Frosted Sugar Cookies with Lemon Zest

About This Recipe

Yield:eighteen 5-inch snowflake-shaped cookies


  • 1 1/2 cup unsalted butter (softened)
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla paste
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 4 1/2 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Confectioners' sugar
  • For Quick Buttercream Frosting
  • 1 pound (box) confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 cup, plus 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla paste
  • 1 tablespoon almond extract
  • 1/3 cup (2/3 stick) unsalted butter, softened


  1. 1

    In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, then the vanilla and lemon zest.

  2. 2

    Sift in flour, baking soda, and salt, and stir to blend.

  3. 3

    Roll the dough into a ball and flatten into a disk 1-inch thick. Cut into 4 pieces. Chill the dough between sheets of parchment paper for 3 to 4 hours, or overnight. Allow the dough to soften slightly at room temperature before rolling out. (Alternatively, you can roll the dough into a log before chilling. When ready to bake, slice the log into 1/2" discs.)

  4. 4

    Position rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375F. Line anodized baking sheets with parchment paper.

  5. 5

    On a surface sprinkled with confectioners' sugar, roll the dough out a 1/2-inch thick and cut with cookie cutters. Pull away the excess dough from around the cookies. Gently re-roll the dough scraps and cut out more shapes. (Take care to not over-handle the dough or the cookies will get brittle.)

  6. 6

    As the cookies are cut, transfer them to prepared baking sheets and space them 1 inch apart. If the kitchen is unusually warm, work in batches: keep all unused dough in the refrigerator and chill cut dough on baking sheets before putting them in the oven.

  7. 7

    Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, just until the centers mound and the edges turn light golden brown. Remove the sheets from the oven and cool for 3 minutes before moving the cookies to wire racks.

  8. 8

    Bake one batch at a time and cool baking sheets completely before transfering the next batch of dough onto them.

  9. 9

    After the cookies have cooled, have guests decorate them with buttercream frosting, sprinkles, nuts, etc. Let cookies rest until frosting hardens, approximately 4 hours. (Cookies can be prepared 3 days in advance. Store in an airtight container at room temperature, in single layers between parchment.)

  10. 10

    Quick Buttercream Frosting

  11. 11

    Combine ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Beat with electric mixer or with heavy spoon until smooth and creamy; scrape bowl often. (If frosting is too stiff to spread easily, beat in a few driops of milk. If too thin, add confectioners' sugar.)

Comments can take up to a minute to appear - please be patient!

Previewing your comment: