I’ve mentioned before that even though decorating cookies is my number one kid craft of choice, I don’t really like eating painted sugar cookies. The texture is usually too cardboard-y for me and the icing is always too sweet. Nonetheless, it is something we kids LOVED doing every single Christmas and today I paint cookies year round with my kids.
Anyway, in honor of spring and spring-like flavors, I thought I would try making the cookies lemon flavored this time around. Some lemon oil in the dough and some lemon oil and juice in the icing.
It makes a really big difference. Now I wish I had insisted on painting some of the cookies, because as you can see from the pictures toddlers everywhere are heavy handed with the sprinkles and I don’t really like sprinkles. But I have been brushing them off to eat these anyway. Next time I would use some cream instead of 2% milk in the icing to help make the colors a little more opaque. But all in all, I consider this a big success. Of course I will have a big dilemma next Christmas because I cannot envision making the vanilla cookies again. Maybe September through December we will make these spiced sugar cookies and the rest of the year we can make the lemon ones.
The actual cookie recipe you may notice is very similar but not identical to the Sur La Table one I published before. That one I got off the web; this one I got from the book. Either the first one was already adapted when I found it or the recipe was tweaked before the book was published. I preferred this latter version–note it is almost like a rolled thin shortbread as there is no leavener. It was a very easy dough to work with–and why I had I never considered rolling my dough out on parchment paper?
For this decorating occasion we had some other kids over–and the adults did not paint any cookies. So pardon the mess, but those of you with toddlers will understand why. My younger daughter in particular only wants to eat sprinkles–and jam as many of them as possible onto the cookies.
One note about the colors: this was my first time using all of these colors, and let’s just say not all of them were a big success. Don’t get me wrong, they were pretty, but not many of them came out the springtime pastel I was expecting. Although the fuschia you see below did dry much nicer than I expected.
Classic Sugar Cookies With A Lemon Twist
Adapted from The Art & Soul Of Baking, Cindy Mushet (Sur La Table)
2 1/4 cups (11.25 oz) AP flour
3/4 cup (5.25 oz) sugar
1/4 t salt
1/2 lb (2 sticks) unsalted butter cut into 10-12 pieces, cold
2 large egg yolks
2 t vanilla
1/8 t lemon oil
In a large bowl whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. Add butter to flour, mixing on lowest speed (or cutting butter into flour) until the mixture resembles crumbs. It will take 2-3 minutes.
In a small bowl whisk together the egg yolks, vanilla and lemon oil. Add this to the flour mixture and mix on medium low speed until the dough comes together in 2-3 large clumps (it will happen, be patient, maybe 3 minutes or so).
Dump the dough onto the counter and knead twice to bring together into a ball. Divide in half and flatten each half into a disc about 1/2 inch thick and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for 30 minutes only.
Roll out each piece of dough in between 2 sheets of parchment paper (I started without the top sheet and rolled both with and without it) to 1/8-inch thickness. Remove the top sheet occasionally to prevent wrinkles. Place the dough, pressed between the 2 sheets of parchment paper, back into the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Cut the dough into desired shapes. Re-roll the scraps, chilling the first time as before. For the 3rd round combine the scraps into one ball and roll it out. Toward the end you my need to flour the rolling pin slightly and be more gentle when peeling away the parchment paper.
Bake on parchment paper or silicone mats for about 10 minutes–watch for browning. if you are as uneven of a roller as I am some cookies will brown faster than others (and need more or less time correspondingly).
Lemon Decorating Icing:
*All amounts approximate–I just dump everything in a bowl and whisk until I get the desired consistency.
3 cups powdered sugar
1-2 T cream
juice of one lemon (or more or less to desired consistency)
1-2 T light corn syrup
a few drops of lemon oil
gel food coloring (divide frosting into separate bowls for many colors)
Whisk all ingredients together until desired consistency is achieved. I probably used a little more than one lemon. The tartness of the icing is what really made these cookies for me.
That Girl says
I’m missing Easter this year, but maybe I’ll try painting cookies with my niece and nephew for Christmas this year.
noble pig says
They turned out so cute. I absolutely love the custom paint jobs.
Looks like your kids had a great time! And what a great job they did. A little heavy-handedness with the sprinkles never hurt anyone. I’m so glad that you figured out a way to enjoy the cookies and the icing! I’ve got to try the lemon trick!!
If it’s lemon, I’d take those…sprinkles and all! Now I am wondering why I never tried painting cookies.
ah…if only life was always about rainbows and cookies and rainbow-colored cookies. these are lovely, and super fun!
These look great – and such fun!
Laura – Have you ever tried painting UNbaked cookies with colored eggyolk? That’s how I grew up doing it. R
Yes. The colors stay vibrant. What’s really great about them is that an over-abundance of color (in other words, what most kids do) becomes glossy when baked.
It’s one egg yolk, a couple drops of water (to thin it out) and then coloring. We sometimes use egg white for colors like blue, but the “paint” is less even that way.