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  • Leigh

Back to the Sourdough Discard: Soft Lemon Cookies

I had to feed the sourdough children (i.e., the spawn of starters Gertrude and Matilda) yesterday, so I had plenty of discard to devote to something good. As I've mentioned, I simply can't send the discard down the drain. It seems too wasteful. Instead, I decided we needed cookies--some to eat and some to share. Fortunately my husband's coworkers have been accommodating testers. This time, I decided they needed lemon cookies in celebration of spring. The lemon cookies are soft, squishy little pillows that are only mildly sweet. They have the traditional yeasty taste of sourdough but also the complementary tang of lemon zest and juice. The cookies also have a slight nubbiness from the addition of cornmeal to the batter. These are not your traditional lemon cookies that are overly sweet and rather cloying. Instead, the cookies are more subtle in flavor. These cookies will appeal to adults with sophisticated palates as well as to children. I decorated the cookies with pastel sprinkles for spring (and because sprinkles are easy), but, if you really want the cookies sweeter, you can drizzle them with a lemon glaze or dust them with confectioners' sugar. Either would be good. The cookies are great with tea, coffee, or Moscato.

Soft Lemon Sourdough Cookies

Soft Lemon Sourdough Cookies -- Makes 36+

4 tablespoons of butter, softened

4 tablespoons of canola oil

1 1/3 cups of sugar

2 eggs

Zest and juice of one lemon (1/4 cup of lemon juice)

2 cups of sourdough starter/discard

1 cup of flour

1 cup of white whole-wheat flour

1 cup of cornmeal

1/4 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon of baking soda

1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

Sprinkles or sparkly sugar (optional)

Confectioners' sugar (optional)

Glaze (optional)

In a large bowl, cream the butter, canola oil, sugar, and eggs. Mix in the lemon zest and juice well. Stir in the sourdough starter/discard. Mix the flours, cornmeal, salt, baking soda, and baking powder together and gradually add them to the sourdough mixture until everything is combined. You can chill the batter for the day (it won't puff up much, but the sourdough flavor will be a little more pronounced) and bake it later or bake it immediately. When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line cookies sheets with parchment or coat them with non-stick cooking spray. Drop tablespoons of batter onto the cookie sheets, spacing the batter about 1 1/2 - 2 inches apart. Dust the tops of the cookies with sprinkles or sparkly sugar, if you like. Bake the cookies for about 15 minutes or until just firm to the touch and barely beginning to brown. Let the cookies cool a few minutes on the cookies sheets before removing them to cool completely. If you didn't top the cookies with sprinkles, you can dust them with confectioners' sugar or glaze them, if you'd like. Or just eat the cookies plain. They're quite good unadorned.

Lemon Glaze

1 cup of confectioners' sugar

1 - 2 tablespoons of lemon juice

In a microwave-safe cup, stir together the confectioners' sugar and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Heat the mixture in the microwave for 30 seconds and stir it well. Heat the glaze for another 15 seconds, stir it again, and, if it's too thick, add a little more lemon juice, a teaspoon at a time, and stir until the glaze is a little thicker than syrup. Drizzle the cookies with the hot glaze. Let the cookies and glaze cool before eating the cookies.

Soft Lemon Sourdough Cookies

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