I have not been taking full advantage of summer produce this year. Most of this is because since I no longer work in an office, I no longer have a farmer’s market magically pop up in the street in front of my place of work once a week. I used that as a nice little 15 minute break from office air conditioning, walking around, checking out the goods, and riding up the elevator with a few bags of freshly picked, local produce in my arms. Now, I actually have to make some effort to go to the farmer’s market, and although it isn’t a hassle at all, I have to think about it, and I only seem to remember it an hour after it’s closed.
I also sometimes work on Saturdays, starting before the market opens and leaving after it closes, but I often can convince Ben to pick up stuff for me. After all, although he claims to not care what’s for dinner, even he can tell that a farmer’s market peach is one thousand times better than the mealy rocks from the supermarket.
Needless to say, although I haven’t been frequenting the farmer’s market as much as I’d like, I know that now is the time for everything. And if you have been going, or if you happen to be lucky enough to have a little backyard garden, your fridge might be bursting with delicious produce. Zucchini is often the biggest culprit, and it’s likely to be the vegetable overabundance that you complain about most. It’s good, but it’s not great, and it’s most commonly used as an easy filler vegetable. You can roast, grill or saute it and add it to whatever you want to eat. It adds a little flavor, sometimes a little crunch, but it really isn’t the star of any dish. To me, zucchini isn’t good or bad; it just is. I find myself buying it a lot in the summer, though, because it’s everywhere and it’s cheap.
I came across this recipe for lemon zucchini cookies, and I knew that I had to try it. I really like zucchini bread, and although the recipe is nothing like it, the zucchini gives the cookies moisture just as it does in the spice cake. In fact, it makes the cookies not really a cookie but more of a tea cake. These are light and cakey, and there are vegetables in them, so they certainly aren’t your typical cookie fare, no matter what you decide to call them. They are definitely worth making, though, even if you’re skeptical of adding vegetables to your dessert. Don’t worry; they don’t taste like zucchini. The tea cakes are quite lemony, lightly sweet and only occasionally have a subtle but surprisingly nice vegetal flavor. These cookies are perfect if you find that you have too much zucchini on your hands, and they’re great if you just looking for a new, different dessert to try.
Lemon zucchini tea cakes (or cookies)
makes 18 cookies, 2 1/2 inch diameter
from The Food52 Cookbook
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of table salt
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest, about 2 lemons’ worth of zest
1 cup shredded zucchini, about 1 medium zucchini
1. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar. Add the egg, and mix until incorporated. Toss in the lemon zest and zucchini, and mix until evenly incorporated.
3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, one third at a time, mixing on low until combined after each addition.
4. Drop rounded spoonfuls, about 1 ½ tablespoons, of dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes, turning the sheet halfway through, until the edges are brown and the cookies are lightly golden. Let them cool for a minute or two on the sheet, and then transfer to a cookie rack to cool completely.