A persnickety recipe that nevertheless produces heavenly lemon cookies
Recipe from Cooking Classy
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
10 Tbs. unsalted butter, softened
1 cup + 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
Lemon zest from 2-3 medium lemons
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
3/4 tsp. lemon extract
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. In a larger bowl, beat butter into the sugar, then add egg and egg yolk. Beat in lemon zest, lemon juice, lemon extract, and vanilla extract. Slowly add dry ingredients until the wet and dry are just incorporated.
Scoop heaping tablespoons of dough two inches apart onto parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10-13 minutes. Cool for two minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack.
Yield: 2 dozen cookies.
Note: The original recipe calls for 5 drops of yellow food coloring, but I found that the lemon and egg yolk make for pretty yellow cookies without the addition. Cooking Classy also includes another step: rolling the balls of dough in powdered sugar before placing them on the baking sheet. Not only do I not like the look of powdered sugar on cookies (it’s too reminiscent of the powdered doughnut holes that are always the last to be eaten from the box assortment), but my dough was way too sticky to roll in powdered sugar, which is probably due to my melted (not softened) butter. Chilling the dough might also make it stiff enough to roll in sugar, if that’s the way you want to go.
KITCHEN CONFESSIONAL: This is a tasty but temperamental recipe. The first time I made it, the cookies came out small and thick; the second time, they flattened out so far that they formed one giant cookie continent on the sheet (see photo below). What did I do differently the second time? I have no idea. The usual diagnosis when cookies turn out flat is overheated butter – instead of just being softened, the butter is melted, making the dough more liquidy. But here’s my dirty secret: I always melt my butter in the microwave. I’m lazy, and I’ve always found it impossible to mix solid butter into sugar with a standard hand-held electric mixer. (That problem might be remedied by a more powerful stand mixer, but go here for my intimidated take on my Kitchenaid.) The two-to-three minutes most recipes call for mixing the butter and sugar “until light and fluffy” has also never sat right with me. The mixture never seems to change much whether I beat it for thirty seconds or three minutes. Once the ingredients are incorporated, that’s it. (I’m sure there’s some chemical explanation for why it’s better to whip the butter and sugar for three minutes, but to me that length of time seems aimed at people doing it the old-fashioned way, with biceps and a wooden spoon. The melted butter has never really caused problems before: I suspect that my cookies are slightly flatter than they would otherwise be, but the taste is great and the appearance is satisfactory. So if I melted my butter both times in my attempts at lemon-crinkle cookies, what made the difference in the second go-around? I have no idea. That’s why I call the recipe “persnickety.” Stay tuned for more lemon cookie recipes, as I search for one that’s not only tasty but consistent as well.