Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sweet Lemon of Mine

Bowl of Lemons
It may seem like an odd time of year to be celebrating "The Lemon." I mean it isn't as if today is National Lemon Day or anything like that. I'm not even sure there is an actual day to celebrate lemons. Perhaps, there should be:) On this blog, I have celebrated National Lemon Juice Day which, btw, is August 29th. I may have even included a recipe for Lemonade Champagne Punch from the book The Best Summer Drinks by Ray Foley. Way, way back in 2007 I also celebrated the patent of the lemon squeezer by African American inventor John T. White. Just try to imagine lemonade punch without some sort of lemon juice extractor:)
Meet Mr. Lemon
The custom of serving a slice of lemon with fish originally had nothing to do with taste. It dates to the Middle Ages, when it was believed that if a fishbone was swallowed, the juice from the lemon would dissolve it.
On that post, not only did I discuss Mr. White but also the many health benefits of lemons and lemon juice. The post hasn't been updated since 2007, so I'll leave the link for it down below if you want to check it out. You just might, because, there is also a recipe for Lemon Cake Top Pudding that is simply divine:) The unusual recipe will produce a "magical" cake top with a layer of custard below. I was actually going to bake it for today's post but...I got a bit side tracked:) If you just want to see the done recipe, pop on over to Jady's blog. She actually baked it and loved it! (Unfortunately, Jady is no longer posting on her blogs)
Lemons and Candy Canes
You see, the day after Christmas is National Candy Cane Day! Well, that makes sense at least:) Since I won't be "seeing" you all for National Candy Cane Day, I just had to let you know about the day. What's the big deal you might ask? Well, first off, The Candy Cane is swirled in Christmas tradition.
Tradition of the Candy Cane
And second of all, they're sweet! What better way to enhance that refreshing tart flavor of "Mr. Lemon" than to present "him" with some sweetness:)

Lemons and Candy Canes
Those tiny "packages" under the lemon bowl are actual Holiday cards that have been neatly folded into boxes. They are just adorable. I must have around 100 of them for all occasions. I bought them snuggled inside a huge antique candy jar eons ago. I've actually used them for gifts, especially jewelry:)
Candy Cane sweetness? Why of course!
Lemon Peppermint Stick
Sorry about that candy cane flavored powdered sugar glowing on the glasses. These glasses are tall fluted glasses and I sprinkled some of the candy cane flavored powdered sugar in the bottom. Although it looked festive, what a pain cleaning those narrow stems! Not advisable:) However, the ambience of sipping a candy cane straw immersed in that cold pungent flavored lemon, is simply remarkable! You really should consider the Lemon Peppermint Stick one day:) And don't wait until summertime either.
They are so simple to make too. I even found an adult Peppermint Lemon Stick Cocktail recipe, should you be so inclined:)
The candy canes I used for today's Lemon Peppermint Sticks were bought at the local grocery store. They are called Bob's Old Fashioned Peppermint Sticks. When I flipped the box over, I spied The Tradition of the Candy Cane which I scanned above. Next, you just scrub the lemons with warm water. A quick roll is good too to loosen up that tangy juice:) I cut off the top of the lemon and made small slits at the top in the form of the letter X. Just enough to be able to stick the cane cane in the lemon. I snapped off the top and bottom of the candy canes because they were candied solid. After you do that, just give it a firm push and you're on your way to a Candy Cane Lemonade! It make take a while for your "sweet straw" to absorb the lemony goodness but be patient, the peppermint stick will begin to dissolve in the lemon juice and flow sweet, spicy lemony goodness:)
Peppermint Russian Tea Cakes
Did you notice those peppermint snowed cookies? I must admit, I did get a bit carried away with the whole peppermint and lemon flavor marriage. I figured if the tastes was so yummy in the lemon sticks, why not in the cookies too? I was right, think peppermint patty without the chocolate. Oh don't get me wrong, Peppermint Pattys are one of this "gals" favorite treats but let me tell you, these cookies are simply delectable and oh so festive!
Butterballs, Mexican Wedding Cookies
I harvested and adapted this recipe for Russian Tea Cakes from the Betty Crocker Christmas Book published in 2006. Some of you may recognize the recipe as Butterballs, Snowballs or Mexican Wedding Cookies.
One thing is for sure, they are rich, buttery and oh so delectable when you add a bit of pulverized candy canes. (not too much though:) I actually combined these two variations and made them into one! I also candied some lemon peels and used just a tinge of the syrup in the mix. ooo, la, la. If I were to ever bake these again, I think I would add some pulverized candied lemon peel too:) I didn't have any lemon extract so I substituted with half as much lemon juice. A teaspoon of lemon juice probably would have worked too:)
Peppermint Tea Cakes
I have to tell you though, I posted much the same recipe, (I didn't actually make them at that time,) for National Candy Cane Day a while back. That recipe, from The Frugal Gourmet Celebrates Christmas by Jeff Smith, has a cream cheese filling. I also considered baking them with a bit of lemon tang but when I saw these variations I just went with them. Those Peppermint Candy Cane Cookies are one of the most pinned recipes from my blog! Which reminds me, if you're of the notion of "playing" with Peppermint Sticks in the next weeks, just look at all the goodies you can create. I have my eye on that Candy Cane Vodka! (I'm thinking Peppermint White Russian:) But, hey, don't forget the lemon!
Candy Cane Day
What's up next on my Peppermint Lemon repertoire? Hot Buttered Lemonade! My plan is to add some crushed candy canes to the sugar in the recipe and serve it with a Peppermint Stick. Chances are I'll be sipping while I do some blog hopping this evening:) Enjoy, Louise

Hot Buttered Lemonade
1. Squeezing the Lemon (previous post)
2. Peppermint Cheesecake