Lemon Cake Mix Cookies

Well it’s finally spring here and I’ve been away for a while so I could enjoy the warm weather!  But since it’s a rainy, dreary day today I thought it was time for a blog post.  I also debated going for a run or a nap but changed my mind 🙂

My backyard tree has been taken over by a pair of white-breasted nuthatches.  There is a big, dead branch off the main tree trunk that is hollow on the inside.  This is where they have made their nest.  The two parents are busy from dawn to dusk collecting food for their babies inside the tree.  I see them bringing bugs, worms and seeds into the nest all day long.  I can’t wait to see the little babies come out soon!

This is a picture of the tree branch in our backyard.  It’s hard to see but there is a small hole in the branch.  One of the parents is going into the nest and you can just see the tail feathers sticking out of the hole.  There just so happened to be a mama deer hanging out in the backyard today too!

This is the season for baby birds (fledglings) to emerge from the shelter of their nests.  Contrary to popular belief, fledgling birds CANNOT fly.  They will jump out of the nest and remain on the ground for the next few days while they practise and eventually learn to fly.  During this time, the parents are still there, watching them and feeding them.

Many people see these fledglings on the ground and immediately want to “rescue” them.  However, if you put them back into the nest, they will just immediately jump out again.

I used to work at a wildlife rehabilitation centre and we would get phone calls all day long from people finding these birds on the ground and wanting to bring them in, thinking they were either injured or orphaned or just too young to be out of the nest.

The best thing you can do if you have baby birds in your yard that are learning to fly is to LEAVE THEM ALONE.  It won’t take long before they fly away.  Plus, if you try to go near the fledglings, you could be the victim of a dive-bomb attack from the angry parents.

One last thing: please keep your dogs and cats away from the area until the babies have flown away 🙂

The recipe I want to share with you today is a lemon cake mix cookie that is super easy and incredibly delicious.  I got so many requests for this recipe.  These cookies are very, very tart with the use of lemon juice, lemon zest AND lemon extract.  Adding powdered sugar to coat the cookies makes them a bit sweeter.

The cookie dough is very sticky and hard to work with unless you chill it in the freezer for at least an hour.  After that, you can easily roll the dough into balls with your hands.  Chilling the dough also helps to reduce the amount of spreading that the cookie will do.  It keeps them a bit puffier and lighter, rather than being super flat.  I hope you enjoy them.  I will be making them again!

Lemon Cake Mix Cookies

From: http://laurassweetspot.com/2012/05/17/lemon-burst-cookies/

1 (18.25-ounce) package lemon cake mix
2 eggs
⅓ cup vegetable oil
Zest of 2 lemons
2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon lemon extract
⅓ cup confectioner’s sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
Pour cake mix into a large bowl. Stir in eggs, oil, lemon zest, lemon juice and lemon extract until well blended.  I used a standing mixer with the paddle attachment.

Cover and chill the prepared cookie dough in the freezer for about an hour.

Place confectioner’s sugar in a bowl.

Form the dough into balls (I used my hands), roll in confectioner’s sugar until coated and place on baking sheet.

Bake for about 8-10 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Cool for 2-3 minutes on the cookie sheet and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Enjoy!


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