Buttery sugar cookies with a lemon tang and a hint of almond.
This recipe came about because I wanted iced sugar cookies and I had an unused lemon in my fridge that I felt bad wasting. The lemon zest is a delicious summery twist to my grandma’s sugar cookies! It is the same cookie recipe I posted for Christmas and Easter, but I added the lemon zest and just a smidgen of almond extract. Almond extract is really strong so even though I only added 1/4 teaspoon you can definitely taste it. If you aren’t a fan of almond extract, you can skip it and bump the vanilla extract up to 1 teaspoon.
I used a circle biscuit cutter to cut the cookies out. And then I cut the circle in half to make the wedges. You could also leave them as circles and decorate them as lemon slices.
I used royal icing on these cookies which uses meringue powder. You can find meringue powder in most grocery stores or online. My grocery store isn’t all that great, so I found it at a party store in a cake decorating section. If you don’t want to bother with meringue powder, you can also use my icing recipe from my Christmas Sugar Cookies or from my Easter Sugar Cookies. The Christmas Sugar Cookie icing recipe uses powdered sugar, water, and a little corn syrup to give it a nice shine. The Easter Sugar Cookie recipe is the simplest so it just uses powdered sugar and water. They don’t harden up quite the same as if you use meringue powder but they taste just as good!
To decorate them, you need to first pipe a border of thicker icing and let it dry for a few minutes. Then you thin out the icing with a little water and flood the cookie. I posted a skill work post a while back on some cookie icing techniques.
Let the flooded icing dry for about 15-20 minutes and then pipe on the white icing details. The white icing should be thick like the border icing was so that it holds its shape.
I usually ice cookies like an assembly line… go through and pipe the border on all of them and then by the time I am done, the first ones I piped are dry enough to flood… then go through and flood all of them and by the time I am done the first ones are dry enough to pipe the white detail on.
The icing should be set enough to stack the cookies after about 2 hours.
These cookies are great to bring to any summer parties. You can make the cookie part ahead and freeze them. Then defrost and decorate them up to 3 or 4 days before you need to serve them. They have a pretty good shelf life… though I dare you to try to make them last longer than 3 days!
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (spoon and level method)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup salted butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract (optional) *
- zest from 1 lemon
- ⅓ cup milk
- 2 cup powdered sugar
- 1½ Tablespoons meringue powder
- 3-4 Tablespoons warm water
- Yellow food dye
- Mix flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.
- In a separate bowl, cream the butter until it is smooth.
- Add sugar gradually.
- Mix in egg yolks, vanilla, almond extract, and lemon zest and blend well.
- Add dry ingredients gradually to wet ingredients alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
- Form dough into two disks and wrap in plastic wrap.
- Chill for at least 1 hour in refrigerator or until firm.
- Preheat oven to 350°F degrees.
- Flour a clean, dry surface and a rolling pin very well.
- Roll dough out one disk at a time on a well floured surface to ⅛-1/4 inch thickness. Leave the disk you are not working with in the fridge so it stays cold.
- Cut with a circle cookie cutter or biscuit cutter and then cut the circle in half to make the lemon wedge shape. Place on greased or parchment lined cookie sheets.
- Bake for 6-9 minutes.
- Cool on the pan for 1-2 minutes and then carefully remove them to a wire rack to cool completely.
- With an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the powdered sugar, meringue powder, and water together on high until smooth and shiny, about 3 minutes. If you pull the whisk attachment out of the icing, it should be thick enough that the dripping icing does not immediately meld into the icing in the bowl but not so thick that it is a frosting consistency. If it is too thin, add some more powdered sugar. If it is too thick, add a little water.
- Put ⅔ of the icing in another bowl (you can use a paper bowl so you can throw it away later) and mix in yellow food coloring.
- Using a piping bag with a Wilton #2 tip, pipe the yellow border of the lemon slice.
- Thin the yellow icing with just a bit of water so you can flood the cookie. If you pull a spoon out of the icing, the dripping icing should now quickly meld into the icing in the bowl. You can either pipe the thinned icing onto the cookie or use a spoon and use the back of the spoon to spread the icing around.
- Using another piping bag with a Wilton #2 or #1 tip, pipe the white details in. If you want a 3D effect, wait for the yellow icing to dry. If you want it to meld together, pipe the white icing before the yellow icing dries.
- Let the icing dry for 2-3 hours before stacking the cookies.