Thursday, December 02, 2010

Pepita-lime crescent cookies

pepita-lime crescent cookies

I had a design meeting with my book editors recently. My contribution? I brought cookies. They enjoyed the cookies but then I felt guilty. See, I made them cookies but I hadn’t made anything for the blog. And since the cookies I took to the meeting will be in the book, I can’t share them with you until next fall. So I decided to bake another batch of cookies just for you. Yes, I made you pepita-lime crescent cookies.

But before I go into details about these cookies, please let me give you an update on my book. Many of you have been asking about it and I realize that I haven’t said too much since announcing that I was writing one. My apologies—it’s been a hectic few months. Though with my December 31 deadline soon approaching, I can happily say that it’s almost complete.

I’m currently revising the second draft of the manuscript and will return to Texas soon for a final burst of inspiration. But for the most part, I’m pleased with the manuscript and even though the testing was completed two months ago, I’m still cooking from it just because I’m in love with the new recipes. I know, I’m being a tease. My apologies. But when the book is finally published, I believe that you’ll enjoy them, too.



I don’t have a release date yet but I’m pretty sure we’re still on track for next fall. They’re going to start working on the cover soon and I think once that’s finalized it’ll be available for pre-ordering. You can bet that I’ll certainly holler when this happens.

Now that you've been updated about the book, let’s talk about the important stuff—cookies. December is the time for holiday baking, with cookies being the most popular thing to make as they can feed many and are highly portable. Not to mention that cookies can keep for a while, which makes them perfect for both giving as gifts and for sharing with loved ones that drop in to spread holiday cheer.

One of my favorite cookies is a classic almond crescent. If you’ve never had the pleasure, it’s a simple shortbread made rich with ground almonds and a shower of powdered sugar. They’re a cinch to make and yet taste elegant and look festive—just what you want this time of year.



When I set out to make a batch recently, I realized I was out of almonds. I did, however, have a huge bag of pepitas—which are hulled pumpkin seeds—so instead of going to the store for almonds, I decided to see how these crescent cookies would taste with pepitas. I’m glad that I did.

Besides swapping the nuts, I made some other changes to the basic dough as well. For instance, pepitas are often paired with the bright flavor of lime, so I bound my dough with lime juice instead of the usual water. A sprinkle of sea salt, a dash of vanilla and a bit of lime zest also added new life to these crescents. I then got really wild and added a pinch of ground cumin. I have to admit, however, that last flourish wasn’t as well received. No matter, these cookies are darn good and I didn’t miss the almonds at all. And if you’re a fan of pepitas, I think that you’ll like this variation as well.

epita-lime crescent cookies

Now please excuse me, but I need to return to my manuscript. Fortunately, I’ll have a plate of these pepita-lime crescents and a glass of milk to keep me energized. But enough about me—now that we’re into the season of cookie exchanges and holiday visitations, what are you baking?

Pepita-lime crescents

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups raw pepita seeds
1 cup butter (2 sticks), room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons lime zest, divided
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Method:
In an ungreased skillet, on medium heat cook the pepita seeds while occasionally stirring for 5 minutes until slightly darker and fragrant. (If your pepitas are salted and roasted, skip this step.) Place the pepitas in a blender or food processor and pulse until ground to the texture of rough cornmeal (be careful when doing this, if you grind them for too long it will turn into pepita butter).

Cream together the butter and the sugar in a mixing bowl. Add the lime juice, 1 teaspoon of lime zest, vanilla, flour, sea salt and the ground pepitas. Mix until well combined. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Once the dough has cooled, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator. To form the cookies, take 1 tablespoon’s worth of dough, form it into a ball and then roll it into a 3-inch-long log. Bend it in the center to form a crescent. The cookies don’t spread much, so you only need 1/2 an inch or so between them on the sheet. Bake the crescents for 15-18 minutes or until lightly browned. They will still be soft when they come out of the oven but will harden as they cool.

While the cookies are baking, combine the powdered sugar with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of lime zest. You can do this in a food processor if you want the lime zest extra fine or just stir the zest into the sugar. Once the cookies are done, cool on a rack for 10 minutes and then roll the crescents in the powdered sugar.

Cookies will keep in an airtight container for a week. They can be delicate, so handle with a bit of care.

Yield: 32 cookies

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40 comments:

kraftedbykelly said...

Sounds super interesting and yummy! And lovely pictures as usual. :)

EBPitcher said...

WOW, that manuscript looks pretty serious. All those tiny letters! I can't wait!

And those cookies look good, too!

Nishta said...

look at your beautiful book! hooray! and those pretty cookies, of course.

Katy M said...

