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Flour Girl: A Softie for Cookies

Lemon Sugar Cookies, before and after. (Leigh Lambert -- The Washington Post)

People have different tastes. Some folks like their Snickers frozen; others prefer them meltingly gooey. Some like a crisp cookie that snaps cleanly when you bite it; others would rather sink their teeth into something chewy.

One very dedicated reader has repeatedly asked (dare I say begged?) if we knew of a good recipe for a soft lemon sugar cookie. The reader's lament: Everyone thinks sugar cookies should be the crisp, cut-out kind. What about something yielding, rolled in sugar? The kind of cookie you imagine waiting for you in Grandma's cookie jar?

Recipe Included

I started with a recipe for holiday cookies that I'd clipped from the 2000 November-December issue of Cuisine magazine. I added lemon zest and extract, and voila! The resulting cookie is just what the reader yearned for, and so easy it can join anyone's regular baking rotation. No sense in waiting for the holidays.

-- Leigh Lambert

Soft Lemon-Sugar Cookies
Makes 3 1/2 dozen

MAKE AHEAD: The dough needs to be refrigerated for at least 3 hours or overnight. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days. They are slightly fragile so you will want to store them in a structured container.

Adapted from a recipe in the November-December 2000 issue of Cuisine magazine.

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
Finely grated zest from 1 lemon (about 2 teaspoons)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup sparkling, sanding or granulated sugar, for rolling

Combine the sugar, shortening and oil in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer. Beat on medium speed until light and well blended. Reduce the speed to medium-low and add the egg, lemon zest, vanilla extract and lemon extract, beating until thoroughly incorporated.

Combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cream of tartar in a separate medium bowl.
Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture to the sugar-egg mixture, beating until just combined. Cover the bowl of dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Position oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees. Have ready 2 ungreased baking sheets.

Shape the chilled dough into balls (about 1 tablespoon each). Roll them in the sparkling, sanding or granulated sugar and place on the baking sheets spaced 2 inches apart. Bake for 7 minutes, then rotate the baking sheets top to bottom and front to back to ensure even baking, then bake for 7 minutes (a total of 14 minutes). Cool the cookies on the sheets for 2 minutes, then carefully transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely before storing.

Repeat with the remaining dough.

Per cookie: 95 calories, 1 g protein, 12 g carbohydrates, 5 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 42 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber, 7 g sugar

By Leigh Lambert  |  August 20, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Flour Girl , Recipes  | Tags: Leigh Lambert, cookies, lemon  
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Looks great! What's the total baking time?

Posted by: LizaJoan | August 20, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

a total of 14 minutes.

Posted by: benwickb | August 20, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

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