Thursday, December 19, 2013

old-fashioned lemon sugar cookies

It's Christmas soon and I have been baking tons of cookies for friends and family.

While it is easy to go buy a box of cookies for someone, I think nothing says, "I care about you," or "I appreciate you," more eloquently than a box of home-made cookies.

When I put together a "cookie collection", I like to include a variety of flavours. The one flavour that I always include is an old-fashioned vanilla sugar cookie. Christmas is basically about tradition and nostalgia, and this cookie never fails to bring one back to one's childhood.

Many changes can be made to this basic cookie. You can change the colours of the cookies by adding food colouring, decorate them with royal icing, scatter sugars on them, make them into different shapes... I opted for the more traditional round flat cookie with a sprinkle of pink sugar sand.

Very festive. :)

This is a really easy cookie to make.

I started by creaming together butter and sugar. While that happened, I zested a lemon and extracted the juice of half of the lemon.

When the butter/sugar mixture had turned light and fluffy, I added the zest and continued beating the mixture.

Once the lemon zest had been mixed, I added the eggs, and beat some more. When the eggs had been incorporated, I added lemon juice and beat to mix.

I sifted the flour, baking soda and salt.

And mixed that to the dough in 3 parts, until just combined.

Do not over-beat.

I placed the cookie dough in the fridge (minimum 1 hour, but I prefer to let the dough sit over-night). Why? See here.

I scooped the cookie dough using an ice cream scoop and placed them on a lined baking tray. Using my fingers, I pressed gently on the cookie dough to flatten them slightly.

I sprinkled some sanding sugar on the cookie dough, and baked them.

The result was a vanilla cookie that had a lemony flavour with a somewhat chewy texture.

I made some with green sanding sugars too.

And they were just as delicious!

Happy Christmas, everyone!

Old-Fashioned Lemon Sugar Cookies (Makes about 48)
Adapted from Martha Steward Cookies

3 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups caster sugar
1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
250g unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
Sanding sugar, for sprinkling

1. Preheat oven to 170C. Sift flour, baking soda, and salt into a bowl; set aside.
2. Put sugars and lemon zest in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed 30 seconds. (I omitted this step.)
3. Add butter; mix until pale and fluffy, about 1 minute. Mix in eggs, 1 at a time (I added both eggs at the same time), and then the lemon juice. Reduce speed; gradually add flour mixture, and mix until just combined.
4. Scoop dough using a 2-inch ice cream scoop; space cookies 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Flatten cookies slightly with a spatula. Sprinkle tops with sanding sugar, then lightly brush with a wet pastry brush; sprinkle with more sanding sugar. (I sprinkled once with coloured sanding sugar.)
5. Bake cookies until golden, about 15 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks for 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to racks using a spatula; let cool completely. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.

This post is Part 1 of my 4-part post on Christmas cookies. Do look out for the recipes for the remaining cookies in the following weeks!

The recipe for Chocolate Chip cookies can be found here.

I am submitting this recipe for Cook-Your-Books hosted by Joyce from Kitchen Flavours.


  1. Hi Diana,
    Lovely cookies! These look very festive!
    Thanks for sharing with CYB!
    Have fun getting ready for Christmas!