If you love lemon, then get ready to pucker up! Lemon Snowcap Cookies are delightfully bright and tart; they’re soft and moist, and they melt in your mouth. I bet you can’t eat just one!
Oh, Dear Reader, I battled with this one for a while. I really wanted to include cookies that would appeal to the masses, but not everyone likes sprinkles or chocolate. And, those are prevalent in most Christmas cookies. John.e suggested I call them snowcap cookies, because of the confectioner’s sugar, and there you have it. Lemon Snowcap Cookies are on the official Christmas cookie countdown!
Before we get too into it, it might come as no surprise to my readers that I’m back with a third installment of Lord Byron’s 24 Cookies of Christmas. Should you be new here, let me tell you a bit about how this works. This is my third annual Christmas cookie extravaganza. Like the previous two years, I will post a brand new Christmas cookie recipe for 24 consecutive days. Yes, that means Saturdays and Sundays too! For your reference, you can find links to the first two years further down the page.
Fresh off of my 12 Biscotti of Christmas series, I’m excited to get this new series started. Last year, I also did 12 Bundt Cakes of Christmas. Now, who’s ready to get started on this journey with me? Is your butter at room temperature? Are you lemons zested and juiced? Are you ready to get covered from heat to toe in confectioner’s sugar? Is your apron on and your oven preheated? Good! Let’s get to it!
One of the steps in this recipe is one that requires you to making lemon sugar. This is one of those things that makes very little sense, but is very important. Infusing the sugar with the lemon is key to making Lemon Snowcap Cookies even more lemony.
To the best of my knowledge, I believe that the aggressive beating of the sugar and the lemon zest together, releases the natural lemon oil from the zest and infuses the sugar profusely. Don’t skip this step. Will your cookies still taste great? Yes. But this one step adds even more lemon essence. Trust me!
That’s just what lemon sugar is – lemon zest and white, granulated sugar. Most recipes will ask you to rub the zest into the sugar with your hands. You can do it this way, but I prefer to use my hand-held mixture. Use a deep bowl, so that the sugar doesn’t flick out. On high speed, beat and pulverize the lemon zest into the sugar. You’ll see how the sugar slowly turns a pale yellow.
DID YOUR COOKIE DOUGH CURDLE?
Don’t worry, Dear Reader. This is completely normal and is to be expected. When you add the lemon juice to the butter mixture, the acidity in the lemon juice will react with the butter. The mixture will look like it’s curdled, but don’t worry about it.
Once you add the dry ingredients, the mixture will come together nicely and form a cohesive and smooth cookie dough. All will be well!
APPLYING CONFECTIONER’S SUGAR TO HOT COOKIES
This step is not rocket science, but it does require a little finesse. I cook and bake a lot, so the heat tolerance in my fingers might be a bit higher. It is important to coat these Lemon Snowcap Cookies very well with confectioner’s sugar while they are hot. Or, at least as hot as you can stand!
Once you take them out of the oven, you’ll want to coat them as quickly as possible. I’m not suggesting you pick up these piping hot cookies! But, you really don’t want them to cool down too much. Here’s how I do it.
I set the baking sheet onto a wire cooling rack. This allow air to flow around the baking sheet entirely. My bowl of confectioner’s sugar is ready and standing by. I wait about a minute and then I start to coat the cookies. If you are unable to pick them up by hand, use a cookie spatula to transfer the hot cookies from the baking sheet to the bowl of sugar. Work with maybe four or five cookies at a time. Don’t overcrowd the bowl! Toss each cookie well and then transfer them to a wire cooling rack to set.
As soon as you have coated all of the cookies and they are sitting on the cooling rack, you’ll want to dust them with more confectioner’s sugar. There’s no need to pick them up and place them in the bowl again. This time, you can use sugar dusting can or even a flour sifter. Heavily coat the tops of the cookies before they are cooled.
STORING, PACKAGING, AND FREEZING
If you plan to freeze these cookies, you certainly can! Once they are completely cooled, pile them into a clean, food-safe container. The container must be freezer friendly! You’ll want to ensure a very tight fitting lid too. (I use these quite often when freezing baked goods.) I like to place a sheet of plastic wrap over the top of the container before pushing the lid on. This helps to create a better seal. The goal is to keep all of that cookie freshness locked in!
You can freeze these cookies for up to three months. If you plan to give the frozen cookies as a gift, I would lay them out onto a wire cooling rack to thaw. Once thawed, dust liberally again with the confectioner’s sugar. Pile into cellophane bags and tie with a ribbon, or stack in a cookie tin/box.
As I said, every day I will be posting a new recipe. If you miss one, don’t fret. You can find my entire collection of Christmas Recipes right here! There are over 100 Christmas recipes and counting. There’s something for everyone! Cheers!
Lemon Snowcap Cookies
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest, tightly packed
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice, use fresh, not bottled
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup confectioner's sugar
- In a large mixing bowl, use a hand-held mixer on high speed to beat the sugar and lemon zest together to create lemon sugar. The sugar will turn a pale yellow when done.
- Add the butter and beat to combine until light and fluffy.
- Next, add the lemon juice, honey, and both extracts. Beat until combined. If the mixture looks like it has curdled, don't worry. It's still good.
- Add in the flour, baking soda, and salt. Beat until a dough is formed.
- Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Begin by preheating your oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat and set aside.
- Roll dough into balls, using about 2 teaspoons of the mixture. Place two inches apart on prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 10 minutes. In the meantime, place the confectioner's sugar in a shallow bowl and set aside.
- Once the cookies come out of the oven, transfer 4 or 5 cookies at a time to the bowl with the confectioner's sugar. Very carefully – they are hot! – roll them around in the sugar. Once fully coated, transfer to a wire cooling rack.
- Once all of the cookies have been coated, allow the cookies to cool for 1 hour. Then, re-coat the cookies a second time in the confectioner’s sugar.
- If you are storing the cookies, stack them in layers in a container and top each layer with a dusting of any of the leftover confectioner's sugar.