Lemon Drop Cookies and a Goldfinch

IMG_0704This post evolved in a circuitous fashion: first I took some pictures of an especially handsome goldfinch, and then the bright yellow of his feathers reminded me of lemon drops (it was right before dinner), an old-fashioned hard candy. I could remember the little blue and yellow cardboard box that lemon drops came in, and that they cost a quarter. They were made by Ferrara Pan Candy Co., in Forest Park, Illinois, which was near where I grew up. Somewhere I had heard of cookies made with crushed lemon drop candies, and soon I was hunting for the recipe, and for lemon drops.

I found lemon drop candies at the local grocery store, but they came in a bag for $2.99. So much for the old days! But they were still made by the Ferrara Candy Co. Soon I was in the kitchen, bashing at the candies with a big rolling pin. The cookies, while plain looking, deliver a lot of buttery, lemony tanginess, and are quite delicious. The recipe came from the Taste of Home magazine.

I don’t recommend making these cookies without first lining your cookie sheet with parchment paper. Melted candy could stick to an unlined sheet, even if its greased, and cause problems.

Lemon Drop Cookies

IMG_06941/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon half-and-half or milk
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup finely crushed lemon drops
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, cream, and peel. Combine the flour, crushed lemon drops, baking powder and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture and mix well.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 3 inches apart onto the lined cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until bottoms are brown. Cook for five minutes before removing from baking sheet.

Note: I crushed the lemon drops in a heavy-duty plastic sandwich bag that seals at the top. I covered the bag with a dishtowel, and bashed it with a large rolling pin, though you could use a hammer. It took a heaping 1/2 cup of lemon drops to yield the 1/2 cup crushed. Keep in mind that when the cookies come out of the oven, the lemon drop shards are melted and very hot. So wait until the cookies have cooled before handling.

IMG_0721By the way, I made the vase in these photos with a bottle cutter called a Kinkajou Bottle Cutter, which can be purchased online. The bottle was from some mineral water, and with the bottle cutter, I cut off the top. Then I sanded the edges, and using a wine cork, printed big, lemon-drop colored blobs on the glass with enamel craft paint. It was fun! Wine and water bottles make nice, heavy-duty vases, and I also plan to make a little water bowl for use while I work on watercolors. You can also make drinking glasses.

And here are pictures of the goldfinch, whose neon yellow feathers made me think of lemon drops.

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It was a beautiful day!

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The swamp milkweed was looking a bit cloud-like, itself . . .

IMG_0565A visitor!

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And a sunflower opens. Nice to see it! Namaste. Fran

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