Lemon-Poppyseed Sugar Cookies

September 17, 2009 · 14 comments · Print This Post

in Baked Goods, Cookies

Lemon-Poppyseed Sugar Cookies

Inevitably when I go to the grocery store I buy both lemons and limes. They’re a staple (at least in my head) along with parsley, potatoes, and onions. Unfortunately the poor lemons seem to always get the short-end of the stick. While the limes find frequent homes in a sparkly glass of Hendricks Gin, lately the lemons tend to sit expectantly waiting for me to do something, anything with them.

Sure I could toss some pasta and veggies with lemon juice or make muffins but sometimes I think it would be nice to do something a little different. A little less expected, perhaps? So when I found this recipe from Cooks Illustrated for Lemon-Poppyseed Sugar Cookies I knew my lonely lemons had finally met their match.

Lemon-Poppyseed Sugar Cookies

Tender, chewy, and flavorful are the hallmark adjectives that a cookie recipe must yield to meet my strict expectations and these citrus infused baked goods met every one. My one suggestion for those of you, like CK, who are looking for a more in your face lemon kick, would be to add a few tablespoons of lemon juice to the dough, but I was completely fine with the more subtle flavor.

Lemon-Poppyseed Sugar Cookies

Lemon-Poppyseed Sugar Cookies
Originally published in the November 2002 issue of Cooks Illustrated

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (10 ounces), preferably Pillsbury or Gold Medal
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon table salt
16 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened but still firm (60 to 65 degrees)
1 cup granulated sugar (7 ounces)
1/2 cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces), for rolling dough
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Adjust oven racks to upper- and lower-middle positions; heat oven to 375 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl; set aside.

In standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment or with hand mixer, beat butter, 1 cup granulated sugar, and brown sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Add egg, zest, and vanilla; beat at medium speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Add dry ingredients

Place sugar for rolling in shallow bowl. Fill medium bowl halfway with cold tap water. Dip hands in water and shake off excess (this will prevent dough from sticking to your hands and ensure that sugar sticks to dough). Roll heaping tablespoon dough into 1 1/2-inch ball between moistened palms; roll ball in sugar, then place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, moistening hands after forming each ball and spacing balls about 2 inches apart on baking sheet (you should be able to fit 12 cookies on each sheet). Using butter wrapper, butter bottom of drinking glass; dip bottom of glass in remaining sugar and flatten dough balls with bottom of glass until dough is about 3/4 inch thick.

Bake until cookies are golden brown around edges and just set and very lightly colored in center, 15 to 18 minutes, reversing position of cookie sheets from front to back and top to bottom halfway through baking time. Cool cookies on baking sheet about 3 minutes; using wide metal spatula, transfer cookies to wire rack and cool to room temperature.

Lemon-Poppyseed Sugar Cookies

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jeannette September 17, 2009 at 12:06 pm

oh my gosh. these look awesome!!

now off to find some poppy seeds that won’t break the bank 🙂


2 A Mom Anonymous September 17, 2009 at 12:14 pm

Those look really tasty! Perfect for what I was craving not too long ago. I ended up making a very difficult lemon cookie. While they tasted good, they were a big pain to make when all I wanted was a subtle lemon shortbread type. These are going on the “make when the kitchen is back in working order” list! Thanks Erin!


3 Bob September 17, 2009 at 12:50 pm

Those look wicked good. I would definitely add the juice though, I love lemony cookies.


4 kristina September 17, 2009 at 1:20 pm

I make lemon-poppy seed and orange-poppy seed shortbread quite a bit, but I really like the idea of the same flavors in a sugar cookie. Yum! K x


5 Tabby Kelliher September 17, 2009 at 1:35 pm

Those look wonderful. I will be saving this one.
Thanks as always for the wonderful recipes!


6 Shannon September 17, 2009 at 7:22 pm

ooh, now i know why i end up with more limes—i need to buy gin!!! asap 😉


7 nithya at hungrydesi September 17, 2009 at 9:58 pm

wow i haven’t seen this combination in a cookie. sounds good. and i agree with your required adjectives for a cookie 🙂


8 Monica H September 18, 2009 at 12:12 am

yes please! I just saw lemon poppy seed pancakes on picky cook, now these! I want lemon poppyseed anything right now.



9 la petite chef September 18, 2009 at 1:17 pm

LOVE this!! 🙂 Totally forgot how great these are! Awesome flavors.
Thanks for the recipe! Great pics!


10 Elina September 18, 2009 at 3:35 pm

Gorgeous. Now I want a sugar cookie 🙂


11 Cheri September 21, 2009 at 4:49 am

These sound amazing. I love lemon poppyseed anything!


12 carrie September 26, 2009 at 5:54 pm

yum!! I definitely have to try these. and those rosemary crackers. you’d think with all the baking I do I’d have done it already, but… *sigh*.

these look delish.


13 Framberly November 7, 2009 at 8:33 pm

Hello Erin! Is there anyway that i could make this recipe but without adding any lemon poppyseed or anything just sprinkles. But will they come out nice and chewy like the one in the picture if i don’t add this things? Oh please tell me what i should do! I just wish for nice sugar cookies with sprinkles. I would love to make those too but my friend is allergic to lemon and i’m making them for him. Thanks in advance! 🙂


14 glen December 23, 2011 at 3:10 pm

so they are amazing but how do you keep them from spreading so thin


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