Lemon Sugar Cookies

There is an art to making cut out sugar cookies. Most recipes call for using flour to roll them out but if you use too much flour the cookies become hard and dry. I skip the flour entirely and roll the dough between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. That way the dough doesn’t stick to the counter and after they are cut you can peel the cut cookie dough off the plastic wrap. Parchment paper works 100% better than spraying the cookie sheet with non-stick spray. No matter how much spray I use it seems the cookies always stick. Inevitably, I tear them while prying them off the pan. The cookies will not stick to parchment paper. They just slide off!

Lemon Sugar Cookies

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Zest of one lemon, divided
Lemon icing

With an electric mixer, combine butter and sugar. Beat 2 to 3 minutes or until the mixture changes color and becomes pale yellow. Add I egg and mix briefly. Add vanilla, lemon juice and half the extract. Stir flour, baking powder and salt together. Add to butter mixture gradually with a mixer. Remove dough from bowl (it may still be sticky but will firm up in the refrigerator). Cover dough in plastic wrap, press into a disc and refrigerate one to two hours or until dough is cold and stiff.

Remove dough from refrigerator and plastic wrap. Roll dough in between 2 sheets of plastic wrap to 1/8 inch thickness. (If the dough curls while you are rolling it remove the top layer of plastic wrap and place it back on the dough.) Peel off the top layer of plastic wrap. Cut the cookies with decorative cookie cutters that have been dipped in flour.) Place cut out dough on parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Bake 375 F for 5 to 8 minutes. Do not let cookies become brown (not even around the edges). Remove from oven and cool on wire racks. Ice with Lemon Icing. See recipe below.

Lemon Icing

2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
zest from 1/2 lemon

Sift powdered sugar then measure. Add remaining ingredients. Ice cookies. Tip: For added visual interest: color the icing with gel colors, sprinkle iced cookies with colored or sparkling sugars before the icing dries, or let the icing dry then add additional piped decorations.

Published in The News and Neighbor on December 19, 2015

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