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Got a great lemon cookie? (NOT bar, cookie!)

I'm looking for something that's:
a) Ultra lemony and un-adulterated (no raisins or cranberries or chocolate or . . .)
b) Soft, chewy, dense, rich
c) Not frosted
d) Uses only 'real' ingredients -- no puding mix, no lemon extract, etc.

Any ideas?

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  1. Try googling "lemon shortcake". French "biscuits au citron" are pretty straightforward lemon cookies too, I think.

    1. I would reconsider the "not frosted" part and get thee to Cooks Illustrated's Glazed Lemon Cookie recipe. It is outstanding. Pure clean lemon flavor, in an almost sandy type cookie. It is the best I have ever had.

      1. read Joyce's Lemon Cookies in this article:

        my sister-in-law makes this rich lemon tea cookie with frosting:
        2/3 cup butter, room temperature, beat till creamy.
        add 2/3 cup powdered sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy
        add 1 tsp. of grated lemon zest and 1/2 tsp. of vanilla extract, beating well
        stir in: 2 cups sifted flour, 1-1/2 cups cornstarch
        Shape in one-inch balls. Bake on ungreased baking sheet for 15 minutes at 350°F.
        Let cool completely. Frost with 1/3 cup softened butter, 2 tsp. of lemon zest, 1/3 cup of fresh lemon juice and 4 cups of sifted powdered sugar.

        1. cynsa, are your sister's cookies soft/chewy or crisp? Would they be okay w/o frosting? Also: that link leads to a recipe for "thin, crispy" cookies, though I wonder if I could make them thicker, larger, and/or bake them more briefly and have them turn out the way I want. Blueroom, "sandy" isn't really what I'm looking for. And not only am I too lazy to frost 6 dozen cookies, I want something simpler. Hmmm . . . maybe just adapt the right sugar cookie recipe by loading it with lemon zest, adding a little juice to the dough (to not mess up the chemistry and moisture) and then brushing on a little more as they cool? Anyone think that would work?

          1 Reply
          1. re: fmogul

            these are rich rounds, not chewy but not crisp - they're probably more like shortbread, melt in the mouth with a little crunch to it. I wish I had a recipe for soft, chewy, dense and rich!

            (an experiment to try) -here's what I would do with Lucy's Lemon Square (recipe below, see Kevin Andrew Murphy's post) - bake as directed. cool just enough to handle while still warm and malleable...cut in 1-1/2-inch squares. shape each square in a ball, and roll in powdered sugar. let cool completely. they should be lemony and chewy! of course, you might end up with a tray of lemon crumbs, but you might create something new, too.
            I'm at home with a cold now or I'd bake a batch. Can't taste. Can't smell.

          2. Well, it's not a "bar" but a "square." The flavor on these is excellent, however, and they're easy to make:

            Lucy's Lemon Squares

            (From the Peanuts kids book of recipes)

            1 cup flour
            1/2 cup butter
            1/4 cup powdered sugar
            2 eggs
            1 cup granulated sugar
            1/2 teaspoon baking powder
            2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
            dash of salt


            Blend with fingertips until well mixed. Pat evenly into the bottom of an 8 x 8 inch baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Meanwhile beat together: eggs, granulated sugar, baking powder, fresh lemon juice, and dash of salt.

            Pour over baked crust and return to oven for 20-25 minutes at same temperature.

            Cool on rack. Cut in squares. Sprinkle with sifted, powdered sugar.

            1. The Lemon Stars everyone talks about at Christmas are fantastic. I'm trying to search but I see what everyone means, hopefully they'll fix that soon. They are sandwiches filled with lemon curd, if you can't find it I can post later on.

              2 Replies
              1. re: coll

                Do you mean these Lemon Stars?


                I made them last year for Christmas, and they were wonderful! I noted my minor variations in this thread:



                1. re: AnneInMpls

                  These are the ones, they will be a permanent recipe every Christmas for me (they look good as well as taste good!)

              2. coll-I had the recipe handy and they are marvelous!

