I’m not much of a baker, mainly because I love savory food so much more than sweets. I’d choose macaroni and cheese as a treat over a piece of cake any day. But something about the holidays brings out the urge to bake cookies. Lots of cookies! In the past week I’ve made peanut butter cookies embedded with a chocolate kiss, hazelnut crinkle cookies, and Norwegian lemon bonbons. These buttery, crumbly, bite-sized cookies are a classic in my family. Every December my grandmother would send a tin stuffed with her famous Million Dollar Fudge and lemon bonbons, both of which vanished in a matter of minutes.
Why the cookies are called Norwegian lemon bonbons is a mystery, since lemons aren’t exactly a native fruit in Norway, but why they taste so good is more obvious: the recipe calls for two sticks of butter. My grandmother’s original cookie only has five ingredients: butter, powdered sugar, corn starch, flour, and pecans. I’ve since added salt and lemon zest to the equation. Either way these cookies taste best with a cup of tea in hand.
I hope you all have a very happy holiday! I’ll be back next week, hopefully with a couple of new cookbooks to review.
Norwegian Lemon Bonbons
Makes 4 dozen cookies
Since this cookie is almost all butter, splurge on a good one, such as Pelugra. As the cookies bake, your kitchen will fill with a decadent buttery, citrusy scent. It’s irresistible!
1 cup butter (2 sticks), plus one tablespoon for the glaze
1 1/3 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup cornstarch
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Zest of one lemon
1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Blend 1 cup of the butter, 1/3 cup of the powdered sugar, cornstarch, flour, sea salt, and lemon zest together. Cover and refrigerate for 1/2 hour. Place the chopped pecans in a shallow plate. Scoop out teaspoon-sized bits of dough, shape them into a ball, and then roll in pecans. Space the cookies 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake for 15 minutes, or until their bottoms are golden brown. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for two minutes before carefully moving them to racks.
To make the tart lemon glaze, beat together the remaining powdered sugar with 1 tablespoon of butter and the lemon juice. I like to drizzle the glaze over the cookies while they are on the racks (be sure to place a piece of parchment under the racks to catch any glaze that falls through). After the glaze soaks in, add additional layers. The cookies keep well for up to a week if stored in an airtight container.