Today is National Vanilla Cupcake Day and the US Marine Corps Birthday. Now I know that you were expecting Vanilla Cupcakes. We did that last year, with Butterfly Vanilla Cupcakes to celebrate the Marine Corp Birthday.
This year we’re going in a different direction – more on that later. Let’s talk Marine Corps. The US Marine Corps was first established on November 10. 1775, under the command of the US Navy, to fight in the revolutionary war. Tun Tavern in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania served as their secret base of operation and is considered to be the birthplace of the Corp. When the war ended, Congress in all its wisdom, disbanded the Corps, feeling there was no need for it. The Corps was re-established 15 years lager, on July 11, 1798. For the next 123 years, the US Marine Corps celebrated their birthday on July 11, marking not the original creation of the Corps, but its re-establishment. Then in October 1921, Major Edwin North McClellan, in charge of the Corps’ historical section, sent a memorandum to Commandant John A. Lejeune, suggesting the Marine Corps original birthday of November 10 be declared a Marine Corps Holiday. Commandant Lejeune agreed. The first formal Ball was celebrated four years later.
Between 1921 and 1952, birthday celebrations would take varied forms. Most including a Formal Ball or dance, with some including mock battles, musical performances, pageants and sporting competitions. It wasn’t until 1952 that the celebrations were formalized and standardized. It involves a cake cutting ceremony and the cake is cut with a saber. The first slice of cake is then given to the oldest Marine present, who in turn hands it off to the youngest Marine present. This symbolizes the old and experienced Marine passing his knowledge to the next generation of Marines.
I don’t know about you, but I love ceremonies that are rich in tradition.
The recipe I’ve chosen to share today is in keeping with my Baking Project for next year’s Parish Cake Walk. The cookies contain blueberries, which made me think of Marine Dress Blues. These are very similar to shortbread cookies, backed with buttery goodness. My guys loved them. Enjoy!
Blueberry Lemon Zest Butter Cookies
2 cups Flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 Lemon, zested
2 Egg Yolks
1 cup Butter, softened
1 cup Sugar
1 (3.5 oz) pouch Dried Blueberries
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
Powdered Sugar as needed
Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside. Zest Lemon, set aside. Separate egg yolks from white. Discard whiles or save for another purpose. Set yolks aside.
Beat butter in a mixing bowl using an electric mixer until creamy, about 1 minute. Add sugar and beat until blended. Add egg yolks one at a time, followed by blueberries, lemon zest, and vanilla extract.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat 1 minute more. Reduce the speed of the mixer to low and add flour mixture, mixing just until a smooth dough forms.
Divide dough in half. Shape each half into logs 1-1/2 inches in diameter and 10 inches long. Wrap logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.
Note: Dough may be frozen at this point and thawed in the refrigerator when ready to bake.
Place oven rack in the center position. Heat the oven to 350 degrees
Unwrap one dough log. Slice into 1/4-inch thick rounds. Place rounds 1-inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake in the heated oven until edges start to turn golden, about 12 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cookies rest on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely, about 15 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough. Once cooled, dust with powdered sugar.
Arrange on a platter to serve or keep in an air-tight container to enjoy as desired.