Dorie Greenspan used to be a cookbook author I ignored, because how could a little tiny French woman who claims to eat dessert every day actually make delicious desserts. Then I was checking out Around my French Table and noticed one of my classmates from Hamilton thanked as the assistant editor. Once I was done fuming with jealousy over how glamorous it must be to edit cookbooks as a profession, I started actually making some of Dorie’s recipes. Then I was hooked. When she realized her enormous tome on cookies last year, I pre-ordered it and ate dessert every day multiple times a day…. These lemon sugar cookies were among the cookies I tested from Dorie’s Cookies during my twelve days of Christmas at work, and they are lemon sugar cookie perfection. A little lemon-y, not too sweet, chewy in the middle and crispy along the edges, or chewy throughout, they’ll make you wonder why you’ve never made a lemon sugar cookie before.
Lemon Sugar Cookies
- lemon zest from 1 lemon
- 1 1/2 cups (300 grams) sugar
- 2 3/4 cups (374 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 sticks (226 grams) unsalted butter room temperature, cubed
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup lemon juice from 1-2 lemons
- sugar for dredging
If making these immediately, preheat the oven to 350 F. Line your cookie sheet(s) with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
Zest one lemon into the bowl of a stand mixer (or other large bowl). Add the sugar and using your finger tips, rub the sugar and zest together until the sugar moistens and becomes very fragrant. If you can let this sit for a little while, so much the better.
Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder in a medium bowl.
Add the butter and salt to the bowl with the lemon sugar and beat on medium speed until smooth and slightly fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and beat on low until just incorporated, then scrape down the bowl. Add the vanilla and lemon juice, beat on low until just incorporated.
Add half the dry ingredients to the mixer bowl, then beat at low speed until they are not quite incorporated. Scrape down the bowl (don't forget the bottom), then add the remaining dry ingredients. Mix at low speed until just combined and the dough starts to come away from the sides of the bowl.
Pour sugar for dredging into a medium bowl. Scoop out small tablespoons of dough (about 1 ounce)*, form into a ball, and roll each dough ball individually in the sugar to coat it completely.
Place the sugar-coated dough balls on the prepared cookie sheet(s), with at least 2 inches in between them because they do spread out.
Bake for 8-14 minutes, rotating the cookie sheets midway through the baking time. After 8-10 minutes, the cookies will be chewy and pale. After 12-14 minutes, these cookies will be lightly browned on the bottom, golden and crispy around the edges, and chewy in the center. I baked mine for exactly 10 minutes.
Transfer the baking sheets to a wire rack to cool. These cookies will be quite soft after baking and will need at least 15 minutes before you can move them off the baking sheet.
These cookies will keep tightly covered at room temperature for 5 days or in the freezer for 2 months.
*Don't be tempted to make these cookies any bigger, otherwise you'll find yourself with cookies that are overcooked along the edges but severely underdone in the middle.