Get the Perfect Balance of Sweet and Sour with These Fluffy Lemon Cookies

With desserts, we all have our tried-and-true types that we absolutely adore eating.

Vertical image of a pile of cookies in a white bowl with three lemons in the background on a gray wooden surface.

Passionate chocolate lovers desire a taste of indulgent decadence. They crave sweets like fudgy brownies, chocolate cake, and smooth, sultry chocolate ganache.

Then you have the fruit enthusiasts, enjoying bursts of fresh berries or pommes in freshly baked pies, and topping off ice cream with a few spoonfuls of homemade maraschino cherries.

Vertical top-down image of a scattered pile of cookies on a striped towel with lemons and lemon wedges on a gray wooden surface.

But the sweet-and-sour savants like a bit of crazy with their grub. They’re living on the precipice of extreme: a subtle sugary goodness, paired with a mischievous edge of something very sour.

These cookies are for you, my dessert daredevils.

With a powerful combo of fresh lemon zest and juice, these cookies slap you in the mouth with bright, bold flavors. The tartness is obviously mouth puckering, in the best way possible.

Vertical top-down image of a white bowl filled with pale cookies surrounded by lemons, lemon wedges, and a towel.

Don’t be scared, though. All this is lovingly balanced by a perfect sweetness. And these buttery creations are so soft and creamy, they just melt in your mouth as you bite in.

Ready for a roller coaster of fresh flavor and sweetness? The recipe is below!

Print
Horizontal image of a white bowl with a pile of freshly baked fluffy cookies surrounded by three whole lemons, lemon wedges, and a striped gray towel on a gray wooden surface.

Creamy and Fluffy Lemon Cookies


  • Author: Nikki Cervone
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15-18 minutes
  • Total Time: -25667083.916667 minute
  • Yield: 16 cookies

Description

With fresh lemon zest and juice, these cookies have bold flavors, balanced by a subtle sweetness and soft, creamy texture.


Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about 3-4 lemons)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Sift together the all-purpose flour, cake flour, cream of tartar, and baking soda in a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter with the lemon zest on medium-low speed until creamy and lightened in color, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and salt, and continue creaming for 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Blend in the egg yolks, mixing until just combined. Pour in the lemon juice and the vanilla, and continue to mix until just combined.
  4. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients in three additions, mixing just until blended. The dough will be soft and sticky. Transfer the dough to a clean bowl, cover, and chill for one hour.
  5. Heat the oven to 350°F. Remove the dough from the fridge. Using a floured cookie scoop or floured hands, scoop out the dough into even portions onto sheet pans lined with parchment paper or silicone mats. Place the dough portions about an inch apart from each other. Using the heel of your hand, very gently flatten each ball just slightly.
  6. Bake the cookies for 15 to 18 minutes, or until they look puffy and the edges are lightly golden brown, but the tops are still very light. Remove the cookies from the oven, and let stand for 5 minutes. Transfer to cooling racks.

Cooking by the Numbers…

Step 1 – Measure and Prep

Horizontal image of sifting dry ingredients in a bowl.

Measure and sift together the dry ingredients: all-purpose flour, cake flour, cream of tartar, and baking soda.

Don’t really know the difference between all-purpose and cake flour? We can help you learn the different kinds of flour.

Measure the room temperature unsalted butter. If it’s still cold, microwave the sticks briefly for just a few seconds until softened.

Freshly grate and juice the lemons. You’ll need 3-4 lemons for this, and a microplane is perfect for zesting.

Measure out the granulated sugar, salt, and vanilla extract. Separate the yolks from the whites of 4 eggs and reserve the whites for another use (like making meringue), or discard.

Prep two sheet pans with parchment paper or silicone mats.

Step 2 – Cream

Horizontal image of a white paddle and a metal bowl with a creamed butter and lemon zest mixture on a gray wooden surface.

Using an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the room temperature butter with the lemon zest on medium-low speed until creamy and lightened in color.

Horizontal image of a white paddle and metal bowl with a sugar and butter creamed mixture on a gray wooden surface.

Add the sugar and salt, and continue creaming for 1 to 2 minutes. It will be light and fluffy.

Step 3 – Add the Liquid Ingredients

Horizontal image of a white paddle and an egg mixture in a metal bowl on a gray wooden surface.

Blend the egg yolks into the butter and sugar mixture until the yolks are just combined.

With the blender still running, pour in the lemon juice and the vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides of the bowl if you need to. The mixture will look very liquidy and lumpy.

Step 4 – Add the Dry Ingredients

Horizontal image of a white paddle and metal bowl with pale cookie dough on a gray wooden surface.

Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients in three additions, mixing just until blended. Do not overmix, or the final texture will be tough.

The dough is going to be very soft and sticky. Transfer the dough to a clean bowl, cover, and chill for one hour. The dough will harden enough to be scooped and shaped in the next step.

