Celebrate Gaudete Sunday and the third week of Advent with these “hint of summer” lemon-clove cookies.
by Ryan Langr
Christmas is nearly here! This year, Gaudete Sunday (gaudete means “rejoice” in Latin) means we only have a week and a day until Christmas. How quickly this Advent has flown by.
My wife’s family decided this Christmas that we should do a cookie exchange. Each couple (there’s four total) will make four four dozen cookies to trade with the rest of the family. Not only does it alleviate some of the cookie-baking frenzy off of one person, but it allows us all to share and put our own spin on the holiday baking.
I was trying to figure out what recipe to make for this third week of Advent, and none of the feast days really resonated with me. Luckily, I realized that these lemon-clove cookies that I decided to make for my family would also be perfect to another aspect of Christmas — a light in the darkness.
The lemon-clove cookies are very easy, and relatively quick, baking in just 8-10 minutes once you get them all mixed together. You don’t need a mixer or any extraordinary ingredients. The best part, in my opinion, is that they’re a little hint of summer in a cold, dark winter.
Butter: 1 cup (2-quarter sticks), softened
Sugar: 1½ cups
Lemon Juice: 1 teaspoon
Lemon Zest: 1 tablespoon (approximately 1 lemon’s worth)
Vanilla: 1 teaspoon
Salt: ½ teaspoon
Baking Powder: ½ teaspoon
Flour: 2 cups (If you are at higher altitudes, you may need to use an extra ¼ cup)
Crushed Cloves: 1 teaspoon
Powdered Sugar: 1½ cup
Lemon Juice: 1 tablespoon
Lemon Zest: 1 tablespoon
Milk: 1 tablespoon
Vanilla: ¼ teaspoon
Crushed Cloves: 1 teaspoon
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or grease it. If you have a stonewear pan you use exclusively for cookies, you can also use that.
2. In a large bowl, whisk the butter and sugar together. Add egg and beat in well. I was able to do this by hand without any difficulty. Just make sure the butter is nice and soft.
3. Add lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla. Mix until well blended.
4. Add salt, baking powder, flour and cloves. Mix until well incorporated.
5. Roll cookies into 1-inch balls and place on the cookie sheet. The dough should be 1-2 inches apart.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until lightly golden on the edges of cookies. Makes approximately three dozen.
7. Make the glaze as the cookies are cooling. Combine glaze ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth glaze is formed. I had to to add slightly more milk and heat it in the microwave to keep from being too hard.
8. Drizzle as much as desired over slightly warmed cookies and let finish cooling completely before eating.
A Light Among the Darkness
Did you know that one of the beautiful things about Christmas is that it’s the darkest time of the year? The nights are longer than the days, and for many people, it’s not always a joyful time. Sometimes death, depression, or other sorrows cloud the normally joyful season.
In the midst of this darkness, the light of Christ enters the world and shines brightly. It is a reminder that even in the darkest times of our life, Christ is still there, shining brightly for us. Sometimes that’s all we can hold onto, and that is why Advent is so beautiful — the light at the end of the tunnel is glorious.
I didn’t intend on meditating on this when I made these lemon cookies. I just really wanted something that didn’t remind me of a cold, dark winter. It was later that I realized this was an Advent disposition.
“Gaude, gaude! Emmanuel
nascetur pro te, Israel.”
“Rejoice, Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.”