Sunday, February 17, 2013

Soft Lemon Sugar cookies with Raspberry Icing

Difficulty. Easy
Time consuming: about 10-15 minutes to make the dough, then an overnight chill in the fridge, then rolling out the dough and baking batches for 8 minutes at a time.

I made some sweet treats for the sweet teachers at my school this Valentine's Day. With the overload of chocolate around every corner on this holiday, I opted for a fruitier treat that was very well received.  

The cookies are soft and bursting with bright lemon flavor.  The citrus note in the cookie complimented the raspberry frosting which resulted in the perfect sweet and tart flavor combination that was out of this world!

Happy (belated) Valentines Day, everyone! What kind of sweet treats did you get to enjoy?

 The Recipe:
 yields: 18 medium heart-shaped cookies and 28 small heart-shaped cookies

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder (or 2 teaspoons if you want an even fluffier cookie)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter (10 and 2/3 tablespoons), room temperature
2/3 cup white sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
zest from 1 lemon
juice from one lemon (about 1/4 cup of lemon juice)

1/3 cup butter (5 1/3 tablespoons)
 3 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons Raspberry Melba Sauce (more to taste, I probably used closer to 1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons milk (optional - if you need to thin the frosting, but the raspberry sauce will do this, too)


1.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.

2. Cream butter in a stand mixer until light and fluffy.  Add sugar and beat until well combinedAdd eggs and lemon zest and mix until well combined.

3.  Add half of the flour mixture and mix until combined.  Add lemon juice, mix.  Add the remaining of the flour mixture and mix until well incorporated.

4.  Turn dough out onto plastic wrap, smush into a disk shape, and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

5.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Take half of the dough out and let sit at room temperature for a few minutes - just enough so that it can be rolled out without breaking or cracking too much.  Roll dough out to 1/4" thick on a well floured surface (I used a combination of flour and powdered sugar), cut into desired shapes, transfer to a baking sheet.

6.  Bake for 8 minutes.  The cookies will not spread a lot in baking, so maybe leave a 1/2" between cookies.  Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  The tops of the cookies will be lightly colored and the bottoms just barley mottled with a light brown.

7.  Repeat step 6 with the remaining dough.

1.  Cream the butter in a stand mixer until light and fluffy.  Add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time.  It will seem impossibly thick and clumpy - if this happens, either add a tablespoon of milk or a few squirts of Raspberry Melba sauce until it starts to just barely come together.  Once all the sugar has been added, add raspberry sauce and beat on high until fluffy.  If the mixture seems too thick after all the raspberry has been added, add milk 1 tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency has been reached.

2.  Using an offset spatula or knife, spread onto cookies.  Let cookies sit for a few hours until the frosting is set.  If you are going to add sprinkles, do it sooner than later, because when the frosting starts to dry, the sprinkles won't stick as well.

Of course, if after you've frosted all of your cookies and find that you have some frosting left, sandwich with vanilla wafers or some homemade chocolate wafer cookies.

And I need to thank my friend Katie from grad school who shared the base of this recipe with me :)
Katie is awesome, she was doing her clinical rotation at a nursing home and wanted to share a treat with the residents that they would not have trouble eating - a lot of the people there were on restricted diets (like mechanical soft foods only) and she wanted to share something soft that the majority of folks could eat.  Of course, I helped her eat the leftovers, because that's what good friends do.

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