It’s mid-February and we’re in the heart of winter. Whether you’re getting slammed with feet of snow or just cold temps, odds are you’re at the point of the season where you’ve started dreaming of longer days, summer sunshine and an end to winter. Personally, I’m daydreaming of fresh berries and what I want to grow* in my garden this year (*more like, attempt to grow and see if I can keep anything alive). While we all patiently wait for the seasons to change, I’m biding time with things like these Lemon Cookies to add some citrus flavors to break up the winter doldrums.
These cookies have a texture similar to soft sugar cookies, but without the floury or gritty sugar aftertaste that can often accompany even the best of sugar cookies. Lemon can be a hard flavor to achieve in baking at times; balancing the right amounts of extract, lemon zest and juice can be a challenge. For that reason, I lean on Lemon Emulsion to make sure the lemon flavor stands out boldly in my baking. If you aren’t familiar with emulsions, let me help:
Emulsions vs Extracts
The main difference between emulsions and extracts is how the flavor is diluted. Extracts are diluted with an alcohol solution, whereas Emulsions are suspended in water base. This slight difference has a big impact on how much of the flavor remains after your baked good reaches high temps in the oven; alcohol-based extracts will burn off, leaving the final flavor weaker than an emulsion. I made the switch to emulsions almost exclusively (with the exception of pure vanilla extract) for flavoring my baked goods. With emulsions, I’ve made coconut cakes, raspberry whoopie pies, blueberry buttercream frosting, and these lemon cookies!
If you want to start exploring the world of emulsions, I recommend the LorAnn brand due to reliable flavors and great selection. You can find this brand on Amazon and at some local retailers.
This recipe provides a good base to get creative with emulsions. If you wanted to try these with Orange or Raspberry emulsion, go for it! Use the same amount of emulsion included below with the flavor of your choice.
I topped these cookies with an optional glaze for added sweetness, but these can stand alone without it. The glaze recipe is included below for reference.
Yield = 2 dozen
- 1½ c. all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 ¼ c. granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp. lemon emulsion
- ½ tsp. vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350°
- In a small bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine butter and granulated sugar and mix until smooth (~ 2 minutes)
- Add in eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition (~1-2 minutes each) and scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally.
- Add in lemon emulsion and vanilla, mix well.
- Add in the dry ingredients in 2-3 batches, mixing well after each addition and scraping the sides.
- Scoop 2-3 tbsp. (large size cookie scoop) on to the pan and bake for 9 minutes.
- Transfer to cooling rack and cool completely before glazing (optional)
- 1 c. powdered confectioner’s sugar
- 2 tbsp. milk or half & half
- ¼ tsp. vanilla extract
Mix all ingredients together until smooth and no clumps of powdered sugar remain. To apply to cookie, either load glaze into a pastry bag and drizzle over cookies, or dip cookies into the glaze. Let glaze dry completely before storing in an air-tight container.