How-To: Glazed Lemon Cookies

When I first saw the recipe for Glazed Lemon Cookies in my first issue of Cooks’ Illustrated magazine, I passed it over. I’d had lemon cookies before. They were just sort of eh. And I love lemon and butter and sugar and flour together. It’s a good combo.

I lent my issue to my husband’s Aunt K to read. She called me after she and her daughter made the lemon cookies. They both went on and on about how lovely and lemony they were.

So, I decided to give them a try.

Since that fateful day about 4 1/2 years ago, I have made Glazed Lemon Cookies for weddings and other gatherings. My friends have requested this recipe over and over.

Just this past Sunday, I took a baggy of the “burnt”ones to church with me to bribe my kids to be good. I ended up giving one to my friend and he loved it. Even though it was burnt! (Yes, I forget to set the timer, too.)

EDIT: Please see this post for alternate directions for making these cookies by hand or with an electric mixer.

Glazed Lemon Cookies
From Cooks’ Illustrated
MAKES ABOUT 30

For Lemon Cookies
¾ cup (5 1/4 oz.) granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. grated zest plus 2 Tbsp. juice from two lemons
1 ¾ cups (8 1/4 oz.) all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. baking powder
12 Tbsp. ( 1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½” cubes
1 lg. egg yolk
½ tsp. vanilla extract

For Lemon Glaze
1 Tbsp. softened cream cheese
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 ½ cups (6 oz.) powdered sugar

Instructions:

For cookies:
1. For the cookies: Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions; heat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. In the bowl of food processor, process granulated sugar and zest until it looks damp and zest is thoroughly incorporated, about 30 seconds. Add flour, salt, and baking powder; pulse to combine, about 10 one-second pulses. Scatter butter chunks over. Pulse until mixture resembles fine cornmeal, about 15 one-second pulses.In a measuring cup or small bowl, beat lemon juice, yolk, and vanilla until combined.With machine running, add juice/yolk mixture in slow, steady stream (process should take about 10 seconds); continue processing until dough begins to form ball, 10 to 15 seconds longer.

3. Turn dough and any dry bits out onto counter (or board); working quickly, gently knead the dough together to ensure no dry bits remain and dough is homogeneous.Roll dough into cylinder approximately 10 inches long and 2 inches in diameter.Center dough on piece of parchment (waxed paper or plastic wrap will work in a pinch ). Fold paper over dough.Grasp one end of parchment. With other hand, use bench scarper to firmly press parchment against dough to form uniform cylinder.Roll parchment and twist ends together to form tight seal. Chill dough until firm and cold, about 45 minutes in freezer or 2 hours in refrigerator.

4. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove dough log from wrapping and, using a sharp chef’s knife, slice dough into rounds 3/8-inch thick. Place on prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 1 inch apart.

5. Bake until centers of cookies just begin to color and edges are golden brown, 14 to 16 minutes, rotating baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through baking time.
Cool cookies on baking sheet about 5 minutes, using wide metal spatula, transfer cookies to wire rack and cool to room temperature before glazing.

For Lemon Glaze:

1. Whisk cream cheese and lemon juice in a medium nonreactive bowl until no lumps remain. Add powdered sugar and whisk until smooth.

2. When cookies have cooled, working one at a time, spoon scant teaspoon glaze onto each cookie and spread evenly with the back of spoon. (I sometimes put the glaze in a zipper lock plastic bag, snip off the end, and drizzle or dollop the glaze on top of the cooled cookies.)

Let cookies stand on a wire rack until glaze is set and dry, about 1 hour.

Variations:

Glazed Lemon-Orange Cornmeal Cookies–
Follow recipe for Glazed Lemon Cookies, substituting 1 Tbsp. grated orange zest for an equal amount of lemon zest and 1/4 cup cornmeal for an equal amount of flour.

