Recipe: Lemon Sugar Cookies

What a delight! As you may know by now, I enjoy lemon pastries. They're always so light, refreshing, and tart. They are the perfect companions for afternoon tea. Especially lemon cookies because you can have a couple (okay... let's be honest here.... I ate about 4 cookies in one sitting), you don't feel sluggish (or guilty, this may be a fault in my emotional eating compass). 

I used to make chocolate chip cookies and sell them every holiday season in the Philippines. Those were some crazy days. I was working full time as a culinary professor with 400 students, running a home pastry business, and even doing the delivery myself (but thank goodness some customers would accommodate to pick up their orders are our place). My skin would literally smell like a cookie dough with how much cookies batters I'd do on a rotating, non-stop, 24/7 clock. At one point, my mom and my yaya suggested to put a mattress in the kitchen so I could sneak in some naps while baking. All our countertops were either filled with cookie batter, cookie trays with a continuous array of baked goods, assembled boxes, and completed ordered with post-it reminders with the customers' order details. I was literally a sweat-shop. Funny because my dad would always wander around the kitchen pretending to check on me. Then I'd notice one of the trays with a few cookies missing. Really, Dad.... I can literally spot a very much noticeable hole of cookies on the sheets. At least he didn't sneak on the already assembled boxes and orders. 

I often use a basic drop cookie dough when I'm making cookies. Just a little trivia, the word "cookie" literally means "small cakes". It comes is all different shapes and sizes, but it's just technically a smaller form of a treat, a cake. It goes all the way back to the 7th century AD and the name was derived from a Dutch word, "koekje". Cookies come in different forms and every country has its own version depending on what their local produce is, the season, the culture, and the history behind the treat is. And well... you guessed it, the rest was history. You've got biscuits in England, biscotti and amaretti in Italy, stroopwafels from the Netherlands, Argentina boasts of their alfajores, madeleines from France, and it goes on and on and on. Pick a country, I'm sure they'll have their own form of cookie or "small cake". 

Cookies have travelled all around and eventually found its way to our hearts (and bellies). And maaaaan, are they welcomed! Yuuummmsss.

Lemon Sugar Cookies
I honestly only made half a batch for this recipe. Because, half a batch already made 18-19 cookies (I wasn't entirely sure because I ate one too quickly). So, needless to say, if you made a whole batch of cookies, you can expect around 35-40 pieces. And it's not hard to eat around 5 in one sitting. 

You'll need a mixing bowl, a hand mixer, baking sheets, silpat/silicon mats or parchment paper, a small cookie scoop or 2 teaspoons, a sifter, a spatula, and some cooling wire racks. 

1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks of butter, 225-250g)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, large
2-3 tsp lemon zest
1/2 cup lemon juice

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

1. Preheat your oven to 380℉. Line your baking sheets with silpat/silicone mats or parchment paper and set aside. 
2. Cream the softened butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add one egg at a time and the vanilla. Then add the lemon zest and juice and continue beating with the hand mixer. 
3. Sift all the dry ingredients together. Using a spatula, fold in the dry ingredients in 3 parts. 
4. Using a cookie scoop or teaspoons (heaping portions), scoop up the cookie dough and place them 2 inches apart on the cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes. When you take it out of the oven, let it rest on the pans for 2 minutes before transferring them on the cooling racks. 
5. Super yuuummmsss!!! ENJOY! Make a cup of tea while you're at it! Or grab a gossip girlfriend and talk away while devouring each cookie at a time!

Keep in an air tight container at room temperature, this should keep for 2-3 days on the counter. If you want to freeze it, it will be good for 1-2 months. If in the chiller, it will be good for a least 7 days. You can always reheat them in a toaster oven or in the microwave for 15-18 seconds. 

*One of my favourite butters here in Canada is Lactania. It really captures a good silky, nutty, and butter taste especially in baked goods or drizzled over freshly made popcorn. Of course, there are other butter brands out there that I've tasted (and believe me, as I speak now, we probably have 4 different kinds of brands in the chiller now just waiting to be tasted). I find that from all the brands, this works best in pastries and yummy baked carbs. Especially this country churned butter, it adds so much of the pure butter flavour.

**Making this basic cookie dough can open up so many other possibilities. For this recipe, I didn't use a deep dark brown sugar and opted for a lighter packed brown sugar. That's because I didn't want the molasses to colour this cookie, I wanted it lighter to complement the lemony taste. If you wanted to alter the recipe, increase the brown sugar and decrease the granulated sugar in equal parts. You can then add chocolate chips and some walnuts, et voila! You've got yourself a solid chocolate chip recipe! Disclaimer... they're addicting. And really good when they just come out of the oven. 

***You can also make this basic cookie dough ahead of time, scoop, and freeze it. So in case you have that craving creeping in, you don't need to whip up another recipe. Get a few balls from the freezer and pop them in the oven. Instant sources of joy!!! It will also stop you from snacking on a whole batch. God knows I would eat the whole thing if it were just laid out for me to devour.

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