Like Maria mentioned, we all have our favorite variations of the Joy of Cooking's Sugar Drop Cookies with Oil. The original recipe is perfect, so I don't typically mess with it. At the most, I might add some vanilla bean powder to the sugar that the cookies are rolled in, giving them a pretty vanilla-flecked exterior. But sometimes for a party I think it's fun to have a whole spread of the same cookie in different variations. Since these are so simple to mix up, and quick to bake, you can churn out a bunch of different variations within an hour.
One variation that's always a winner is lemon & lime. For this method, I omit the cinnamon and measure out the ingredients in two separate batches -- half the dry ingredients in one bowl, half in another. I mix up half of the wet ingredients in a bowl, add the zest of a lemon, combine with half the dry ingredients, roll and bake. Then I do the same thing again with the zest of a lime and the remaining half of the ingredients. While the cookies cool, I mix up two batches of icing -- one of lemon and the other of lime. The cookies' tops are dipped in the icing to create pretty little iced cookies, perfect for afternoon tea.
lemon & lime drops
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
zest and juice of 1 lime
zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 cups of powdered sugar
yellow and green food coloring
Preheat oven to 375.
Sift together half of the flour, baking powder, and salt into one mixing bowl, and half into another
In a large bowl, whisk together half the oil and sugar. Add one egg, the zest of the lemon, and the vanilla. Whisk well.
Add half the dry ingredients to the lemon-flavored wet ingredients and mix to combine.
Roll into roughly twenty tablespoon-sized balls and place on a cookie sheet.
Bake 10-12 minutes, rotating halfway through.
While the lemon cookies are in the oven, whisk together the remaining half of the oil and sugar in the same bowl (no need to clean out). Add one egg, the zest of the lime, and the vanilla. Whisk well.
Add the remaining half of the dry ingredients to the lime-flavored wet ingredients. Mix to combine. Roll into balls, place on a cookie sheet, and pop in the oven to bake once the lemon cookies come out.
While you wait for the cookies to cool, divide the powdered sugar into two bowls. squeeze about 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and 1-2 drops of yellow food coloring into one, and 1 tablespoon of lime juice and 1-2 drops of green food coloring into the other. Stir each and add a little more juice until the consistency is smooth and pourable. (You want it to be slightly thick; if the icing is too thin it will run off your cookies without setting.)
Dip the tops of the lemon cookies into the lemon icing; dip the tops of the lime cookies into the lime icing. Place them on a cooling rack until the icing is set and hard to the touch. Enjoy!
Makes 40 cookies, about 20 of each flavor.