I’ve tried many roll-out cookie recipes and worked to find one that would hold it’s shape well once baked and have a great flavor. This cookie has lemon and cream cheese in it which sets it apart from others. If I’m going to make a large batch of cookies this is my go to as it pairs well with different icings (especially a tart lemon one!). This dough does need to be refrigerated before rolling and I have found (after many, many batches) it’s very consistent in results.
This lemon sugar cookie recipe makes a lot of dough – about 7- 8 dozen cookies. My measurement these past months has been by Modern Morsel shapes and this made 37 elongated hexagons, 28 stars and 27 circles! This amount fits in my mixer’s glass bowl, but I do need to mix a bit by hand after to get everything incorporated. If you have a smaller bowl you may want to cut it in half just to be sure you don’t wind up with a mess.
You could begin planning ahead for the holidays if you typically like to decorate cookies, just pick your shapes now and freeze the rolled out, unbaked cookies then bake when you’re ready!
Roll-Out Lemon Sugar Cookies
These roll-out cookies include lemon and cream cheese which gives them a nice, slightly different flavor. It makes a lot of dough!
- 3 cups unsalted butter softened
- 6 oz cream cheese softened
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 3 eggs large
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 lemons, large 2 teaspoons zest, 1 teaspoon juice
- 9 cups flour
- 4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Make the dough: Cream the butter, cream cheese and sugar with a mixer. Once light and fluffy add the eggs, vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt; add to the mixer in batches. You should cover the mixing bowl with the dish towel during this to prevent flour going everywhere. This will take multiple batches and scraping down of the bowl with your rubber spatula. Ensure everything is well mixed. This most likely will mean finishing the mixing by hand to ensure there aren’t any bits clinging inside the bowl.
Roll out the dough: Once you have mixed all the dough cut many pieces of parchment to the size of your cookie sheets (this makes it much easier to move around if it fits on them). Grab an extra large handful of dough and place between two pieces of parchment. Roll it to about 1/4" thick cutting off the edges that overhang the parchment and adding back to the large amount of dough. By rolling the dough this way you can continue to reuse scraps without them getting to floury (versus if you used flour every time for rolling). Continue to roll out large rectangles of dough 1/4" thick until all is sandwiched between parchment. Place these on the cookie sheet and move to the refrigerator for over an hour (could be overnight).
Cut the dough: After the dough has been chilled, working with one slab at a time remove from the refrigerator and begin to cut your shapes. You should have a cookie sheet prepped with parchment beside where you cut so you can move cut cookies to the fresh sheet that you will bake them on. Leave some space between them. Take all the dough scraps and put to the side. Take out the next slab and continue cutting until all the first round of slabs have been cut. I tend to keep all the same shape or similar size on each sheet so they bake for similar times.
Bake the cookies: If you intend on baking the same day you cut out the cookies you should put the cookie sheets into the freezer for 15 minutes or so before putting into the oven. This helps them maintain the best shape. If you are fine with a bit more free form cookies feel free to skip this step as it can add a bit of time and coordination. I did this step and had the nice crisp edged circles you see in the top photo. Timing works pretty well for one sheet to be in the freezer while one sheet cooks and keep rotating them like this as you work on rerolling and cutting the rest of the dough. If you don’t intend on baking them the same day freeze the shapes on the sheet, then once frozen you can place them in a freezer bag or container until you are ready to bake.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (for the gas oven that I use; for electric I raised the temperature to 375). Bake the cookies (which have been in the freezer at least 15 minutes) for 10 – 15 minutes depending on size of cookie and your oven.
Frost the cookies: Let the cookies cool completely on wire racks before you frost them. I have frosted these cookies with many different icings. A tart icing that you can dip them into is an awesome quicker way to ice them (like in the above photo). Royal icing also works well if you plan on decorating them. Let the icing harden completely before stacking and the it can be helpful to put sheets of parchment between the layers to be sure they don’t stick when storing.
Total time: 4+ hours (can be split into 3+ days: Day 1 – make the dough and chill, Day 2 – cut out cookies and bake or freeze, Day 3 – frost the cookies)
Recipe adapted from the kitchn