On the 9th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: Glazed Lemon Cookies! I think that’s how the song goes…
These cookies couldn’t be simpler – a basic shortbread type cookie topped with a very lemony glaze. These have been a huge hit at my family Christmas parties, I think because they stand in such sharp contrast to other Christmas cookies (I have been known to make special batches for some special people such as my Grandma). I think these cookies are so appealing around the holidays because are petite (and thus very poppable), not too sweet, and very refreshing with such a bright lemon flavor.
This recipe is a great make-ahead recipe because they keep very well at room temperature (they’re a dry shortbread already, plus have a protective layer of glaze, so they don’t really get stale), but you can also make the dough ahead and refrigerate or freeze it (see instructions below). Also, you probably have most all of these ingredients on hand already – likely all you’ll need to buy is a few lemons! Easy and cheap: love it.
Glazed Lemon Cookies (recipe from Real Simple Magazine, found online here)
Time: 20 min active, 1 hour 45 min total time, Yield: The original recipe says 48, but I got ~60 out of the recipe
- 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 egg yolks (save the whites for another purpose, like a healthy omlette!)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1.5 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus more if necessary – it has to be fresh, not the bottled kind!
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest - or just use the whole lemon like I did!
Cookies: With an electric mixer, beat the butter and granulated sugar until fluffy. Add the egg yolks, vanilla, and salt and beat to combine. Gradually add the flour, mixing until just incorporated.
Divide the dough in half and shape into 1 1/4-inch-diameter logs. Wrap in wax paper and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
Heat oven to 350° F. Slice the logs into 3/8-inch-thick pieces and space them 1.5″ apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until lightly golden, 16 to 20 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to cooling racks to cool completely.
Glaze: In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, lemon juice, and zest until it forms a thick but pourable glaze (add more lemon juice if necessary). Dip the top of each cookie into the glaze and let set, about 15 minutes.
To freeze: Instead of refrigerating the dough, freeze the logs for up to 2 months. To bake, follow the recipe instructions, cutting and baking the dough from frozen, and use the upper end of the time range.
This cookie can be adapted to any number of citrus varieties since the dough itself is a plain shortbread. In the summer, I have made some lemon and some lime, for a more interesting selection. Orange or grapefruit might also be fun! All you need is the fresh juice and zest.