I’ll always wonder why my school never offered (or required) a home economics class. We took shop class as part of the standard curriculum and were later offered electives such as architecture, theater, dance, ceramics, photography, studio art, jazz band, choir etc. But where was the class that taught you how to sew back on that errant button or boil water for pasta? Don’t get me wrong, we were writing papers in middle school. I was well prepared for the academics of college. I spent an enormous amount of time in the theater and took shop multiple times; I can wield an electric drill with the best of them. But so many people I knew went to college never having done a load of laundry or cooked a meal for his or her own self. I suppose one could argue that these are skills taught at home, whereas the others require specialized expertise. But my parents could have taught me to use power tools and taken me to music classes (which they did), and proper cooking and sewing are art forms just as much as music, theater and visual arts, so I’m not sure how well that argument holds up.
I bring this up because I grew up eating Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies every December. And why that happen? Because my mom learned how to make them in her junior high home economics class and continued to whip them up at Christmas for all the years that followed. These lovely, moist, tangy bite of joy came into my life because my mother was taught a lesson at school that she carried with her for years and years. Now, of course I’ve tweaked them, because I just can’t help myself. Also, I like adding booze to just about everything I cook. Just sayin’.
But I’m curious about what you think. Should schools teach home economics classes? Do they? I’m only familiar with my own experiences, so I don’t know if home ec is already being taught. Now, I know that funding is tight right now, and I don’t want to see music or art getting cut, but if you take the finances out of the question, would you like to see a home economics class in schools? Or maybe something covering the same topics labeled “life skills”?
- 7 oz Butter, room temperature
- 4 oz Cream Cheese, room temperature
- 1 C Sugar
- 1 tsp Lemon Zest, packed
- 1 Egg
- 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
- ½ tsp Vanilla Extract
- ⅛ tsp Almond Extract
- 2½ C Flour
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- ½ tsp Salt
- 1 C Powdered Sugar
- 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
- ½ tsp Amaretto
- Food Coloring, optional
- Combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat the two until they are well combined, then add the sugar and lemon zest and then cream, stopping to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary, until the mixture turns pale and increases in volume.
- Add the egg and beat until just combined.
- Mix in the lemon juice, vanilla extract and almond extract.
- Add the flour, baking powder and salt in three batches, mixing until just combined after each addition, scraping the sides and bottom as necessary.
- Transfer the batter to a small bowl, cover and chill for several hours or overnight.
- Once the dough is chilled, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Make the icing now, because you need to ice the cookies while they are still warm. Whisk together the powdered sugar, lemon juice and amaretto until smooth. if the icing is too viscous, add a little lemon juice at a time until is is thin enough to glaze the cookies. If desired, add food coloring.
- Scoop or roll the dough into balls, the size of two teaspoons, and place on the first of the baking sheets. If the dough warms up too much and becomes sticky, chill as before baking.
- Place the baking sheet in the middle of oven and bake for 10 to 14 minutes, rotating the baking sheet half way through, or until the cookies are set. Scoop the dough onto the second sheet while the first bakes.
- Remove the first sheet from the oven and set the second sheet in the oven to bake. Let the cookies set up on the first sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a cooking rack.
- Glaze the cookies while they are still warm by either spooning glaze over them or dropping them (upside down) into the icing from a height of 5 or 6 inches and then gently picking them up and setting them right side up the cooing rack.
- Let the cookies cool completely and then serve or package in an airtight container.
I use a cookie scoop to portion out the cookies. I use the OXO no. 60 scoop, which is equivalent to 2 teaspoons.
If this recipe has you reaching for the milk, you may want to dunk a few of these as well:
Jammie Dodgers | Peaches Please
Fresh Cranberry Lemon Cookies | What Megan’s Making
Maltese Lemon Christmas Cookies | Eat in My Kitchen
Italian Lemon Drops | Cooking and Beer