Seven Days of Cookies: Lemon Almond Shards

Lemon is not your typical holiday flavor but I love these cookies during theDSC00551 holidays. The bright freshness of the lemon and the super crunch is refreshing amidst the heavier, spicier seasonal sweets.

I pulled the recipe card for these from a Martha Stewart Living magazine while at the salon a few years ago. I’ve been making them year round ever since. If you can get hold of some backyard lemons (or farmers market), it makes a difference. I think these are pretty special.

Lemon Almond Shards

From Martha Stewart Living


3/4 c flour

3/4 c fine ground yellow cornmeal

1 tsp anise seeds

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

3 Tbs unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 c sugar

1 large egg

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

1 large egg white, lightly beaten for egg wash

2 tablespoons sliced almonds

Crystal sugar


Preheat oven to 350. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Gently crush the anise seeds a bit before whisking together with the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Beat butter and 1/2 cup sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in whole egg and lemon zest. Reduce speed and beat in flour mixture.

DSC00552Press dough into an even 1/4-inch thickness on prepared baking sheet. Brush with egg white; sprinkle with almonds and crystal sugar.

Bake until golden, 22 to 25 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. Break into pieces.


How to spring forward…with lemons and blueberries

I do not spring forward well.

I was born in winter, in the late evening. I’ve beenFullSizeRender accused of reverse seasonal affective disorder (or, as I call it, “Seasonal Ugh-stop Neurosis” aka SUN). I have, as one astrologist poetically put it, a lunar affect. I am a Fall/Winter by anyone’s measure.

So daylight savings time in March is a tough row for me. It will take weeks to re-orient, especially this year when spring seems to have missed its stop, what with knee-deep snow in New York and blazing 80-plus temps in Los Angeles.

So this DST day called for a homemade remedy. It called for lemons. And blueberries. And cake. So I called for Martha, specifically her Blue Belles recipe. (I find Martha a great friend in the kitchen because her baking recipes rarely call for ingredients I don’t have on hand.)

Full disclosure: I made this yesterday in order to have it as I slunk forward this morning.

I made the single large loaf using Meyer lemons (plus an orange to round out the juice measure) and Trader Joe’s frozen wild blueberries. There’s a prodigious amount of sugar (next time I’ll reduce the amount in the cake), but the cake itself is not too too sweet. Likewise, there was a lot of the lemon syrup. I don’t like my lemon cakes too wet, so I used only about a third of it. (Because it was sitting there, though, I did add a bit to hot tea and to seltzer later in the day – nice! So I froze it.)

IMG_9390Like most tea cakes, this was very easy. My dodgy apartment oven doesn’t always hold a temperature (dropping at random from 350 to 300), so I needed an extra 20 or so minutes on the bake, giving me a browner cake and thicker “crust” than desired.

No matter, this thing is delicious. Much better the second day. I will say, though, if you’re looking for a tea cake that is bursting with a kind of fruity, zesty freshness, this isn’t it. The sugar doesn’t help, but fresh fruit will obviously make a big difference, especially backyard lemons and farmers market blueberries. (I’m also thinking a Tuscan cornmeal base would deliver a stronger fresh-from-the-garden experience.) That said – this was fast, easy, good, and very welcome on this DST day.

The perfect accompaniment is this Tazo tea I’m obsessed with: BerryBlossom White. It’sIMG_9412 the Jo Malone of teas: Floral and fruity but not at all overwhelming.

PS, Trader Joe’s has had these roses for a couple of months, $4.99 per bunch of 13. $10 a week for a pop of color.

Happy spring!