Sweet & Tart Lemon Cookies

When life hands you lemons make lemonade right?! Not in my house...we make lemon cookies! This is a great summer cookie recipe that is crisp, tart and bursting with lemon flavor! The act of baking something for someone who might be a little down, not feeling so great or for "just because" can really brighten their day so that is what I did last saturday morning for my Pops. He needed some cheering up and was craving a batch of his favorite cookies so I got right on it! I will state right up front these are yummy cookies worth making however they are a bit labor intensive and have more steps than other cookie recipes. You will have a few bowls to wash when you are done! With that said, with enough time set aside to make them, the right kitchen gadgets (a microplane zester is key) and enough fresh lemons your house will be smelling lemooooony sweet in no time and someone will be enjoying a cookie or two...or three! If you love lemons it might be worth doubling the batch.

Summertime is a great time for anything made with fresh lemons! Nothing is better than the sweet taste of lemon on a hot summers day! These cookies are great enjoyed on their own but you can make them into lemon ice cream sandwiches, lemon cookie sandwiches or even crumble them up to put on ice cream! As I was making them into lemon cookie sandwiches I wish I had some of our fresh blueberry frosting made up that we shared a recipe for last month. I bet it would be divine piped between two of the lemon cookies...lemon...blueberries....my mouth is watering just thinking about it! To view our previous post so you can get the recipe for our fresh blueberry frosting CLICK HERE.

This recipe uses the full essence of the lemon! You zest a couple lemons for the batter, zest a couple more for the lemon sugar you roll the cookie in. You also have to juice a couple lemons, reduce it in a saucepan by half, add butter to it then let cool for a bit before you add it to the cookie batter. Now I did warn you these are labor intensive but as my Pops says they are worth every bite! I mailed them to him in NY on saturday and he told me he waited outside for an hour for the mailman to show up monday with his box of lemon cookies! They were his breakfast and lunch the next day and he was trying to figure out how to incorporate them into dinner too! If you love lemons or know someone who does they are worth making. I've broken the recipe down into a few steps to make it easier to follow.

SWEET LEMON COOKIE RECIPE - makes 28 give or take


Ingredients for this step:

2-3 fresh large lemons

1/2 cup of salted butter

Zest the rind of 2 large lemons and set aside for the batter - using a microplane zester will give you nice finely grated zest which is what you want.

Juice the 2 lemons you just zested and measure to see if you have 1/4 cup, if not you will need to juice another half of a lemon or so until you get to 1/4 cup. Make sure to zest that lemon too before you get the juice from it as you need more zest for another part of this recipe. I ended up needing the juice from 2.5 lemons. As lemon size and juiciness can vary I always purchase an extra lemon or 2 when making this recipe to make sure I have enough.

In a small saucepan reduce the 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice on low until reduced by half. Add in 1/2 cup butter to the saucepan and let melt slowly and turn off heat once it is almost melted. Transfer lemon butter mixture to a bowl and let cool slightly.


Ingredients for this step:

2 more large lemons

3/4 cups sugar

Zest the 2 lemons and add it to the sugar and mix lightly until until combined. Set mixture aside until you are ready to roll your cookies. You can use the juice from these lemons for another recipe.


Ingredients for this step:

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup salted butter

1 cup sugar

1 extra large egg

1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract

1 teaspoon lemon extract or lemon oil (lemon oil will make the lemon favor more intense)

reserved zest of 2 lemons from step 1

reserved lemon butter mixture from step 1

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk flour and baking powder in a bowl and set aside. Beat 1/2 cup of salted butter and sugar until creamy (at least 2 minutes). Add egg and reserved lemon butter mixture. Mix until pale and slightly fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add in vanilla bean paste, lemon extract and lemon zest and mix until well combined. With mixer on low add in flour mixture and mix until combined.

Using a small cookie scoop (about 1 tablespoons size) scoop out 1 level scoop of cookie batter and lightly roll in the lemon sugar mixture from step 2. Place rolled cookie balls on a Silpat or parchment lined cookie sheet leaving some space between the cookie balls. Once you have your cookie sheet filled (my pan fit 12) take a small glass that has a flat bottom and lightly press down the cookie balls making them into rounds. Don't squash them too much but try to get them all around the same size and thickness especially if you are making them into cookie sandwiches.

Bake for 12-13 minutes depending on your oven. If you want them on the crisp side or to make into cookie sandwiches pull them out of the oven just as you start to see the edge get a little browned and the tops get a crackled look. Let cool for a couple minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. If you want the cookies on the softer side check them around 10 minutes. They will need to rest on the baking pan for 5 minutes or until they firm up a bit before you try to move them to a wire cooling rack so they don't break. If any break I guess that just means you need to put them over ice cream.

These cookies stay fresh for a week if they last that long and they freeze well too!

We hope you enjoy and give them a try!

~the girls

Post was written and photographed by Esther and allowed to share with the permission of her Pops who I'm sure has eaten most of the cookies by now :)

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