Lemon Glazed Cookies

My company had a beach volleyball day and bbq recently, and I wanted to bring something light and summery. I had just made the Perfectly Chocolate Cake, so I was going for something like the opposite of that.

These lemon-glazed cookies came to mind. The last time I made them was for the 4th of July last year, and they were a huge hit. Since that day was also spent on the beach, I will now forever associate the lemon cookies with the roar of the ocean, and sand.

These are super simple to make, and you could use any shortbread sugar cookie recipe you like for the base. I used the one that came with the recipe but the recipe I used for the decorated cookies would work just as well. I got the recipe from realsimple.com.

You should know ahead of time that while this recipe seems tame, I’m still giving it an evil rating of 2. Most of my coworkers have enjoyed my treats before and know what I can do when summoning all my evilness into one tiny dessert. Our receptionist’s husband, however, has not been privy to our weekly tastings, and proclaimed loudly and repeatedly how evil I was for making these. When we were saying goodbye, he confided in me that he’d tucked a few cookies in his pocket for later. After such praise I realized that even the best intended cookies still walk on the dark side as far as diets are concerned. (let’s not even mention my first fondant covered cake…)

The original recipe for these said it would yield roughly 4 dozen cookies, but I only got about 40. I might have cut them too thick. Also, unrelated but FYI, this dough is good for freezing and then you can just slice and bake when you’re ready!


for the cookies:

  • 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

for the glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice plus more if needed (I used another couple tsp of lemon juice/water)
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest

Beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the yolks, vanilla, and salt and beat to combine. Gradually add flour, mixing until just incorporated.

Divide the dough in half and shape into 1 1/4″ diameter logs. Wrap them in wax paper and refrigerate until firm, about half an hour. I popped mine into the freezer for a bit to speed that up.

Preheat the oven to 350º. Cut logs into slices just under 1/2 inch. Place them about 1.5 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets.

Bake until lightly golden, 16-20 minutes. Let them cool on the sheets for a few minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

While the cookies are cooling, whisk the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and zest together in a small bowl. The directions say you should have a thick but pourable glaze. With the 2 tsps liquid, I had a very thick and not at all pourable glaze, so I added a couple more teaspoons liquid – half water and half lemon juice – which you should do to taste. You don’t want it too runny, mine was a little, but it should be easily poured on the cool cookies with a spoon.

The glaze was a bit drippy, but just let the cookies set for a bit and you’ll be fine. I even popped them into the fridge before transport to make sure they wouldn’t all mush together.

And that’s it. I hope you get to enjoy these on a nice, sunny day!

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