June 1, 2016

Lemon Tea Cookies

My work had a team meeting at the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco recently.  It's an annual conference that's also one of the most anticipated events on my office calendar.  I always look forward to it because it's a chance to connect face to face with global colleagues who are based in North America, Europe and Asia. 

The catering at the hotel over the course of the three days was your typical fare, good but not spectacular.  However, the one thing I and many others absolutely loved were the lemon tea cookies the Hyatt served during a coffee break.  As soon as I took a bite of the soft, tender cookie topped with a thin layer of lemon glaze I knew I had to replicate it at home.  

Success all came down to getting the actual cookie, without the glaze, right.  The cookie itself reminded me a lot of a black and white in that it's texture was more cake-like.   I tried googling "Hyatt lemon tea cookie" in the hopes that someone may have posted the hotel's recipe online, but alas, no such luck and I was left to my own devices.

I ended up tweaking Cook's Country's Black and White Cookie and the results were fantastic.  By adding more flour to the recipe I got the thicker cookies I was looking for.  I also substituted lemon juice for the vanilla extract, but next time I think I'll use some lemon extract along with grated lemon peel to give it a real citrus punch.  The glaze couldn't be simpler, powdered sugar mixed with freshly squeezed lemon juice.   I don't think I'm bragging when I say I have a legitimate replica...eat your heart out Hyatt!

Lemon Tea Cookies

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/3 cup sour cream

2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 lemon juice, plus more if needed
pinch of salt

Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in bowl.  

Using stand mixer fitted with paddle, beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with 2 additions of sour cream, scraping down bowl as needed. Give dough final stir by hand.  Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Using #40 ice cream scoop (or 1 1/2 tablespoons), drop cookie dough 3 inches apart onto prepared baking sheets. Bake until edges are lightly browned, 15 to 18 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Let cookies cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour. 

For the glaze, whisk powdered sugar, lemon juice and salt until smooth and a pourable consistency.  If it's too thick, add a little bit more lemon juice.  If too thin, add a little more powdered sugar.

Spread about 1 teaspoon of the glaze on the cookie and finish with some nonpareils or sprinkles, if desired.    


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