I live in a pretty busy part of town. Bloor runs down rush-hour-ery and vibrant and obnoxious with all kinds of city buzz. There is no stopping. Except when you come across an insistent patch of ice on the sidewalk. Even when the weather eases up for a few hours; everything melts but this particular patch. I love watching people forced to stop, to slow down, to tell the truth about this little rough patch.
Winter is all about devising tricks. How to deal with icy problems, dark days? Besides staring at the expression of strangers crossing slick sidewalks in the city, I’ve learned a few things.
I force myself out in the winter. I force myself to be social like old ladies attending Aqua-fit lessons at the YMCA do– they don’t go for the exercise, but to smile at one another and comment on whether there were enough parking spots that day or not. It’s a push, a sort of blind thrust to go forward, to put oneself out there and cross the ice patch.
I try to remember that I’ve seen bundled newborns strolled around in weather I deem totally unfit for human existence. And they lived!
My tricks for winter-living require going to the gym, wandering around bookstores, heading out hung-over whether I like it or not, and trying to be around people. This is where baking comes in handy.
When you must be alone: bake. Be totally enveloped in zesting dough, letting powdered sugar get in your hair, and watching the kitchen window fog with sugary hot air from an open oven door.
By the time you’re forced to go out, get to class or work, you’re a pioneer facing the elements. And you get to arrive with home-baked treats! It’s an offering of hope, a hand extending over the ice patch, a tiny moment of communion over the fact that winter might suck but you’ll make it through together.
These are Margarita Cookies, emulating a bit of sunshine. They’re regular chewy sugar cookies with a bit of lime butter, a splash of tequila and a sprinkle of sugar & salt to totally re-imagine a classic recipe. A cookie vacation. A winter dream.
This is an awesome sugar cookie recipe. You start off with 2 cups of sugar and 1 cup and 1/4 of butter. I replaced the 1/4 cup of regular butter with the lime butter I used recently for my Valentines Day Ombre Pancakes. If you don’t want to make butter from scratch, that’s cool. Just add the zest of two limes and half a lemon as you cream the butter and sugar. Creaming is an important step, it’ll break up the sugar granules and make your dough smoother. Then, add two eggs, one at a time, and a capful of vanilla extract.
I sneaked two teaspoons of tequila into the Margarita Cookies. Just a hint of flavour (you can definitely go up a teaspoon or two, if you’re feeling wild!). Time for the dry ingredients: 2 3/4 cups of flour, a teaspoon of baking soda, and half a teaspoon of salt. Voila! Your dough is made.
Now here are the tricks which will make your cookies look profesh: Stick the dough in the fridge. Because there’s a lot of butter in there, you don’t want it to just ooze and melt in the oven.
When the dough has cooled and is firmer, grab a tablespoon measurement and scoop out individual amounts. Roll them into balls. All of your cookies will be the exact same size and will look gorgeous. Stackable!
Your Margarita treats go into the oven at 350 degrees. Keep and eye on them, don’t let them brown! Meanwhile, you can make a zesty sugar dust that will mimick the salted rim that typically goes on the cocktail glass. I made a few mistakes adding in too much salt. You want just a grain here and there to pop-up. So put powdered sugar in a bowl, zest a fourth of a lime or lemon and mix them together. Then, grab a pinch of salt and add a sprinkling. Taste as you go until you’re happy with the sugar/salt ratio. Less is more: best to catch the eater by surprise and not give them a salty smack in the face!
I brought Margarita Cookies to my copy edit class as a post-test reward and they were a total hit. So the only rule about this recipe? Don’t forget to share!