Double lemon satisfies your inner citrus freak
Love lemon? Then these soft, scrumptious cookies have your number. They pack a double dose of lemon (zest in the almondy cookie base, plus juice in the glorious glaze).
These cookies are great any time of year, but they’re particularly nice around the winter holidays, when many of us are looking for new recipes.
But be warned: These cookies are addictive. So stash some in a safe place if you want to have any left for Santa.
Recipe: Lemon-Almond Glazed Cookies
Mrs. Kitchen Riffs is the cookie baker in our household. She adapted this recipe from one my mother used for years to make almond crescents, with some additional tips she found in a recipe on Serious Eats.
Prep time for the cookie dough is about 20 minutes, with baking time of 12 to 15 minutes (though you may have to bake multiple sheets of cookies, so allow for that). After baking, the cookies need to cool for about 20 minutes before you can glaze them. So allow at least an hour and a half from start to finish.
Yield: About 6 dozen cookies, depending on how large you make them.
These cookies will keep for several days if stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
For the cookies:
- 1 cup almond flour
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt (see Notes)
- 3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 1¼ cups superfine sugar (see Notes)
- ~3 tablespoons grated lemon zest (see Notes)
- 2½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- ~1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
For the cookies:
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper (see Notes).
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (almond flour, all-purpose flour, and salt).
- In a stand mixer (or in a large bowl, using a hand mixer), cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the lemon zest and vanilla extract, and mix well. Add the dry ingredients, then beat until well mixed (the dough will be soft).
- Scoop out dollops of dough (see Notes) and place on baking sheets, leaving about an inch between cookies.
- Bake until the tops of the cookies are starting to set and the bottoms are just beginning to brown, about 12 to 15 minutes. Do not overbake.
- When done, remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to rest on their baking sheets for about 5 minutes. Then use a wide spatula to transfer the cookies to a wire cooling rack. While the cookies are cooling, you can make the glaze.
- In a small bowl, mix the powdered sugar and lemon juice together. Stir until smooth.
- Dip the top of each cookie into the glaze, or spoon the glaze onto each cookie. Add sprinkles or other decorations, if desired.
- Let the glaze dry for 15 to 20 minutes, then serve and enjoy.
- You can often find almond flour in the “gluten free” section of the supermarket. Or you can order it online (check Amazon.com or other sites that carry baking products).
- We like Honeyville almond flour, but other brands work too. In most parts of the US, the most readily available brand is usually Bob’s Red Mill.
- Almond flour tends to be naturally sweeter than wheat flour, so less sugar is better than more in this recipe. Almond flour also tends to make a chewier cookie.
- If you don't have Kosher salt on hand, you can use plain table salt. In that case, though, I’d reduce the amount by about half since table salt is finer and more “condensed” than Kosher.
- If you don't have superfine (caster) sugar on hand, you can make it easily. Just place some granulated white sugar in the food processor, and grind for a minute or so.
- This recipe requires about 3 large or 4 medium lemons. The easiest way to zest them (i.e., grate their outer skins) is with a Microplane grater.
- We’ve said it many times before, but we’ll repeat: Be sure to use high quality (pure) vanilla extract. Its flavor is so much better than the imitation kind.
- Pure vanilla extract is made by soaking vanilla beans in a mixture of water and alcohol for several months. BTW, the FDA requires that pure vanilla extract contain at least 35% alcohol. If the label doesn’t say “pure,” that means it’s made from synthetic vanilla. The artificial kind is usually derived from the sapwood of several species of conifers—or from coal extracts! How appetizing (not).
- The flavor of some imitation vanillas can be nasty. You don’t have to spend a fortune on pure vanilla extract, but getting decent quality does mean spending a bit more for something that’s not loaded with sugar or imitation flavoring. Do yourself a favor and get the real stuff.
- Oven temperature is important for these cookies, so use an oven thermometer (most home ovens tend to be off by 20 degrees or more).
- We’ve used all sorts of baking sheets for making cookies over the years, including expensive insulated sheets. Nowadays, we just use 11 x 17-inch (jelly roll) pans with 1-inch sides, and line them with parchment paper. They provide ample surface space and the sides keep the cookies from slipping off. Although some of the fancier sheets theoretically make for better results, none of them are likely to perform as advertised in the typical home oven, where baking conditions are sub-optimum at best. So we just go with what’s easiest to use—and quickest to clean up.
- We find that a #60 disher (scoop) digs out just the right amount of dough for each cookie. (It’s called a #60 disher because the bowl is sized so that each scoop is about 9/16th of an ounce, or a little over 1 tablespoon. Thus, you’ll get 60 scoops per quart of dough when you use this size disher.)
- These cookies will puff up as they bake, then sink down when you take them out of the oven.
- Underdone is better than overdone with these cookies. So you really don’t want to overbake them—they dry out quickly, losing flavor and texture in the process.
- If you’re not in the mood for glaze, these cookies are quite tasty all by themselves. Or coat them with powdered sugar for a finishing touch.
- Looking for a cookie with a more noticeable almond flavor? Try our Wedding Cookies (aka Mexican Wedding cookies, aka Russian Tea Cakes).
Lemon Loves Cookies
“The glaze on these is wonderful,” I said. “But you know me—anything with lemon has my number.”
“I thought you’d like them,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “I started out making your mom’s almond crescent cookies, but kinda took a detour.”
“More like a shortcut to terrific flavor,” I said. “Those almond crescent cookies are good, and a childhood favorite of mine. But these are better.”
“Maybe we’ll do the almond crescents next year,” said Mrs K R.
“Well, you have one more post opportunity in our Cookies and Cocktails series this year,” I said.
“Yes, but I’ve already got a recipe in mind,” she said.
“Any cookie I know?”
“Sort of,” she said. “But these went a little nutty and got mixed up with demon rum.”
Sounds like my kind of cookie!
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