After posting this cake, I received several emails and comments from people here in Brazil asking me where I had bought poppy seeds, because they couldn’t find the seeds anywhere. I had no idea there was something going on – I had purchased the package a while before that.
I call the store I usually buy spices from and the employee told me that poppy seeds had been forbidden in Brazil for a while; now, they are no longer banished, but there are so many rules for importing them that the companies prefer not to. I am so mad! I don’t write about politics on my blogs because it’s not my goal and I respect my readers, but I thought that forbidding poppy seeds is too much – there are so many illegal and wrong things happening in Brazil that they should worry about what really matters.
I baked these super yummy cookies months ago and publish them now hoping this ridiculous situation ends soon and Brazilian cooks and bakers can use poppy seeds again.
Lemon poppy seed cookies
¼ cup (60ml) lemon juice
1 cup (226g/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ¼ cups (250g) sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 teaspoons lemon zest
3 cups (420g) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon poppy seeds + extra for topping
Preheat oven to 175ºC/350ºF; line 2 large baking sheets with baking paper.
In a small saucepan, bring lemon juice to a simmer and let reduce by half. Once it has reduced add ½ cup of butter (113g) and let melt, remove from heat and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt, set aside. In another bowl whisk remaining ½ cup of butter (113g) and 1 cup of sugar (200g) together until smooth and creamy. Beat in egg and melted lemon-butter mixture, beat on medium-high with an electric mixer for 3 minutes, or until very light and pale in color. Mix in vanilla, poppy seeds and 3 teaspoons of lemon zest; once combined, add dry ingredients and mix on low until smooth, you may need to stir in the last 1/3 to 2/3 of a cup by hand. Blend until smooth.
In a plate, combine the remaining ¼ cup of sugar (50g) with 1 teaspoon of lemon zest – rub the sugar and zest between your fingertips to obtain a lemony sugar. Roll leveled ½ tablespoons of dough into small balls and place on a prepared cookie sheet, 5cm (2in) apart. Using a very slight moist glass, dip the bottom into sugar mixture and flatten cookies, follow by sprinkling a few poppy seeds and a pinch of the sugar+zest mix over the top of each cookie.
Bake for 11-12 minutes (mine needed 14) or until perfectly golden around the edges. Let cool for a few minutes before transferring the cookies to a wire rack.