Lemon Crinkle Cookies

I woke up to the sound of water pounding on our tent, my puppy curled up behind my knees, thunder booming over our heads. An unexpected thunderstorm had hit New Hampshire hard at 2 am, dumping inches of rain into our non-level campsite and flooding out the tents of the friends I’d convinced to try camping for the first time. “It’ll be fun,” I said. “We’ll eat good food and drink cocktails,” I said. “There’s even a river. And a pool. And showers! And a bar.” My persuasion game was strong. Despite never having gone camping before, a bunch of my friends signed up. It was, after all, just a night. How bad could one night be?

As it turns out, it could be pretty bad for some of us. A few of the tents flooded, leaving people sleepless in inches of standing water because of faulty rainflies and failed tarps. When we woke up in the morning, our campsite was flooded so badly that we couldn’t even stay for the epic breakfast we’d planned — instead, we beelined for the nearest diner as soon as the sun came up, savoring the hot coffee with a side of aspirin. It was, of course, a funny memory a few months later. And except for that storm, it was a great weekend: Our dog learned how to swim and we played hilarious games. We ate great food and floated down the river leisurely. I, for one, still loved it.

I grew up camping with my family, spending long weekends along Pacific Northwest rivers and coasts, building forts, riding bikes, clamming, and eating delicious food. Our camping prep always started a week in advance, with my mom making meals in advance and my dad meticulously packing up our van — the entire van, for only 3-4 days of camping. We ate like kings, feasting on prosciutto wrapped shrimp, blueberry pancakes, and chocolate zucchini bread. I remember burning my hand on a marshmallow skewer when I was 6, sleeping with my hand covered in ice and bandages for two nights. My brother had a terrible allergic reaction to strawberries when he was 3 and he broke out in hives — but still, we stayed. One year we got caught in sinking sand while clamming. Another year it rained not one day, but for the entire 4 days of our trip. When I was in high school, I even brought my first boyfriend camping, negotiating parental worry with stealth so we could sleep in the same tent.

All of that is to say that I love camping. I love it when things go wrong but you stay anyway. I love setting up a little home in the woods, not showering, sitting with a book in hand and knowing that there’s nothing to do but read. I love swimming, seeing the stars, and staring into the flames of the campfire for long hours. I love cooking delicious meals over a charcoal grill.

This weekend, I’m going camping in New England for the last time before we move. I’m bringing these cookies, along with pretty much everything else I own, in our car. It’s supposed to storm like wild all weekend. Wish me luck!

Lemon Crinkle Cookies

Makes 12-18 cookies, depending on size. Recipe via LDS Living.
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoons salt
  • ¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • ⅛ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1-½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup powdered sugar

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, cream the softened butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Whip in vanilla, egg, lemon zest, and juice. Stir in all your dry ingredients slowly until just combined, excluding the powdered sugar. Scrape sides of bowl and mix again briefly. Pour powdered sugar onto a plate or into a bowl. Roll a heaping teaspoon of dough into a ball and roll in powdered sugar. Place the cookie on your baking sheet and repeat with the remaining dough.

Bake these cookies for 9-11 minutes or until bottoms begin to barely brown and cookies look matte (not melty or shiny) — underbaking them is always better. Cool the cookies on the pan for about 3 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

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