Step 5 – Scoop and Shape

Horizontal image of a sheet pan lined with a silicone mat with cookie dough portions.

Heat the oven to 350°F. Remove the dough from the fridge.

Using an ice cream or cookie scoop, scoop out the dough in even portions onto the prepared sheet pans. To make transferring it out of the scooper easier, lightly dust the inside of it with extra flour.

Place the cookies about an inch apart from each other. Dip the heel of your hand in flour, and very gently flatten each ball just slightly. The cookies will spread a little as they bake, so don’t flatten them too hard.

Step 6 – Bake

Horizontal image of a cooling rack with freshly baked pale cookies.

Bake the cookies for 15 to 18 minutes, or until they look puffy and the edges are lightly golden brown, but the tops are still very light in color.

Remove the cookies from the oven, and let stand for 5 minutes. Then you can transfer the cookies to cooling racks. Enjoy while still warm for the ultimate melt-in-your-mouth experience, or wait to eat until cooled completely.

Take a Bold, Zesty Dare for Dessert

Horizontal image of one cookie on a white plate with lemon slices, lemons, cookies, and a towel around it.

Even if you’re a chocolate lover or a berry enthusiast, you should still try these lovely, lemony cookies for a fresh change from your usual favorites.

If the fresh citrusy flavor isn’t enough to tempt you, I bet the rich, buttery flavor of the dough will.

To take these to the next level of boldness, consider topping them off with crunchy turbinado sugar before baking. Or get even more sweet-and-sour fun with a marmalade glaze, like the one we use in our recipe for fluffy yogurt cake.

Horizontal image of a white bowl with a pile of freshly baked fluffy cookies surrounded by three whole lemons, lemon wedges, and a striped gray towel on a gray wooden surface.

For another tangy and delicious treat that’s also healthy, make our vegan lemon bars with a creamy cashew filling and nut and date crust.

How do you like to play with sweet and sour in your desserts? What do you think of making these cookies with either limes or oranges instead of lemons? We’ll be happy to read all your tangy comments below! And please rate this recipe down in the comments section.


Don’t forget to Pin It!

A collage of photos showing different views of a fluffy lemon cookie recipe.

Photos by Nikki Cervone, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Shanna Mallon on February 13th, 2009. Last updated: July 11, 2018 at 16:28 pm.

*Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

Related Posts
Filter by
Post Page
Thanksgiving Vegan Pies Desserts Cakes Cupcakes How To Salads Spring Vegetarian Breakfast and Brunch Appetizers Grains and Legumes Middle East / Mediterranean Dips Hummus Easter French Sauces and Spreads Christmas New Years Baking Fall German Beer Oktoberfest
Sort by

About Nikki Cervone

Nikki Cervone is a hungry foodie living in Pittsburgh. Nikki holds an AAS in baking/pastry from Westmoreland County Community College, a BA in Communications from Duquesne University, and an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University. When she is not tearing through her city's best grub, Nikki enjoys a healthy dose of yoga and chocolate. Lots of chocolate.

Calling all sweet-and-sour dessert lovers. Foodal has a lemony cookie recipe for you to try. With fresh lemon zest and juice, these treats have very bold flavors, balanced by a subtle sweetness and a soft, creamy texture that will melt in your mouth as you take a big bite. Make our perfectly tart recipe now on Foodal.

12 thoughts on “Get the Perfect Balance of Sweet and Sour with These Fluffy Lemon Cookies

  1. I love chocolate, but love citrus flavors a whole lot more – I’ll trade anything chocolate for anything lemon/lime. Or orange. 😀
    Your cookies look so beautiful!

  2. My go-to cookie recipe is Cook’s Illustrated’s classic sugar cookies, but they’re stale within days. I’ll have to give this a shot!

  3. Lemon is one of my kitchen staples. I always have a bag on hand because it’s one of my favorite flavors. Very excited to give this recipe a try!

    • Thanks for your lemony obsession, Charity! I love keeping lemons, limes, and oranges in my fridge. It’s so easy to add some bold flavors to dishes with just a little zest, or a squeeze of a juicy wedge.

    • Mmmmmm, completely agree with you, Erika! This is the perfect springtime treat to enjoy: so fresh, so bright! Almost makes me forget that it’s still snowing here in Pennsylvania…in April…

  4. People always look at me a little strangely when I tell them that I prefer a lemon dessert over chocolate…so glad I’m not alone. And who doesn’t love a dessert that “slaps you in the mouth with lemon” – great description. can’t wait to try.

    • You have plenty of peeps to support your citrus love, Brynn! Myself included. Let us know what you think after you make them!

  5. Oh wow, my mouth is watering just thinking about these cookies! I love the combination of sweet and tart in a good lemon cookie, and the tips and tricks in the post are super helpful. Thanks for sharing!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin521
Share
Tweet
Share
+1
521 Shares