Around the beginning of April, the weather in Montana gives everyone a brief taste of Spring before retreating back to second winter (and third and fourth and fifth…) with a cruel laugh. Or maybe I’m personifying the weather a bit too much. But regardless, it is those first few hours of Spring that turn my thoughts to the flavors of summer, starting with lemon.
Over the past few years I’ve looked for a go-to lemon cookie recipe, and struggled to find one. I wanted a soft, lemony cookie that didn’t require a glaze or start with a cake mix. It took awhile, but I finally found a great one. The lemon taste is present but not overly powerful; the cookies are soft and chewy, and there’s no cake mix involved. Even better, other than a lemon, it’s all standard ingredients. The recipe is below with my [very minimal] changes and the method I followed to bake them. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
Meyer Lemon Cookies
Adapted from Lauren Brennan
Makes 2-3 dozen
1 stick of butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
zest of 1 (Meyer) lemon
juice of 1/2 to 1 (Meyer) lemon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
- Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicon baking mats. Pour powdered sugar into a shallow bowl or large plate.
- Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy; this will take a few minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine vanilla, egg, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a small bowl and whisk the remaining dry ingredients in a separate small bowl.
- Beat the wet mixture into the sugar/butter until well mixed, scraping the sides at least once.
- Slowly stir in the dry ingredients until just combined. Scrape the sides and mix again briefly.
- Roll a tablespoon of dough into a ball and then roll in the powdered sugar. After all the dough is rolled, (I put all mine on a plate), place in the refrigerator while the oven preheats, or at least 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- When the dough balls are chilled, bake for 7-11 minutes, until the cookies are no longer shiny or melted looking, and the bottoms are barely browned.
- Let the cookies cool on the sheet while you fill the next batch and put them in the oven, then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Try not to eat them all on the same day. =)
- I got about 34 cookies from the recipe, using a tablespoon cookie scoop.
- I used the juice from half a Meyer lemon, but next time I’ll use the whole lemon to give a slightly stronger flavor.
- I found that when the dough wasn’t chilled, some of the cookies turned out very flat and had overly browned edges.
- The darker the cookie sheet the less baking time required. I used light-colored silicon mats on dark pans and my cookies needed 10 minutes.