Newlyweds navigating their way through married life – and the kitchen

Tag Archives: Lemon

Lemon Surprise CookiesMy Uncle Jimmy is a great and funny guy – a creature of habit if you will.

On summer days when I’d be over playing with my cousins Erin and Jen, he’d come home from work every day at noon on the dot, watch t.v. for a bit, and eat his lunch with one of ten bags of ‘Tri-Sum’ potato chips on top of the fridge.  At every holiday, when stocking the fridge or cooler, you’d see at least 1 liter or a few cans of Coke, an Uncle Jimmy necessity.  There’s a comfort in people like my Uncle Jim, in their predictability and routine – they make you feel like in this crazy world we live in that changes every hour of every day, that as long as there’s ice-cold Coke in the fridge and potato chips for lunch, than all will be o.k with the world.

But….since he’s retired….he’s gone a little crazy….

Lemon Surprise Cookies

…doing things like growing goatees – going to Ireland for bachelor parties and drinking whisky! WITHOUT Coke! And much to my delight, he’s developed a knack for baking, which I discovered at Thanksgiving.

Of 75 desserts on the table, you really need to strategize your plan of attack.  But there was one dessert on the table that I noticed was new, not one of the old stand by’s like my Aunt Kathy’s Eclair Ring or my cousin Jen’s picture perfect trifle.  These little bite size, ball shaped cookies with chocolate drizzle.  I popped one in my mouth, and not only was it delicious, but it had a surprise chocolate kiss interior – and after I ate about 1/2 dozen of them I said “ok, who made these?”  And who was the culprit?

Uncle Jim.  Who knew?

Now this past weekend, I tried making them for a cookie swap.  I followed the recipe to a T and waited with baited breath for them to come out of the oven.  But when it was time to take them out, they looked NOTHING like Uncle Jim’s – TASTED nothing like them either – they were a hot mess of cookie, pun intended.  Honestly, I have no idea what happened.  My theory is that perhaps I chilled the dough for too long (the original recipe called for some chilling time to make the dough easier to handle, which is pretty standard with shortbread recipes) Disappointed was an understatement, because I was so excited to showcase these.

I woke up Sunday morning though, feeling determined to get these right, so I tried AGAIN using a different shortbread recipe, this time not chilling the dough and making a few other changes here and there, and B.I.N.G.O! Success!

Lemon Surprise Cookies
*Uncle Jim (and pillsbury & simple bites)

INGREDIENTS
*makes about 6 dozen

3 sticks of unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon lemon extract

3 & 1/2 cups  all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 bag (13 oz) KISSES® milk chocolates, unwrapped

Powdered sugar

8 oz. milk chocolate, melted
(about 1/2 bag chocolate chips – I used Trader Joe’s 1lb Milk Chocolate Bar)

Lemon Surprise Cookies

1) Preheat oven to 350°F.

2) In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the butter and sugar until they are just combined. Add the lemon extract.

3) In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then add them to the butter-and-sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together.

4) Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and bring everything together with your hands.  Take about 1/2 tbsp. of the dough and wrap it around the hershey kiss.
*This step is key, as you really only want enough dough to just cover the hershey kiss.  If you use too much dough (which is another mistake I made first time around) the shortbread will flatten out on the bottom, making the finished product look more like little hats instead of balls. 

5) Take the dough-wrapped hershey kiss and roll it in between the palms of your hands to form a ball.  Place them on an ungreased cookie sheet.

6) Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until set and bottom edges are light golden brown. Cool 1 minute then remove from cookie sheets. Cool completely, about 15 minutes on wire racks.

7) Lightly sprinkle cooled cookies with powdered sugar. In a double boiler or microwave, melt the chocolate and drizzle over each cookie.

Lemon Surprise Cookies

While being slightly labor intensive, the end result is well worth it as this slightly lemon flavored shortbread has a chocolatey surprise center and the recipe makes a TON, so they’re perfect for gift giving or swapping – 1 batch will make more cookies than you’ll know what to do with!

So thanks for the recipe Uncle Jim! Keep livin’ that ‘crazy’ retired life – it looks good on you 🙂


It’s another Thirsty Thursday – and it’s game 4 of the Bruins vs. Capitals playoff series – and man has it been a nail biter so far!  Luckily for me though, I did not spend this Thursday at home alone – Dave had a hockey game last night, so tonight, he’s home, and ready to participate in the awesomeness that is Thirsty Thursday 🙂  Since last week’s Stanley Cup seemed to bring some luck to the Bruins (or that’s what I tell myself anyway) I thought I’d give a Bruins themed cocktail a go again. 

I have been seeing a lot of recipes for blueberry vodka w/ lemonade, which sounds amazing.  So I took this recipe from Keep It Simple Foods and modified it to make it Bruins appropriate – how’d I do it? Swapped ‘Blue’berries with ‘Black’berries!  Genius!

This drink is coming to you 24 hours in the making, as the recipe calls for infusing the vodka with the blackberries overnight, to give the flavors time to meld (i.e. give the blackberries plenty of time to soak in as much vodka as possible) So last night, that’s what I did, and boy was it hard to wait a whole day!

Basically, I took a carton of blackberries (which equals about 1/2 cup – well more if I hadn’t eaten some), put them in a mason jar, and filled to the top (or almost the top) with Vodka.  Then tick-tock, tick-tock…..

Tonight, I got home, opened the fridge, and the vodka had turned a beautiful shade of purple (or ‘black’ – right) and I was ready to start shakin’!

Bruins Black and Yellow

INGREDIENTS

1.5 oz (1 shot) Blackberry infused vodka

3 oz (2 shots) water

1.5 oz (1 shot) simple syrup (I made my own cal’ friendly version with 1/4 cup of water and 6 splenda packets – makes enough simple syrup for 3-4 drinks, incase you’re extra thirsty!)

Juice of 2 Lemons

Splash of seltzer (optional – I used Polar Triple Berry)

1)  First step is to drain the vodka from the mason jar, using a strainer to separate the vodka from the berries (and save those berry! That is valuable fruit and booze!)

Hello Blackberry Vodka - I waited a long time for you!

Don't be fooled by these innocent looking berries - they pack a mean punch

2) In a cocktail shaker mix blackberry vodka, water, lemon juice and simple syrup – shake a minute or so.  If you think the lemon juice is too tart, you can always add more simple syrup.

3)  Fill a glass with ice and the berries from the jar, pour the mixture over ice, and then top off with seltzer water (if you like the fizz)

4) Garnish with a lemon and enjoy!

I gotta say, this is probably my favorite TT drink so far – it is light and refreshing, the perfect summer drink! I was really hoping it’d be a little more ‘black and yellow’, but pink is a good alternative I suppose.  And the best part is that all in all, it’s a pretty healthy drink, made with all fresh fruit and simple syrup made with splenda (and that means you can drink more of them!)

Unfortunately it didn’t bring a win to the Bruins, but two of these delicious libations definitely helped to soften the blow of the loss for their biggest fan 🙂

Spotted - Dave - drinking a pink cocktail - in a Bruins jersey - Cam Neely would be horrified



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