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Triple Lemon Sugar Cookies

May 12, 2012

We’ve all had sugar cookies that are bland and hard as a rock…what a disappointment.  My go-to sugar cookie recipe has some lemon zest and I love the subtle layer of flavor it provides.  However, making and decorating sugar cookies can be time consuming.  It’s fun and festive but I don’t always have time to chill the dough, roll it out then make the frosting and decorate them.  I hate it when work gets in the way of my culinary aspirations!

I recently came across a Cook’s Illustrated recipe for chewy sugar cookies  and I knew I had to try it.  I’ve started reading Cook’s Illustrated more lately and their approach to perfecting a recipe is great.  Plus, I love chewy cookies!  There was no chilling the dough, just your typical cookie recipe steps with a few tricks and after  a quick roll in sugar, no need for frosting or decorating.  Upon further investigation, I came across a lemon version.  Yum!

I was sending a package to my brother and sister-in-law as well as my former college roommate who just moved to DC.  What better way to tell someone you love them than a package with some homemade cookies?  I won’t offend you polite readers with the expletives my brother used to describe the cookies but let’s just say he loved them.

Triple Lemon Sugar Cookies
adapted from Cook’s Illustrated and The Craving Chronicles
yields about 36 cookies

2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 1/2 cups sugar plus 1/2 cup more for rolling
2 ounces cream cheese, cut into 8 pieces
6 tablespoons butter, melted and still warm
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon extract (preferably Nielson-Massey brand)

Preheat the oven to 350° and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

In a separate bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups sugar and lemon zest and whisk until fragrant, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.  Add cream cheese, and pour the warm melted butter on top.  Whisk quickly to combine – some lumps may remain but try to whisk most of them out.  Whisk in vegetable oil then add the egg, milk, lemon juice, vanilla and lemon extract.  Keep whisking until the batter is smooth.  Fold in the dry ingredients with a rubber spatula.  The dough will be quite soft.

Put remaining 1/2 cup sugar into a shallow bowl.  Using a 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoon scoop (or two teaspoons), portion the dough into balls and roll in your hands to smooth.  Roll the dough in sugar and place on the prepared baking sheets about 2″ apart, 12 cookies to a sheet.

Bake one sheet at a time for 11-13 minutes, until set and just beginning to brown on the bottom.  The cookies may still look soft when you take them out.  Be careful not to overbake (remember these are chewy cookies).  Let cool on the baking sheet for 3 to 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Repeat with other prepared baking sheet.  You will make four sheets in total – let the sheets cool before putting another batch of dough on it.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. michael permalink
    May 12, 2012 10:39 am

    Lemon sugar cookies are the best! I’ve made Martha Stewart’s sugar cookies which have a lemon base. They are fantastic. http://madebymike.wordpress.com/2010/11/16/sugar-cookie-i-think-i-love-you/

  2. May 13, 2012 12:10 am

    These look amazing. The packaging is a gorgeous touch, too. I’d be thrilled to receive these!

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