This week's Sunday Slow Bakers selection made by Jerry is one of my all-time favorites. I made these cookies last February for the Slow Travel Get Together in Paso Robles and they were devoured. There is something about the distinctive lemon flavor and the perfect texture of these cookies that makes them irresistible. You get the lemon flavor three ways—lemon zest, lemon juice and limoncello. Yes, there is limoncello in these cookies, and I bet it would be safe to say that they would taste delicious after dinner with a small glass of that same limoncello. It is certainly an experiment worth trying.
As for the other other secret ingredient, which is really not so secret given that it's in the title of the cookies, the semolina is clearly adding something to the texture of these cookies. Semolina is what gives really good bread that tasty crust. It also adds another jolt of yellow color, so the cookies look as appealing as they taste.
The cookies are not overly sweet, although they are rolled in granular sugar before baking so they have an initial crunchy, sweetness when you bite into them. They are very easy to eat. The seven I put on the plate above would be a good starting point for a serving size. Luckily the recipe makes about 5 dozen, so you should have enough to share with loved ones. And they are easy to make.
The dough comes together quickly in a KitchenAid mixer and then it is chilled for an hour to firm up. One thing that almost tripped me up was that when I first read the recipe I mistakenly read the ingredients calling for one egg yolk and one egg white. So I only took one egg out of the refrigerator. Then as I was mixing the dough, I thought it seemed crazy to separate the egg only to add them one right after the other. So I looked back at the ingredient list and it read one egg and one egg yolk. This makes far more sense and even though you'll end up throwing away an egg white (or saving it for scrambled eggs later), I think the extra yolk adds a little more richness and more of that sunny yellow color.
I used a teaspoon to scoop the dough into balls and it seemed to work well. I rolled them in the granulated sugar and then put them on my baking sheets as directed.
Mine took one minute less in the oven before they turned slightly golden at the edges, so a good reminder to always check before the minimum time stated in the recipe.
Oh, and I have to warn you that they are insanely good eaten warm just out of the oven. You may possibly be tempted to eat every other one as you transfer them from the baking sheet to a rack. But do resist, because they are also delicious eaten hours later at room temperature with a cup of tea.