Glazed Lemon and Crystallized Ginger Cookes–
Follow recipe for Glazed Lemon Cookies, processing 3 Tbsp. finely chopped crystallized ginger along with sugar and lemon zest.

___________________________________________________________

How-To Pictures and Instructions:





Add flour, salt, and baking powder; pulse to combine, about 10 one-second pulses.


Scatter butter chunks over.


Pulse until mixture resembles fine cornmeal, about 15 one-second pulses.

In a measuring cup or small bowl, beat lemon juice, yolk, and vanilla until combined.


With machine running, add juice/yolk mixture in slow, steady stream (process should take about 10 seconds); continue processing until dough begins to form ball, 10 to 15 seconds longer.




3. Turn dough and any dry bits out onto counter (or board); working quickly, gently knead the dough together to ensure no dry bits remain and dough is homogeneous.


Roll dough into cylinder approximately 10 inches long and 2 inches in diameter.

Center dough on piece of parchment (waxed paper or plastic wrap will work in a pinch ). Fold paper over dough.

Grasp one end of parchment. With other hand, use bench scarper to firmly press parchment against dough to form uniform cylinder.


(This is kind of what you are going for–you are trying to get it as smooth as possible.)


Roll parchment and twist ends together to form tight seal.


Chill dough until firm and cold, about 45 minutes in freezer or 2 hours in refrigerator.


4. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove dough log from wrapping and, using a sharp chef’s knife, slice dough into rounds 3/8-inch thick.


Place on prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 1 inch apart.




Bake until centers of cookies just begin to color and edges are golden brown, 14 to 16 minutes, rotating baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through baking time.



Cool cookies on baking sheet about 5 minutes, using wide metal spatula, transfer cookies to wire rack and cool to room temperature before glazing.

Lemon Glaze:

1. Whisk cream cheese and lemon juice in a medium nonreactive bowl until no lumps remain. Add powdered sugar and whisk until smooth.




2. When cookies have cooled, working one at a time, spoon scant teaspoon glaze onto each cookie and spread evenly with the back of spoon. (I sometimes put the glaze in a zipper lock plastic bag, snip off the end, and drizzle or dollop the glaze on top of the cooled cookies.)

Let cookies stand on a wire rack until glaze is set and dry, about 1 hour.

You may also like

20 Comments

  1. you are like a mad scientist i love it! this is so your element, this blog. it makes me so happy to read and see your talents shine!

  2. These look so great! I’m making them this week for sure! I love lemon treats and the ear doctor just ate the last of my oatmeal/butterscotch cookies last night.

  3. I love these! Your photos were fabulous and helpful. I might make these because I’ve been searching for something lemony and yellow to make for the Livestrong Competition. Do you think I could use yellow food coloring in the glaze?

  4. Lindsey, these photos are so beautiful! Do you take the pictures your self while you bake? I can’t believe it… I’d love to be able to do that. I have terrible lighting in the kitchen so I have to take pictures in the room next door so it’s almost impossible to take good quality photos in the kitchen. Congratulations! Awesome!

  5. Oh I am so glad I found this blog. Those Lemon cookies look wonderful but they probably aren’t too good for dieting – good thing Friday is cheat day!

    I’ve added you to my favorites!

    LOOK – It’s an Etsy: http.glitterme.etsy.com

  6. Refrigerator cookies are the best and yours are no exception! The look fabulously delicious! I love lemons so these are going on my too try soon list!

  7. I don’t even like lemon desserts but your photos and the recipe look like so much fun that I made them anyway! These are fabulous – thank you!!

  8. I love a good lemon cookie, so I tried this recipe. I have not gotten so many rave reviews about it. The cookie came out just right and now I have people asking for a batch of thier own. I must say, this made a GREAT Christmas gift. Thanks so much for the recipe. KZB

  9. I made these today for a get-together tonight.. THIS is the recipe I’ve been searching for!! So luscious and lemon-ey! TO DIE FOR thanks!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *