Mom on the Run: Lemony cookies

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNISShortening gives these Lemony Cookies a delicate crumb to go with the light citrus taste. Show caption
Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNISShortening gives these Lemony Cookies a delicate crumb to go with the light citrus taste.

When life hands me lemons, I prefer cookies to lemonade.

And, it’s lemon season in south Louisiana. And satsumas. And oranges. And every other kind of delectable citrus that our balmy climate affords us. I like to think of it as the payoff for our summers.

There’s something special about an orange when it’s chilly out. A sharp, bright ray of sunshine on a dreary December day; a burst of summerish sweetness when you least expect it.

Now that I live here and can grow my own — my poor little satsuma tree managed five fruits this year, but that’s OK, it’s tiny — it’s even better.

There’s something truly special about walking out in the yard, plucking a satsuma from the tree and enjoying it out of hand.

Even though I’m the laziest of citrus growers, fertilizing and pruning only when there’s some sort of dire emergency, my trees have been kind and continue to fruit faithfully. Maybe lazy isn’t quite the word, even though there’s a generous helping of it there.

My little citrus trees make me nervous. So unfamiliar, so fragile, so vulnerable to things like frost. I know, I know, it only gets frosty a handful of days. But any temperature starting with the number three sends me rushing to Google and spreading all sorts of contraptions to keep them warm.

The best — and as yet untried — idea is to put Christmas lights on them. Much prettier than my old bedsheets.

Citrus is beautiful in the yard but even better in the kitchen. I love to sprinkle lots of fresh citrus into my holiday baking and candy-making. Key lime fudge, orange spice bread and these new favorites, a delicate lemon cookie. While I appreciate the richness butter brings to a cookie recipe, you can’t beat shortening for delivering a light, delicate cookie.

Both in texture and taste, these lemony treats are the perfect foil for rich holiday desserts and drinks. They’re perfect with a cup of hot tea, a good book and a couch.

Beth Colvin is The Advocate’s assistant Food editor. Email bcolvin@theadvocate.com.