                Lemon Stars

                2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
                1/4 cup cornstarch
                2 teaspoons baking powder
                Tiny pinch salt
                2 egg yolks
                3 tablespoons light cream
                ¾ teaspoon lemon oil
                1 cup white sugar
                3 Tablespoons grated lemon rind
                12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
                4 tablespoons vegetable shortening

                1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or silicone paper.
                2. Mix flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Mix yolks, cream, and lemon oil together in a measuring cup.
                3. Cream sugar with butter, lemon rind and shortening until lightened and pasty. Beat yolk mixture into creamed butter until just combined.
                4. Add dry ingredients and beat until mixture begins to clump together (about 18 or 20 seconds on lowest speed of electric mixer).
                5. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead gently to shape into a soft dough. (Can be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated up to 3 days or frozen up to 6 months).
                6. Working with 1/4 of the dough at a time, roll to about 1/8-inch thick on a well-floured work surface. Use cookie cuter of your choice to cut
                out shapes. Using a spatula, transfer cut-outs to prepared baking sheet, placing them about 1 inch apart.
                7. Bake at 350 degrees until golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough.
                8. Transfer to a wire rack and cool to room temperature.

                I cut the cookies with a star cookie cutter. Then with an aspic cutter (you know those little tiny ones) I cut a star out of the middle of the cookies. It is probably better to bake a sheet of tops and bottoms separately since the tops with the cut out color faster. When they are cool I put a little lemon curd (I make my own using the recipe from Better than Store Bought by Helen Witty and Elizabeth Schneider Colchie.) on the bottom cookie. Then I top with the cut out star set offset. They will soften up with the lemon curd but are wonderful right away.

                5 Replies
                1. re: HillJ

                  Yes, I made these at Christmas time, and I'm not a huge lemon fan, but my grandma adores lemon and she loved these! I ran out of time to sandwich them, so I brought the lemon curd and the cookies to my aunt's house, and as fast I was sandwiching them, my grandma was eating them and dipping them in the curd! The dough smells so fabulous!

                  1. re: HillJ

                    I had some bad luck using lemon oil in a cookie this past Christmas. It made the cookies very bitter in a strange way. 3/4 tsp of lemon oil seems like a lot...

                    1. re: roxlet

                      Sorry to hear that. Lemon oil can go bad if kept too long. Bitter isn't a good indicator for sure. The lemon stars are very lemony in a good way but you can substitute lemon juice for the oil if you prefer a milder citrus flavor.

                      1. re: HillJ

                        I had just bought the oil from Kingarthurflour.com, so it wasn't old.

                        1. re: roxlet

                          Then it's a strong lemon flavor that is too much lemon oil for you as written, right.
                          I've read about people using lemon oil intended for aroma therapy by accident and wonder why the flavor was bitter...

                          I love the recipe as written but personal preference is what working a recipe is all about.

                          From KA, the description says it all: Lemon oil, a Baker’s Catalogue ALL-TIME BEST SELLER, is a remarkably intense essence squeezed from the rind of fresh lemons; there's no oil added, just all-natural fruit flavor

                  2. There was a very appealing recipe in the December Gourmet (I think in a ricotta ad) for a ricotta meyer lemon cookie. I think it was glazed, but you could try it sans...it was on my list to try, but I ran out of time! Maybe I'll try it this weekend and report back.

                    1. these come out with chewy centers if you don't overbake. To make them even better, combine some lemon zest with sugar in the food processor and then form balls of the cookie dough and roll in the zest/sugar mix before baking. Or, just dust with powdered sugar.

                      2 and 1/2 cups flour
                      1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder
                      1/2 tsp salt
                      1 cup softened butter
                      1 and 1/2 cup sugar
                      2 eggs
                      4 tbsp lemon zest
                      1 tsp vanilla

                      Preheat oven to 350. Mix dry ingredients together. in another bowl, cream butter with sugar. add eggs, zest, vanilla and beat til smooth. gradually stir in flour til blended. drop spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets, or form balls and roll in sugar/zest mixture. bake 8-10 minutes.

                      1. okay, i don't know how my recipe post just got posted 4 times instead of once!

                        1. make gingersnaps and sandwich together with lemon butter icing.....
                          for added decadence toss some finely chopped crystallized ginger in the cookie dough

                          1. PUMP UP THE LEMON? if you wanted to pump up the lemon-ness of a cookie, how would you suggest doing it?

                            Could you simply add more zest? at what point does the oil in the zest affect the baking?

                            To make it more sour, could you add sour salt? what'd that do to the texture?

