For my first Bakin’ Friends package, I couldn’t just be ordinary. I needed something fun and different, a way to show I was worthy to be invited into their special club. When I heard the secret ingredient was sprinkles, I was honestly crushed at first. Sprinkles means cupcakes! There was no way I was attempting to send cupcakes through the mail—they barely make it to New Jersey via car safely. The second most logical option was cookies. Sugar cookies with royal icing and sprinkles.
Since cupcakes, my forte wasn’t an option, I figured the next best thing was to make homemade sprinkles. The recipes I came across were pretty simple. Color royal icing, pipe it into a thin line, dry and cut. I could handle that. Though apparently Mother Nature wasn’t so into the idea. The week I chose to bake was a recording breaking heat wave. The temperature was in the high 90s with humidity compounding it, making the days hot and sticky, and well above 100°F. There was no way sprinkles would try even if I left them out for days. I was luck to get the icing to dry, well, sort of dry.
Cupcakes were out as were homemade sprinkles. My creativity became stifled. It was only when I turned to my miniature urban garden that inspiration finally struck. I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of mixing sweet and savory, ever since I ordered a tomato tart with basil ice cream for dessert at Artisanal. Remembering those bright basil flavors, I decided to go with lemon basil sugar cookies. The sprinkles and icing were both purchased, due to the heat, but next time will be all from scratch. I’m thinking these would make a delicious early fall treat.
Lemon Basil Sugar Cookies (Makes about 3 dozen)
- 3 c all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp lemon powder
- 1 1/4 c sugar
- 1 c (2 sticks) butter, softened
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 c fresh basil, minced
Preheat oven to 350°F. Sift flour, baking soda, salt and lemon powder in a medium bowl. Set aside. In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream sugar and butter on low speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well between each. Add in flour mixture, half at a time, until fully combined. Stir in basil.
Form dough into 1-inch balls and flatten slightly on parchment lined baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool cookies completely on a wire rack. Frost with royal icing and cover with sprinkles (and maybe some candied violets). Let icing dry 1 hour before enjoying.
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