I lied to Jane before bedtime – saying that we would make lemonade when she woke up in the morning – just to get her to stop talking about how Maisy Makes Lemonade. I felt guilty about making a “pie crust promise” (easily made, easily broken), especially since Jane will never let a promise go. But serendipitously, a gal at work gave us a bounty of Meyer lemons so I actually could follow through this time!
It was perfect timing because our schizophrenic Bay Area weather shot up to the 80s and we were in need of some serious refreshment. Here’s how we made a distinctively smoky and molasses flavored lemonade from meyer lemons and turbinado cane sugar:
Toddler Turbinado Lemonade
- 6-8 Meyer lemons
- 1 cup turbinado raw cane sugar
- 1 gallon of water (1 cup boiled or piping hot)
- a bucket of ice
- mixing bowls, a pitcher and a wooden spoon
- one eager toddler
First, wrangle your enthusiastic toddler outdoors.
Second, slice the lemons cross-wise and then slice the halves once more so your toddler can easily hold the lemon quarters in her hands.
Third, get your bowl or measuring cup filled with sugar, set your toddler loose with the lemons and let her squeeze to her heart’s content.
This part of the recipe is a great tantrum tamer – your child can squeeze out all of her pent up frustration!
Fourth, pick out all the seeds by hand and then add one cup of hot or boiled water to the lemon juice-sugar mix .
The proper way to do this would be to squeeze the lemon juice into its own container, strain the juice with a sieve and then add the juice to the sugar – but this is a toddler friendly recipe: super quick and easy!
Fifth, pour the juice-sugar-water mix into a pitcher. Then have your toddler add as much cold water and ice as she sees fit. Let your little one have at it because you want to dilute the juice mix quite a bit or the lemonade will end up much too sweet.
This is a great pouring, stirring and tasting exercise that will keep your busy bee occupied forever!
Don’t be surprised that the color is a bit darker than traditional lemonade because of the brown sugar – more like iced tea:
What makes this recipe’s glass of lemonade so special is the subtle smoky mellow flavor of the Meyer lemons and the distinct molasses flavor of the turbinado raw cane sugar. The recipe would work just fine with regular Eureka lemons and refined sugar, but you won’t get the same delicious complexity.
Crunchy Lemon Sugar Cookies
Now, what to do with all those lemon rinds? Lemon sugar cookies, that’s what!
I used a recipe from a sweet little baking blog that *gasp* has been taken over by an obscene site, so I can’t give credit where credit is due or post a link to the original recipe, but here is what I used as my guide:
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups sugar (try the turbinado!)
- 2 tbsp lemon zest (or use larger slices of the peel for more zing!)
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2-3 tbsp sugar, for rolling (you’ll need more for my super-crunchy version!)
- Preheat oven to 375.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
- In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar and lemon zest until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla extract. Gradually mix in the flour at low speed.
- Shape 1-inch balls of dough and roll each ball with a generous coating of the reserved sugar.
- Bake for 9-11 minutes, until set but not browned (or only very lightly on the bottom). The edges should be slightly firm.
- Cool the cookies on the pan for one minute before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the cookies more lemony, I used more of the peel – instead of a true zest, scraping the rind with a traditional vegetable peeler instead of a microplane grater – and I increased the amount of “zest” from 2 tablespoons to as much as I could scrape off of the 6-8 lemons we used for the lemonade. Also, I rolled the entire surface of each dough ball in turbinado sugar – instead of regular sugar – for the extra molasses flavor and a great crunch!
Stay tuned for Meyer Madness Part II, filled with lemon bars, iced lemon cookies and more lusciously lemony recipes.