I don’t know about you, but late spring and early summer are not exactly my favorite times warm up the house by using the oven. Since I’m often too cheap to turn on the air conditioning, I tend to relegate my summer baking time to the necessities. Unfortunately, my stomach doesn’t often get the memo and decides that it wants, say, a soufflé when it’s 90 degrees outside. Even more unfortunately, my tummy is in charge of my mood, so what it wants, it gets. Dutifully, I’ll throw together a half-hearted soufflé and call it a day. In the end, my belly is happy that it got its way, but the rest of me is just too hot to enjoy the darn thing!
I’m sure a logical person would just give up on baking for the summer, but logic is not my strong suit—especially when my Veruca Salt of a stomach is involved. So, instead of attempting to go months without cookies, I instead opt for recipes that evoke thoughts of summer: icebox pies, mousses, ice creams, and citrus everything. I love to experiment; I’m that person who brings something different to every party. (Sorry!) But not a summer has passed in the last decade when I haven’t made my favorite nameless, powdered-sugar dusted lemon cookies.
That’s right. I said nameless.
Naturally, when I decided to share this recipe with you all, I decided that this cookie finally deserved a name. It seems that deciding was much easier than doing, because after an afternoon of throwing ideas around with my husband, they still don’t have a name. He suggested lemon zeppelins, heavenly lemon cookies, lemondoodles, lemon two timers (“because you always need a second”), and, uh, yellow snow cookies. I opted for the more practical lemonade cookies, lemon slices, lemonade slices, those lemon cookies with powdered sugar, lemon icebox cookies, and “LEmine! They’re LEmy cookies!”
I was getting ready to give myself a big, fat F in Home Eccing when I realized the answer to my problem was right in front of me all along: the super awesome, mega-creative Home Ec 101 community! I want you to help me name these cookies. Don’t worry; you won’t be flexing your creative muscles for nothing. In exchange, I’ll give you a recipe! For powdered sugar dusted lemon cookies! For those of you who don’t feel like doing my work for me, you’ll get a prize, too: a recipe for lemon cookies (dusted with powdered sugar, of course)! What’s there to lose?!
Notes: These cookies contain no leavening agents, so they do not rise or spread during baking. Your pre-baked cookie is about the same size as your baked cookie; keep this in mind as you roll the dough into logs and as you place them on the baking sheet. You can freeze the logs of dough for up to a month before baking, so these are perfect for keeping around just in case the Cookie Monster shows up. As an added bonus for some allergy sufferers, these cookies are egg free! And fortunately for all of us, they keep for up to a week. Pretty sweet, huh?
Let There Be Lemon (Cookies)
- 2 sticks butter, softened
- ½ + 2 cups powdered sugar, divided
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest, from 2 large lemons (no pith, please!)
- ¼ cup lemon juice, from 2 large lemons
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Step 1: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat 2 sticks of butter at a medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Stop the mixer and add ½ cup of powdered sugar.
Restart the mixer and combine the butter and powdered sugar at a medium-high speed. Stop the mixer; scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of lemon zest, ¼ cup of lemon juice, and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract and beat at a medium-high speed until everything is combined and looks vaguely like buttercream frosting, about 2 minutes.
Step 2: In a separate bowl, whisk together 2 cups of all purpose flour, ¼ cup of cornstarch, and ¼ teaspoon of kosher salt. Add the dry ingredients to the mixer bowl.
Start mixing on low speed to prevent the flour from flying everywhere, then increase the speed to medium and mix until the dough comes together and forms a sticky mass, about 1 minute. Remove the bowl from the mixer, scrape down the sides again to incorporate all of the flour, and refrigerate for about 30 minutes to make the dough easier to work with.
Step 3: Once the dough has chilled, divide into two pieces and roll each piece into a 12” log. Wrap in plastic wrap or parchment and place in the freezer for 1 to 2 hours (or until ready to bake).
When the dough is completely chilled and firm to the touch, remove it from the freezer and use a sharp knife to slice it into ¼”-thick rounds. Be sure to cut them evenly to prevent over- or underbaking.
Step 4: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place the sliced cookies about ½ inch apart on a silicone baking mat- or parchment-lined baking sheet.
Bake for 16-18 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are just golden.
Remove baking sheet from oven and immediately transfer the cookies to a cooling rack.
Step 5: Fill a gallon sized zip top bag with the 2 remaining cups of powdered sugar. After the cookies have cooled for 10 minutes, place them in the bag with the powdered sugar. Seal the bag and gently shake to coat the cookies in sugar.
Store the cookies in the bag until ready to serve. When you are, gently tap the excess sugar off of the cookies and place them on a tray.
Makes 48 cookies.
Michele Newell is a housewife turned blogger turned Home Ec 101 contributor. You can read her near daily ramblings at Dreams Unreal.