering.  But they certainly weren’t anything gourmet or unique.  That being said, they’d make a glittery, pretty addition to a holiday platter.

Lori is the founder of RecipeGirl.com. She's a professional recipe developer and food writer, and she's the author of The Recipe Girl Cookbook (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: April 2013). Beyond food, Lori enjoys traveling, being outdoors, running, and maybe even singing a little karaoke. The mountains near Lake Tahoe are home for Lori and her husband of 18 years. They have an 12 year-old son who blogs at RecipeBoy.com.

10 Responses to “Lemon Stars”

  1. 1

    HoneyB — November 27, 2009 @ 6:05 am

    I really like your blog here – I like seeing how your cover recipes are turning out and I really appreciate your comments on the recipes after you have tried them!

  2. 2

    VeggieGirl — November 27, 2009 @ 6:41 am

    Cute cookies – and I 100% agree on their “cover appeal” with the other cookies present.

  3. 3

    Katrina — November 27, 2009 @ 8:48 am

    Ok, the penguins are way cute. Lemon cookies, yum. I do wonder who and how some things are picked for the covers of magazines. I guess they have to have a variety and be diverse, right!
    Love that you do this, Lori.

  4. 4

    noble pig — November 27, 2009 @ 9:32 am

    Yeah, they are cute, I’m sure the boys loved them.

  5. 5

    Sophie — November 27, 2009 @ 11:22 am

    MMMMMMM,..these cookies look excellent to me,..So festive too but normally I don’t like any icing but I must try these though,…

  6. 6

    dawn — November 27, 2009 @ 6:08 pm

    gorgeous photo!!!

  7. 7

    Ja Cie Kocham — November 27, 2009 @ 8:46 pm

    YUM. I can smell the lemon from here! Thanks for the input about the lemon oil.

  8. 8

    Michelle — November 28, 2009 @ 2:03 pm

    Great, honest review. Thanks for all the extra info.

  9. 9

    Su-yin — November 29, 2009 @ 4:17 pm

    I love these cookies – they look so pretty! Will be keeping these in mind when I start making Christmas gifts. :)

  10. 10

    Leigh Anne Wilkes — December 3, 2009 @ 8:56 am

    I love anything lemon so will definitely need to try these pretty little lemon stars!

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