Golden Cookies for a Blue Day (Lemon Cumin Cookies)

It is the third week of January and the third week of new year’s resolutions. A time, I suspect, when people take a deep breath, pat themselves on the shoulder for saint-style behavior and soldier on with good intentions for a few more weeks before they give into temptation. So when I brought cookies into work today, I was expecting to take most of them straight back home again.

Not so.

Turns out that, when you take ten women, a nine AM meeting and a box of Sarah Raven’s lemon cumin cookies, you are swiftly left with a box of just crumbs. Lemon-scented, chewy-crispy, delicious crumbs. And ten happy women, with more crumbs scattered on their shirts.


I should have seen this coming. I tasted a cookie last night and had to talk to myself sternly not to eat them all. (Okay, I’ll be honest. I had to put them in an airtight container and store them out of sight.) This in spite of the fact that I had just eaten a full meal and had dessert waiting for me. These cookies are addictive.

They also make a great antidote to what the papers are calling “Blue Monday”. Apparently, today is the day when everyone slips into a funk: the weather is vile, the next holiday seems light-years away and our resolutions have taken a nosedive. No wonder we went for the cookies, if the alternative was daylong gloom. We could have fared much worse too, than applying these cookies as a balm to our battered souls. They smell of summer and have a faintly exotic taste to evoke images of holidays in warmer places. Add to that a happy golden color and a satisfying crunch and you have a fine sweet indeed.

So, for those looking for a fantastic cookie or for those wanting a spot of edible escapism: your quest is over. For anyone else: won’t you invite me to your tropical island?

Lemon Cumin Cookies

From Sarah Raven’s Garden Cookbook

Makes about 30
300 gr caster sugar
125 gr butter, softened
2 egg yolks
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons, and 4 tbsp of lemon juice
2 tsp ground cumin
300 gr plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the egg yolks, lemon zest and juice and cumin. Sift together the flour and bicarbonate of soda, then fold in the butter mixture to form a soft dough.

Place the dough on a piece of greaseproof paper and roll into a cylinder about 5 cm in diameter, twisting the ends of the paper together and being careful not to wrap any of the greaseproof paper into the dough. Place dough in the freezer for 1,5-2 hours until it is hard.

Preheat the oven to 170C. Line a baking sheet with a piece of greaseproof paper. Unwrap the dough and cut into 5 mm slices. Place these on the bakingsheet, leaving a very generous space between them to allow for spreading.

Bake the biscuits for 8-10 minutes or until just firm to the touch. Slide them onto a wire rack and then leave to cool.
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