I do love pepitas, and I do love lime! These sound so delicious!!
Congrats on your progress with the cookbook; you know we're out here waiting for it...

Katyroo
AC class of 78

SeattleDee said...

I am really excited about your book progress - but bummed at having to wait for a Fall release.

The cookies look tempting, and serve to remind me that it IS cookie season. I think I'll begin with rugelach and biscotti and then play with some new nutty recipes, including pepita-lime-crescents of course.

Nisrine said...

I would have never thought of combining pepitas and lime. Sounds like an intriguing cookie!

Brenda said...

OH YAY !! So excited to hear about your cookbook. Fall will be here before we know it. Your cookies sound out of this world and I can't wait to try the recipe. Your grandma's chocolate pie was on my
Thanksgiving table last week. Needless to say, I should have made about 4 of them with all the grandkids I had running around.
Much love and good wishes,
Brenda

DessertForTwo said...

Wow, I can't wait for your cookbook! It's so joyous to see Texan food recognized for it's delicious and unique flavors!

I cracked up when you said you added cumin, because I had a feeling you might add cayenne, coriander, or something of the sort with all that lime. It's just a natural pairing for Texans :)

Rachel said...

Great take on almond crescents! These sound so fresh and flavorful! They make me think of Christmas in warm climates.
I'm very excited for your book!

Lau said...

Wow, that sounds like a really interesting use for pepitas. I've had a bag of them sitting in my pantry for a month so maybe I'll give it a go...

Janus said...

I haven't tried these yet, but I thought I would share something I recently read on my LiveJournal friends list:

http://chocolatescifi.livejournal.com/2010/09/08/

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Krafterdbykelly--Why thank you!

EBPitcher--There's a LOT of tiny letters!

Nishta--I think it'll look even better with photos!

Katy M--Good to know! I'm making a fine use of my liberal arts education!

Seattle Dee--I've never made rugelach but it's definitely something I want to try this year.

Nisrine--If you like the two flavors then I bet you'll like this as well!

Brenda--You definitely always should make more than one chocolate pie!

DessertForTwo--I was kind of surprised myself that I didn't add cayenne!

Rachel--Hooray for Christmas in warm climates, I write as I'm freezing in NYC. Ha!

Lau--Put those pepitas to good use!

Janus--That sounds intriguing. Thanks for sharing!

SweetSavoryPlanet said...

I love shortbread cookies with lime in them so these sound fabulous. I like being "forced" to used new ingredients and coming up with something new.

Bruce Swabb said...

Can't wait for the book - I'll be one of the first to grab it. Thanks for another fun recipe...

Lea Ann said...

I make a shortbread cookie every Christmas and look forward to trying your version. I love that addition of lime and of course the pepitas are a wonderful idea.

Pixie O'Kneel said...

Going to try these on "Christmas Cookie Making Day". Thanks for sharing.

And by the way, are you on Facebook?

Avery said...

I will definitely be trying these! I love pepitas; I just hope I can find them here in NE Oklahoma. :-\ I look forward to your book coming out, too. You can bet I will be purchasing it.

Matilda said...

I'm baking traditional swedish saffron buns. You'll find the recipe here: http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/swedish-saffron-buns/Detail.aspx
It's sooooo delicious.

Lesley said...

So here I am, lamenting the fact that I'm drinking coffee and have nothing sweet to eat with it. Wish I was digging into these instead of just gaping at boring old... air. Think Christmas has done a doozy on me this year because suddenly I'm craving cookies all the time.

Buena suerte with the manuscript! Sending you lots of creative, good-writing vibes.

Chl said...

I'm so excited for your book. I hope it's full of photographs, you take such great shots!

Last winter I was graving chocolate covered cherries but wanted them in cookie form. I modified a sugar cookie recipe, tweaked the butter, added almond extract instead of the usual vanilla and dried cherries. I rolled the dough in toasted almonds before baking and then drizzled the cooled cookies with melted chocolate. I'm about ready to fire these puppies up again soon.

Celeste said...

I'm finishing a quilt for Christmas this weekend, but after that I'll turn to baking. All I'm really interested in this year is spritz cookies, since I bought an electric gun and want to fire up the production line. I really love lime in cookies, so maybe some of these will need some lime extract (which I have only ever located at a cake decorating store). If I have time, I may also use the spritz gun to make some cheese straws, too.

HZ in DFW said...

Woo hoo! Thanks for taking a break to update us about the cookbook...sooo excited for it!

I've been feeling nostalgic enough that I might try making my mom's gingerbread cookie recipe, including a house. She was an artist with gingerbread, so it's a bit daunting, but so many good memories are wrapped up in it that I think I will give it a try.

