Lemon-Vanilla Sugar Cookies

I’m kind of in love with these cookies.  They are the first sugar cookies I’ve ever made that taste like I imagine sugar cookies should.  They’re soft, moist and have a slight vanilla and citrus undertone.  A. Maze. Ing.  In my opinion, sugar cookies should be thick and soft – and every recipe I’ve ever tried before has come out of the oven thin and crispy.  Now, I realize that some of this is my fault.  I probably rolled them too thin, and I probably used flour to coat my surfaces instead of powdered sugar.  And, I might have even over-baked them.  But I’m happy to report that the planets must’ve been in alignment last night because everything came together and worked perfectly.

So, the cookie is one thing, but the icing is an entirely different story.  But, after decorating nearly 50 cookies, I finally figured it out.  As you can see from my pictures, there are plenty of flaws.  The icing I used for the outlines was a little too thick so I had a hard time controlling it.  I also left too much space between the outline and the edge of the cookie.  My flooding icing was not bad, but I didn’t let it sit before I started so I had more bubbles than I’d anticipated.  I did have a great time playing with different designs and learned a lot from this process.  I’m feeling pretty confident that next time I make these, they’ll be much prettier.  I just might try again soon, although I’m not sure what we’d do with another 50 sugar cookies!
For the purposes of this post, I’m just going to post the cookie recipe and directions.  I will do a separate post on royal icing after I’ve had some more practice and can offer some more solid tips and tricks.  This cookie would be fabulous with a buttercream frosting as well! 

Just a few tips for you:  use a silpat mat.  Just do it.   You will thank yourself after you’ve successfully removed all of the cookies without smooshing them!  Don’t over bake.  Take them out as soon as they look done, but before they start browning.  Let them cool on the pan for 3 or 4 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack.  If you store them in a container, layer them with some parchment paper so they don’t stick together.  Roll your dough to 1/4 inch or more – no THIN cookies!!  And finally, if you don’t like lemon flavoring (although it’s delicate) you can simply omit the zest.

Hope you enjoy!

1 1/2 cups of unsalted, room temperature butter (3 sticks)
2 cups white sugar
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, seeded
Lemon Zest from 1 large lemon
In a large bowl (I used my stand mixer), cream together butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy, about 5-6 minutes. Add eggs one at at time, beating each one until incorporated before adding the next.  Add vanilla, vanilla beans and lemon zest.  Add in  in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Roll out dough on sugared surface (use powdered sugar NOT flour) to 1/4 to 1/2 inch in thickness.  Cut into shapes and place 1 inch apart on a silpat mat cookie sheet.  Bake 6 to 8 minutes (the thicker the cookie the longer it should cook, mine went the full 8 minutes.)  Let cool on cookie sheet for 3-5 minutes and transfer to cooling rack.  Cool completely before frosting.
Frost as desired, and enjoy!!
Recipe adapted from Allrecipes.com

leave a comment your way - using facebook or disqus:

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00148303544491323772 Tiffany

    Just made these today and took your suggestions. They turned out beautifully and I CANNOT make a cookie to save my life! This will be my go to sugar cookie recipe from now on, Thanks! Tiffany (Keithley)Mills

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11339016761160424069 Erin M

    Yay! Glad you liked them! Hope you had a wonderful Easter!

  • Lynsey James

    Made these for Easter with your buttercream frosting recipe and they were a hit! Very delicious and I loved how thick and soft they were. And the slight lemon & vanilla flavors were wonderful! Blows my old sugar-cookie recipe away!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00295635918782494860 Lauren

    I LOVE the lemon in sugar cookies. that’s what I use in mine!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15425511903148295389 tip

    I would have never thought to add lemon but that sounds wonderful! I have been on the hunt for a soft sugar cookie recipe for years so I am going to try these and see how it turns out. Thank you!