First things first, it's the beginning of March, and so it's the perfect time to remind you all of the gluten free happenings in our corner of Northeastern Ohio. Grab a pen and your datebook and make sure to mark these down...
* The Greater Cleveland Celiac Association is holding its monthly meeting March 15th at the Parma Community Hospital.
* The Loretta Paganini School of Cooking will be holding a class on gluten free pasta making on April 13th. Register early.
* The Akron Children's Hospital is hosting a Celiac Disease Conference and Vendors Fair on Sunday, April 26th from 11am - 6pm. Please click here for more information.
A final bit of old business, I got a bunch of emails from people inquiring when - oh - when would they be able to find those delicious Whole O's from Nature's Path in their grocery stores. Well, I'm happy to announce I saw the nutty, crunchy cereal lining the shelves of my local Whole Foods a few days ago. That's right Whole O's are now available in a store near you!
And now that that's settled....Oooh is it sunny outside. While I've heard nothing but snowy moans and freezing groans from my New Yorker friends, I'm oh so happy to report that spring is slowly but surely being sprung here on the icy tundra of Ohio.
Promises of 50 degree weekend weather (!) and the extra sunlight this weekend's springing the clock forward is sure to bring is putting everyone in a good mood. And you know what else puts people in a good mood? Cookies.
Okay, I know. After my February sugar rush, I promised a month of healthier eating. And I swear, I've been making lighter, veggie filled dishes that I can't wait to share. Pasta primaveras, homemade pizzas piled high with eggplant, mushrooms, and spinach, and even a great grilled vegetable fajita meal at Lopez bar and grill on Cedar road, all have been taste tested, picture perfected, and ready to go, but for now...I can't help but celebrate the joy of spring finally springing with a great, light lime infused cookie.
Call it an early St. Patrick's day confection, something to serve along side a green cocktail, make it the perfect dessert for a light green salad lunch. Any way you justify 'em, these cookies are perfect for this time of year. With hints of green lime zest emerging from the snowy white cookie, these pastries are also a lovely symbol of March and it's triumph over winter weather.
These treats, neither overtly sweet nor excessively cakey, pair perfectly with a nice mug of hot tea and are sure to help ease you into the lighter fare that marks the summer months. **
Spring fruits and vegetables are showing up in numbers - and at discounted prices! - in grocery stores and farmers markets are weeks away from opening their doors. I for one am eagerly awaiting the return of peaches, fresh picked strawberries, and nectarines. What about you, any favorite springtime food or seasonal recipe your just itching to use that extra hour of sunlight to explore? Take some time, chew on your answer... and chew on a lime sugar cookie, too, while you're at it!
** If you're not yet ready to let go of winter weather desserts, I invite you to review my month of February dessert indulgence:
Lime Tea Cookies
Based on Gluten Free Girl's December 2008 sugar cookie recipe, but adapted and given a lime twist.
2 cups GF flour blend (like Whole Foods Gluten Free Flour mix)
1/2 cup sweet rice flour (I used Mochiko)
1 teaspoon xanthum gum
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
8 Tablespoons of Earth Balance vegan butter spread (butter would be perfectly fine, too)
1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 cup sugar, divided
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
the juice of 1 large lime
the zest of 2 limes
Combine dry ingredients - the flours, xanthum gum, baking powder, and salt - in a medium sized bowl. Whisk together briefly until fully incorporated.
In a large bowl (trust me on this) cream the butter and sugar with a mixer on medium speed until they're just combined. Add in the eggs, vanilla, lime juice, and lime zest and beat again a few minutes more.
Add the dry ingredients into the the liquid one cup at a time, blending well in between each cup. The dough, in addition to smelling AMAZING, will be quite thick. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate - Shauna says overnight, I waited 6 hours. ...What can I say, I wanted my lime cookies.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Roll out the dough as thick or thin as you desire (hint though, thin is better) and using the top of a water glass, imprint circles in the dough. (Of course you cookie cutters if you have them, I however, have water glasses.) Dip each side of the cookie in your remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and place on a cookie sheet and bake for 8 - 12 minutes. Let cool an additional 10 minutes.
For me, these cookies, while great tea cookies, didn't have the citrus burst I was hoping for. So I created two icings, one a lemon-lime simple syrup, the other a lime frosting, to give these cookies an extra special kick. The frosting was great, but if your looking for the ultimate lime sugar cookie, the syrup will yield sparkling sweet and sour perfection.
1 part Earth Balance butter (say 2 Tablespoons) with 2 parts powdered sugar (say 4 Tablespoons) and the juice of 1 -2 limes (depending on how great your butter and sugar parts are ) and mix together until combined. Spread over cookies and let them settle in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. (Of course, you eat them right away, but a bit of resting really does them a world of good). Note: this frosting would make for an awesome filler for lime sandwich cookies.
Simple Citrus Syrup
Combine 1/4 cup of water and 1/4 cup of sugar in a small pot and stir until sugar disolves over medium-high heat. As the mixture begins to thicken and comes to a boil, add the juice of 1 to 2 limes and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice. Spoon as much or as little of the syrup over the cookies and allow them to set in the fridge.