This weekend I baked four different kinds of cookies for Christmas: bourbon balls, wagonwheels, lemon stars and spritz. Technically, though, the bourbon balls aren’t baked. Figuratively, they are soused, sauced, stewed, potted, plastered, plowed, crocked, since I use 101 proof Wild Turkey. Don’t get your hopes up, though. By my calculations, each bourbon ball contains approximately 1/20th of one ounce of booze. Despite anecdotal reports, people do not get a buzz from my bourbon balls. It’s all in their heads.
Lemon stars are still in the experimental stage. I’ve settled on using Grandma Rose Naftalin’s recipe for lemon snowballs. I’ve worked out a method for shaping balls into stars using a table knife. The frosting is the hangup.
In my persistent quest to simplify and speed the cookie making process, I had the idea to make a thin icing into which we could dip the cookies. We tried two different recipes for icing. Recipe #2, from Joy of Cooking, involved boiling milk and butter and sugar for a minute, then adding the lemon zest and powdered sugar and vanilla. This frosting hardened nicely.
Icing recipe #1, boiling butter and lemon juice, then adding the zest and powdered sugar, was an unqualified disaster. It didn’t harden but remained quite tacky and sticky. It slid off the cookies at a glacial pace, like old glass.
E thought if I rolled the cookies in sugar, they would be less tacky. I used the remainder of my yellow sprinkles to coat the sticky stars. When that ran out I used regular old granulated. No good. The sugar absorbed all sorts of moisture out of the air. Very sticky.
I finally resorted to the basic butter cream frosting recipe Grandma Rose calls for and spread that on the cookies, creating multiple layers of sweet lemony icing and colored sugar. They are still pretty sticky on the sides, though. A right mess.
Oh well. I’m not going to be eating them.