I evidently have a thing for lemon and brown sugar. Last week I bought a bunch of lemons at my local ethnic market (5 for a dollar!) and wanted to make something just a little bit sweet to nibble on after dinner. I was sure I could find a recipe online for cookies, but either I’m looking in the wrong places or the recipe gods just want me to get creative, because I couldn’t find a single one anywhere!
That’s where these came in. I looked at several sugar cookie recipes and sort of mushed bits of them together and messed around. I quite like the result – a thick, slightly dense and crumbly wedge cookie that goes brilliantly with tea or coffee (if you’re a dunker, you’ll be pleased to note that this cookie doesn’t disintegrate into your drink!). I would imagine that these would be excellent rolled in powdered sugar, but none of them lasted long enough.
Lemon Brown Sugar Tea Cookies
- 1/2 cup butter (softened; I was thinking you might be able to use cooled brown butter as well but I haven’t tried it)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar (I used light brown sugar because that’s what was open in my pantry but I think dark brown would be fine. Just a little more molasses-y)
- zest of 2 lemons (about 1 1/2 tbsp; be sure to cut the zest into little pieces so it’s evenly distributed)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp lemon extract (I think you could probably add up to 1 tsp of this, as my original cookies were more of a “hint of lemon” flavor)
- 1 tsp lemon juice (you could probably go a little heavier on this too)
- 2 tsp milk
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- dash salt (about 1/8 tsp)
- 1 1/2 cups flour
With an electric mixer, cream together butter, sugar, and zest until the mixture is light and creamy and there are no lumps. Add the extract and beat to combine. Add the egg, milk, and juice, beating to combine after each addition. Add (or, if you’re feeling especially fancy, sift) the baking powder, salt, and flour and mix with a spoon (the batter will be soft but the mixer will probably have trouble).
At this point you could take rounded spoonfuls of your mixture, plop them on a cookie sheet, and place them in an oven preheated to 375 degrees. But I’m the type of girl who would prefer to have cookie dough in the freezer so I can make small batches over time. So if I’m making most cookies I like to roll up the dough in plastic wrap and stick it in the freezer. For this dough, I found that thick wedge-shaped cookies’ texture was better than thin disk-shaped cookies (I tried both), so here’s how to do it: Place your dough on a piece of plastic wrap in a 2-inch tube shape (the dough is soft so it’s going to be a rough tube). Wrap it up well and place it in the freezer for 1 hour (up to several weeks). When you’re ready for your cookies, cut thick slices (between 1/3 and 1/2 inch) off the end of the tube. Cut each slice in half to make a wedge and smooth out the edges. I suppose if you wanted to get really creative you could carve detail onto each slice to make a lemon wedge, but I don’t have that kind of patience!
Pop your cookies onto a cookie sheet and bake them for 7-12 minutes or until golden (the more frozen your dough, the more likely you’ll need to cook them a little longer). Bakes approx. 36 small cookies.