Obligatory cookie recipe, of course. These looked delightful so it seemed to be an obvious choice. For all the muffin and cupcake and bread and bar recipes out there, there weren’t really that many lemon cookie options.
THE RECIPE – LEMON BUTTER COOKIES
- 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 scant teaspoon fleur de sel (NOTE: for a cheaper alternative, you can substitute 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, ground to medium grain size.)
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 7 Tablespoons butter (not quite a full stick)
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons lemon juice
Important Ingredient Note, before we start: So, you may have noticed in the ingredients list that there’s this fancy thing called “fleur de sel” listed. If you’re anything like me, you’re asking yourself, “what the hell is that?” Well, friends, it’s a really fancy version of sea salt, literally translated to “flower of salt” – one that’s been extra-refined and also costs about an arm and a leg for a container that you really only need a teaspoon of.
I searched three different stores for this mysterious fleur de sel and finally found it at the grocery store (Target and Super Wal-Mart? You’ve both let me down.) There was only one brand available and it was $13.99… about which I almost had a heart attack. I mean, it was a really nice, thick glass container with a cork lid and a really pretty Tiffany-blue colored label, but… yeah, not happening.
Being clever as we are, the BF and I decided that using regular sea salt would probably be an adequate substitute. We, uh, were wrong. I had to throw the first batch of cookies out, they were so overpoweringly salty.
For my second batch, I used a half teaspoon of regular sea salt. And if that didn’t work, by God, I was giving up on this recipe.
Don’t preheat your oven yet. The dough needs to take a time-out in the freezer for a bit. I’ll give you a cue when.
First things first, zest your lemon. You probably don’t need to zest the whole lemon, as the recipe only calls for 1 Tablespoon of zest, but I discovered that if you freeze the extra zest, you can use it again later. It’s not quite as fresh, but it’s okay, as long as you let it fully thaw.
Now, mix together your flour (1 cup + 2 Tablespoons worth), sugar (1/3 cup), your fleur de sel if you’re fancy and your sea salt if you’re not, and the Tablespoon of lemon zest.
Pull your butter out of the fridge (don’t let it get too soft) and cut it into smaller pieces, then mix it into the dry mix using your hands. (You can use a pastry cutter if you want, but I’ve found that using my hands is pretty effective, plus the original recipe told me to). Keep massaging it until it resembles the type of butter-dough crumble that one would use for, say, the crust of the Blueberry Crumb Bars.
Separate your egg and add only the yolk to the butter crumble mixture. Use a fork (or your hands, whatever) to mix it into the rest of the dough. Keep kneading and squishing it until you can form a ball.
Divide the ball in half, and roll each half into a log that’s about 1” in diameter. Wrap each one in Saran Wrap (cling wrap) and deposit them in your freezer. Let them chill for about 30 minutes.
*Jeopardy theme music plays*
Ding! Time’s up.
Here is the point where you should probably pre-heat your oven. As has come to be the most common baking temperature we’ve used, set your dial to 350 degrees (Fahrenheit).
Unwrap your cookiesicles and slice ‘em up, about a quarter inch wide. If you want them to look all cool and crinkly like the ones in the picture, you’ll want to use a serrated knife. I didn’t have a serrated knife, so mine were boring and smooth.
Place them on a baking sheet and stick the sheet in the oven.
Note: these will not expand very much when they bake, so you can put them fairly close together.
Bake for about 12 minutes or so, or until the bottoms are ever so slightly golden. While they’re cooling, we’ll make the glaze. (Yes, another recipe with glaze. No, this one didn’t fare any better for me. I suck at glazes.)
This glaze is very similar to the glaze we made for the Strawberry Lemon Muffins. Take 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 1 1/2 Tablespoons(ish) lemon juice and whisk them together until you have… well, a glaze.
If you have some sort of fancy pastry bag or frosting bag or whatever it is people use to decorate cookies, you can probably use that. I poured mine in a baggie and cut the top off and tried to pipe the glaze on that way.
Fortunately, it wasn’t completely disastrous, but I will say that mine looked NOTHING like the originals.
Do you have any idea how pleased I was that these actually turned out the second time through? VERY PLEASED.
That said… I’m really torn on these. They were good (I think the entire batch lasted maybe an hour, between me and the BF. They were small! Practically bite-size! We’d walk by the counter and grab one or two each time and suddenly they were gone. Oops.) They had an interesting zesty yet salty flavor – more of a shortbread cookie than a lemon cookie, at that. The BF is a tea drinker and declared them to be perfect tea cookies. So, there’s that.
Mostly I was displeased with the glaze and how runny it was and how not-pretty these were. I found myself to be oddly jealous of the source image. Alas.
[Can regular people actually make this? Is it easy?] Easy enough, if you have all the proper ingredients and tools.
[Did it require any weird gadgetry or cookware?] THAT DAMN FANCY SALT. But there’s a workaround. (Yes, I know. That’s not a gadget. But it’s still something out of the ordinary.)
[How much did the ingredients cost?] As previously mentioned, the fleur de sel that is called for in this recipe will run you about $14 – which, for me, was not happening. You can get a small grinder of regular sea salt for about $3 instead… just don’t use as much of it. The only other thing you’ll probably need to buy is a lemon – the rest are basics that I had on hand.
[Does it taste as good as it looks? Does it only look good because it was so well photographed?] They weren’t quite what I was expecting, I’ll give you that. I think they were pretty good anyway, though.
[Weight Watchers Points+] If you get anywhere from 24-30 cookies (I can’t imagine you’d get MORE than that!), they are 2 points each.
[Final recommendation] I’m torn on these. They’re…. okay. They didn’t turn out like they were supposed to and I probably won’t make them again, at least not for myself. However, if you’re a tea drinker, they are apparently fantastic tea companions.