And I had been thinking about pecan sandies, but now it might have to be these pepita lime darlins.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

SweetSavoryPlanet--It's good to try something new!

Bruce Swabb--Thank YOU for being excited about the book!

Lea Ann--You can never go wrong with lime and pepitas!

Pixie O'Kneel--Hope you enjoy them! And I am on Facebook--look to the left and you'll see a link.

Avery--You should be able to find them at a large grocery store.

Matilda--My mom used to make those--I'd completely forgotten about them. Thank you for reminding me!

Lesley--Muchas gracias! And I hear you--I'm craving cookies all the time now, too!

Chi--There will be photos! Those cookies sound amazing! I'll have to try that!

Celeste--Can you believe I don't have a spritz gun--sounds like something I must have!

HZ--I love making gingerbread structures--a challenge but a good one.

Kristen said...

Those cookies sound tasty and unusual. Hopefully someone I know will make some to share since I too hung up making tamales after your last blog.

I can't wait for your book to come out; not that I mind the free recipes you've been sharing for so long, ;-) I know your book will make a great addition to my library since everything you've already shared has been wonderful.

Denise Michaels - Adventurous Foodie said...

Becoming a published author is one of the most wonderful, amazing adventures. Kudos to you!! (My book came out five years ago - but a business book - not a cookbook.)

Once the book is totally done and in to your publisher it's time to think about marketing, marketing, marketing.

Anonymous said...

Oh, goody! Look forward to being able to ordering copies of your book. Let the publisher know that we are ready for it NOW!!!

Thanks!

Pete

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Kristen--They're a cinch, I bet you could convince someone to make them for you!

Denise--That's what they tell me!

Pete--Ha! Don't I wish!

Crazy Random Happenstance said...

These sound so interesting (as with most of the recipes here). I just wanted to comment and let you know how much I've enjoyed seeing your passion and appreciation for the Texas culture. It's really cool to here the stories and history behind the recipes which intensifies the meaning and significance of the meal. Thanks! :)

Sasha @ Global Table Adventure said...

Congratulations on the upcoming book! I found your web site looking for Kolaches.... and saw an amazing post on the subject. Thanks for the education :)

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Crazy Random Happenstance--You're very welcome. It's my pleasure to talk about Texas food!

Sasha--Thank you! Hope you enjoyed the kolaches!

StarvingFoodie said...

Made these yesterday for a finger-food themed dinner party. Much ado was made. Light and crisp, the lime and powdered sugar paired nicely with the nutty pepitas for a unique treat. Thanks for the inspiration!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Starving Foodie--I'm so pleased y'all enjoyed them!

PsychoChris said...

Lisa,

Me, my husband, my unit at work, and my entire vanpool are waiting for your book release.

Your recipes inspire!

Also, your carnitas recipe? Perfection!

Seriously, this is gonna be HUGE!



Christina

Crazy Radishes said...

Hi Lisa,
I just wanted to say that I love your writing and your recipes. These cookies sounded so good that I made them right after reading your post and have even blogged about them. I hope that's OK with you. (Link to my entry is here, I referred to your post: http://www.crazyradishes.com/2010/12/pumpkin-seed-lime-cookies.html ) I cannot wait to read your book - even though I've never even been to Texas, your words always evoke such a vivid picture of the food that I'm sure the book will be amazing.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

PsychoChris--Thank you!

Crazy Radishes--So happy that you enjoyed them!

Mary said...

I have learned so much from your blog that you can darn well bet I'm in line to buy your book. Excited, too! Your Green Chile Bake with Posole completely blew me away; honest to Pete, I crave it. I don't know why, but I was always a bit scared of posole. Not any more!

Erin said...

Excited! I just fired these up with the pepitas roasted in a nice chipotle powder I got at the farmer's market, for my Santa that gave me homemade tamales. This same magical Santa gave me a tip for cutting traditional shortbread - instead of rolling flat roll the dough into a square log and "slice" off each cookie. Such a time saver!

Lee said...

This cookie won our annual (friendly family) cookie throwdown by a landslide!! The cookie is crisp, delicate, buttery, crunchy with a hint of lime and sweetness -- no one can guess the secret crispy ingredient is toasted pepita seeds!! A definite winner!

Anonymous said...

Can the cookie dough be frozen and is so how long? Also can you freeze the cookies after baking and store in the freezer for 2 to 3 months?

Thank You!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Anon--While I've never frozen the cookie dough, I reckon you could. Likewise, I've never frozen the cookies either but I'm sure you could do that, too. For both, I'd say a month or so in the freezer would be enough, though if well sealed then 2 or 3 should be fine, though they could get a little freezer burn.

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