Chewy Lemon Sugar Cookies
Last week I found myself with an excuse to bake something sweet for work. I always jump at the chance to
force share my baked goods with other people, mostly because it means I won’t have to eat them all myself. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to make sure my pants still fit – unless it takes running, then forget it. I’ll just buy bigger pants.
We were having pizza for lunch, so I wanted to go with something a little sweet, Spring-y, and not too rich… like Lemon Sugar Cookies. You can’t go wrong with a classic. I’m super picky about sugar cookies though (and really, cookies in general). Sugar cookies need to be soft and chewy with a crunchy sugar coating. Crisp sugar cookies just will not do.
I’m happy to report these cookies met and maybe even exceeded my picky sugar cookie expectations. They’re perfectly chewy and they stay chewy, even after being stored for a few days. They have just the right amount of sugary crunch on the outside and a bright (but not bitter or sour) lemon flavor. The secret ingredient – cream cheese – adds just a hint of tang that really complements the lemon.
Oh, and did I mention they were a big hit with everyone who ate them? I’ve been told they’re the “best ever”. You’re going to want to make these cookies!
Chewy Lemon Sugar Cookies
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
Makes about 24 cookies
2 1/4 cups (11 1/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) sugar , plus 1/3 cup for rolling
2 ounces cream cheese , cut into 8 small pieces
zest of 1 large lemon
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter , melted and still warm
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon extract
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with Silpats or parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
Place 1 and 1/2 cups sugar and lemon zest in a large bowl and whisk together until fragrant. Add cream cheese to sugar mixture and pour warm melted butter over top. Whisk briskly to combine (some lumps are OK). Whisk in oil. Add egg, lemon juice, milk, vanilla and lemon extract. Whisk until smooth. Fold in flour mixture with rubber spatula until incorporated and a soft dough forms.
Place remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small bowl. Using a 1 1/2 or 2 Tablespoon cookie scoop, portion out 12 dough balls per baking sheet. Roll each dough ball in your hands, then roll in sugar to coat. Space about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.
Bake 1 sheet at time at 350°F for 11-13 minutes, until set and just beginning to brown on the bottom. (They might not look done, but don’t over bake!) Cool on the baking sheet for 3-5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.