Blog Summer Flavors

Blog Summer Flavors

The parade of summer fruit has begun: we're getting ready to welcome cherries and blueberries just as strawberries take their leave. Speaking of strawberries, I'm happy to say that last month's Garden Club strawberry lunch went off without a hitch. Because we weren't sure about the weather, we served the lunch inside my house, in three seatings. Luckily, the rain held off that day and guests were able to walk around outside and enjoy the gardens, after eating their fill of strawberry-inspired goodies. We raised enough money for all the town gardens that we maintain, with enough left over to buy bulbs to plant in the fall.

Last week, when I wrote about cookie ice cream sandwiches, I mentioned different flavored cookies you could use to make them. You can find our chocolate and vanilla cookie recipes here, along with a gingerbread recipe that, come to think of it, would taste great as a sandwich with vanilla ice cream. As for the lemon and almond cookies, those can easily be made using our vanilla dough as the base.

For lemon cookies: Combine a tablespoon of grated lemon zest with the sugar in a food processor and pulse a few times to blend. (This step adds good lemon flavor without a stringy texture.) Cream the lemon-flavored sugar with the butter as the recipe directs. Reduce the vanilla to 1/2 teaspoon and add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice.

For almond cookies: Process 1/2 cup sliced almonds in a food processor with a couple of tablespoons of the flour until they're finely ground. (The flour keeps the almonds from becoming too oily.) Reduce the vanilla to 1/2 teaspoon and add 3/4 teaspoon of almond extract. Add the ground almonds with the flour.

The flavor possibilities don't end there. You could add cinnamon (either in the dough or sprinkled with sugar on top, or both), you could use anise extract–whatever you like, as long as it doesn't change the basic texture of the dough. (In other words, no big chunks or large amounts of liquid.) And the chocolate dough is by no means off-limits for variations—think peppermint extract or ground coffee beans. Have fun experimenting!