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.
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
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.