Cook the Book: Glazed Lemon Cookies

[Flickr: deb roby]

While recently stocking up in the doldrums of the winter produce, something caught my eye: a bountiful display of Meyer lemons. This sweet and fragrant variety of lemon is currently in season, so I gathered a big bag of them and headed home to figure out what to do with them. My first instinct was to make a lemon poppy seed cake, but then I realized that cookies would be a more apt project, being that we are well into our December cookie explosion. I rifled through America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book and found this recipe for Glazed Lemon Cookies, an ideal vessel for my Meyers.

These are very easy cookies to make—the dough comes together in the food processor and is then chilled into logs. The logs of dough are sliced thinly, baked, and then glazed with an icing that incorporates the remainder of the juice from the zested lemons. The cookies have a very crisp texture, and a pronounced lemon flavor both aromatic and tart. But the nicest part of these cookies is that the lemon flavor is sharp and bright, and there's something about them that bring to mind a refreshing glass of lemonade or a scoop of lemon sorbet.

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Cook the Book: Glazed Lemon Cookies

About This Recipe

Yield:about 30 cookies

Ingredients

  • Cookies
  • 3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh lemon zest
  • 1 3/4 cups (8 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoon (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Glaze
  • 1 tablespoon cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) confectioners' sugar

Procedures

  1. 1

    Process the granulated sugar and lemon zest together in a food processor until the sugar is pale yellow and damp, about 30 seconds. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and pulse to combine, about 10 pulses. Add the butter pieces and pulse until the mixture resembles fine cornmeal, about 15 pulses.

  2. 2

    In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice, egg yolk, and vanilla together. With the machine running, add the lemon juice mixture through the feed tube in a slow, steady stream, about 10 seconds. Continue to process until the dough begins to form a ball, 10 to 15 seconds.

  3. 3

    Transfer the dough to a clean counter and roll it into a 10-inch log, about 2 inches thick. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.

  4. 4

    Adjust the oven racks to the upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 325°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

  5. 5

    Slice the dough into 3/8-inch-thick cookies. Lay the cookies on the prepared baking sheets, spaced about 1 inch apart. Bake the cookies until the edges begin to brown, 13 to 16 minutes, switching and rotating the baking sheets halfway through baking. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before glazing.

  6. 6

    For the glaze: Whisk the cream cheese and lemon juice together in a medium bowl until smooth, then whisk in the confectioners' sugar. Spoon a teaspoon of the glaze onto the center of each cookie and spread it out evenly with the back of a spoon. Let the glaze dry completely, about 30 minutes before serving.

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