Disclaimer: I love anything lemon. The smell, the look, the flavor, all of it. But….. there is a distinct difference in the real lemon zest, just squeezed juice and the fake crap you buy in a bottle. Don’t be fooled, nothing is as good (or even comes close) to actual lemon and lemon juice. Don’t sabotage yourself or your food by falling for the lie, it is all crap…..
These lemon cookies are not too sweet and not too lemony, I think they are pretty close to perfection just as they are. I know I am always preaching “make it your own” but I don’t know many variations that would improve upon this particular cookie and, if you find some, please do let me know! HEre is what you will need:
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- Zest of 3 large lemons (see note)
- 3-4 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups powdered sugar (if you do not have powdered sugar, just put regular sugar in a food processor and grind the crap out of it)
[Note: be very careful when zesting the lemon. There is an under layer on the lemon that is called the “pith” and it is very bitter, this is the white layer you see when you begin to zest. One quick pass with the micro plane or zester will do the trick, don’t go over the same spot twice. Zest 2 for the first part of the recipe (the batter) and save one to zest for the glaze]
Place butter, sugar, vanilla, eggs, lemon juice and zest of two lemons in a bowl; cream together until light and fluffy. Dump the remaining ingredients in the bowl (Except for the remaining zest and powdered sugar) and mix until just blended. Remember you never want to over beat your cookie batter, it is a gluten thing that makes them tough. This is a very tender cookie which is part of its charm….
Place one cup of powdered sugar in a bowl or rimmed plate. Using a small cookie scoop (or a larger kitchen spoon, not the big plastic ones but the larger of the two spoons you have with which to eat), scoop out enough dough to fill the scoop/spoon with a little “mound” on the top. Roll the dough into a nice ball and drop in the powdered sugar. I grab the ball again and roll it around in my hand so the sugar coats the whole cookie. Don’t use two hands and roll together, just kind of roll it around with the one hand, the sugar will then just coat the whole cookie.
Place on a cookie sheet with parchment (or Reynolds non-stick aluminum foil) and bake at 350 for ~10 minutes; don’t forget to wait for 10 minutes after your oven indicates it is preheated to start baking (this is a good tip for anything you put in the oven).
Make a glaze while the cookies are baking. Put one cup of powdered sugar in a bowl with the zest and enough lemon juice to make a glaze, this is a heard thing to measure the amount in which you will need but just add a little, stir, add a little more until it feels like the right consistence. You do not want it to be too loose nor too thick, I brush it on if that helps determine the consistency you are looking for.
Let the cookies cool for maybe 15 minutes and brush with the glaze, it will need to “dry” for maybe 5 minutes. Test one cookie with the glaze to adjust the consistency as you see fit. Oh and, also, I often have either too much or too little glaze, it is a mystery to me how to know exactly how much to use so plan on making more or throwing out some; I am, after all, not an expert.
Enjoy, I hope they are as good to you as they were to me!