                            1. I just made some lemon-orange cookies today, and you could easily leave out the orange and do all lemon. Depending on whether you roll or drop, how thick, etc., these can be a little chewy. Mine were very crisp because I rolled them ultra thin (in fact some way too thin because they broke to bits when I removed them from the cookie sheet!) But I did put a couple dropped on the sheet, and they were crisp on top (primarily due to the sugar sprinkled on top, I think) but chewier inside. They were tart and sweet in good contrast.

                              1/3 cup unsalted butter
                              1/3 cup sugar
                              1 egg, separated
                              1 3/4 cups flour
                              zest of 1 orange
                              zest of 1 lemon
                              1/4 cup lemon and orange juice (mixture of both)
                              1/8 cup sugar, for garnish

                              Lightly grease a cookie sheet. Process sugar in a food processor to make it finer. With mixer, beat it together with butter until fluffy. Add the egg yolk, and beat to combine.

                              Add the flour, and mix until well combined. Add the zest and the juice. Roll out the dough on a very lightly floured surface, and cut with cookie cutters. (Don't roll too thin, or they'll break when you remove them from the cookie sheet!)

                              Wisk the egg white with a couple drops of water. Brush onto the cookies, and sprinkle with sugar (it can be fine or not). Bake at 400º for 12 minutes or until very slightly golden on the edges. Cool on wire rack.

                              1. Oh, by the way, I got tired of fooling with my cookies after the first roll-out (I used snowflake cookie cutters, and it took more time than I'd originally planned to spend on them. Also, that's part of the reason my cookies broke. The snowflake design made them very fragile, on top of how thin I had rolled them.)

                                Anyhow, I decided to use the remaining half of the dough for a pie crust. I rolled out the dough for the pie crust, made a blueberry pie filling, and it turned out quite good. Very tart-sweet.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: luv2bake

                                  Easy recipe for a soft chewy and almost brownie like cookie:

                                  2 Lemon Cake mixes
                                  2 eggs
                                  2 sticks butter
                                  1 8oz cream cheese block
                                  1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (can use bottled)
                                  1/4 cup lemonaide or water
                                  BLEND ALL INGREDIENTS ~forms a sticky dough
                                  Scoop out with tablespoon and drop into a bowl of Powder sugar. Roll in powder sugar coating all of it and then quickly roll into a ball and place on cookie sheet.
                                  Keep about 1" appart .. they will slightly flatten but keep allot of there puff~
                                  Bake at 375 for 13 minutes.. NO LONGER! They should only be SLIGHTLY BROWNED.. BUT MORE DRY outside than brown. Take off sheets immediately and place on rack to cool.

                                  Icing if you want but powder sugar is just as good. If I ice them I put 1 cup p. sugar and 4 tbls of real butter.. mix then add in about 1 tbls of lemon juice and 1/2 tsp of zest. I micro this for 30 sec. on high then just drizzle it over the top. They are AMAZING! The Cream cheese will keep them soft for DAYS! Freeze well too!

                                  Happy Cooking and God Bless!

                                2. 285 g bread flour
                                  28 g dry milk powder
                                  1 tsp baking powder
                                  1/2 tsp baking soda (scant - sometimes i cut it back)
                                  1/2 tsp kosher salt
                                  113 g melted butter
                                  56 g softened cream cheese
                                  250 g sugar
                                  50 g light brown sugar
                                  1/4 cup vegetable oil
                                  1 egg
                                  2 tbsp lemon juice
                                  1 tsp vanilla extract
                                  1 tsp lemon extract - you said no extracts, so feel free to omit it
                                  1-2 tbsp lemon zest
                                  Sugar for rolling (sometime I use confectioners sugar)

                                  Combine flour, milk powder, leaveners and salt.
                                  Separately whisk together butter and cream cheese. Add sugars, then egg, oil, extracts and lemon zest. Stir in dry. I like to chill my dough. You don't have to, but I like the flavors to settle and flour to absorb moisture. (Also prefer that the chilled dough doesn't spread as rapidly.)
                                  Shape balls, roll in sugar and bake at 350 F.

                                  1. I once made a "lemon thin" type cookie that required reducing the fresh lemon juice for extra flavour. Unfortunately I have lost the recipe. They were a big hit, though.