Vanilla Bean Lemon Straws. Or, Therapy Through Tea & Cookies.

by Matt on January 30, 2009

Lemon Straws

Even though I take all those silly self portraits of me doing absolutely nothing and blog about trips to pretty places I am not much of the relaxing type of guy. I’m actually quite the opposite and find myself nervous or antsy when I’m sitting still. The thought of midday naps freak me out and stopping to sit down for tea or coffee in the afternoon is a luxury I rarely allow myself. Even if I had the time I’d still feel like I was missing something or that something terrible would happen because I wasn’t working working working working working.

Yea, I have issues. I know this.

But I’m trying to grow and slow down just a little bit.

When I got home the other day after I was greeted by Adam clanking away in the kitchen. He had the urge to bake and it’s an urge I completely encourage. Who doesn’t like fresh baked anything the second they walk in the door? But I had a chunk of editing to do and had to submit some images to the magazine I was working for that day before running to Fed Ex to send out a package.

“Taste this,” Adam said.

“I will, but I’ve got to send some jpgs out right now and get a disk out and — ” I blurted out.

“Stop. Just stop for a moment and taste this.”

I guess I needed someone to slap me back into reality.

I took a seat and joined a small tray of cookies that appeared to be waiting for someone to eat. They were beautiful little cookies in the shape of ridged fingers with a faint glaze that was only visible when the light hit the surface at a certain angle. Next to this tray of cookies was a cup of tea, both waiting to be claimed.

I took a bite of this little crunchy fella, then a sip of tea, and then another bite. I picked up another cookie, savoring its vanillaness before moving on to a third and forth. The tea was delightful but I soon realized that for a brief moment in time I was doing nothing but enjoying a cookie and a glass of tea. In the middle of the day, no less. I felt like Divine in “Hairspray” when she said “Broad daylight and I’m sittin’ in front of a TV!” but with just a little less makeup.

I’m happy to say that unlike the cookie my day did not crumble and fall apart from taking a moment to do nothing. My images made it to the photo editor in plenty of time and next time I might just take another tea and cookie break. Why not?

Vanilla Bean Lemon Straws

Martha’s Vanilla Malted Cookies were the starting point for Adam’s cookies. He created them as a companion to a drink he was working on but graciously let me blog and photograph them. You see, if he hadn’t I would have just done the thing I always do when I want to annoy people: I begin talking. And then I talk and talk about stuff and keep going until the person gives in. I’m the most annoying person like that and legend has it that my mom used to bribe family members into taking me somewhere, anywhere, because at age 3 I was already speaking like an adult and would not shut up. I guess I had something to say. Good thing I started a blog.

COOKIES:
3 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup of sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
4 oz  cream cheese, room temperature
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons milk

GLAZE:
1 cup powered sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons water
zest of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 vanilla bean split and scraped
pinch of salt

Preheat the oven at 350˚ F.

With a pencil and a ruler mark out the placement of the cookies on your parchment paper. Each cookie should be about 2 inches and place 2 inches apart. Remember to turn parchment paper over with pencil markings face down before you pipe your cookies.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

In a stand mixer cream butter and cream cheese together on medium, add sugar and  vanilla seeds and continue mixing till fluffy.  With mixer on low add the egg,vanilla extract and milk until combined. Remain on low speed and add the flour mixture, mix well until incorporated. This is a stiff cookie dough.

Use a heavy duty pastry bag and fit it with a 1/2-inch star tip. Fill the bag about 1/4 full, it will give you better control of the dough. Pipe the cookies onto parchment lined cookie sheets following the tracing for equally spaced cookie. Continue to fill the bag and pipe cookies.

Bake in a preheated oven 15-18 minutes until the bottoms are golden brown. You will see this on the edges first.  Remember to rotate cookie sheets halfway through. Move to wire cooling racks and cool on cookie sheets till completely cool.

For Glaze: Combine all ingredients, stirring well, glaze should be quite thin. Dunk each cookie in glaze top side down and place on cooling rack to dry.

Store covered at room temperature for about a week.