If you're a fan of lemony treats, you've gotta try this recipe. Me? I'll take lemon desserts over chocolate any day. When my sister, Nelda, and I were kids (a loooooong time ago!) our favorite store-bought cookie was Lemon Coolers. They were made by the Sunshine company. Those cookies sent us straight to lemony heaven. I don't know when they stopped making them. All I know is I haven't seen them in stores for many years. I've missed them.
Until now. This Lemon Snowball Cookie recipe is reminiscent of those Lemon Coolers from my childhood without the artificial ingredients. It's really just a modification of my Traditional Snowball Cookies made with simple ingredients and resulting in a a melt-in-your-mouth, delicate texture.
Step 1. Assemble the ingredients:
About the lemon oil. I experimented with flavoring these cookies with lemon juice, lemon extract, crushed lemon candies, and lemon zest. I couldn't quite achieve the flavor I was looking for, particularly in the lemony powdered sugar coating. I found some other recipes that used instant lemonade mix, but I wanted to stay away from the artificial ingredients in those mixes. Using a combination of lemon zest and lemon oil delivered the best results for me. Lemon oil is very concentrated and flavor-packed. It is available at Whole Foods. I bought mine on Amazon.
view on Amazon: 100% lemon oil (food-grade)
Step 2. Zest the lemon. A Microplane is the easiest tool for this task.
view on Amazon: Microplane
Step 3. No creaming of butter or adding ingredients in a specific order is required. Simply put everything into a bowl, and mix on a low speed with an electric mixer until combined. The mixture should be in moist crumbs that will hold together when pressed. (Either a stand or hand-held electric mixer is fastest and easiest. However, you can blend the mixture by hand with a pastry blender if you don't own a mixer.)
Step 4. Roll or scoop walnut size balls of cookie dough. To maintain a light texture, don't over work or compact the dough too much. Form the balls just tightly enough that the dough holds it's round shape. I prefer to use a small scoop for quick, even, perfectly shaped cookies. Arrange cookies on parchment paper or a silicone mat on a large baking sheet. My 13x18" baking sheet holds a full batch of these cookies.
view on Amazon: small cookie scoop, 13x18" baking sheet, economical set of silicone mats--(These mats are highly recommended. They have rounded corners for a perfect fit inside half and quarter baking sheets, and they are considerably more economical than the Silpat brand mats--3 mats for less than the cost of 1 Silpat)
Step 5. Bake the cookies just until you see a few of them begin to brown ever-so-slightly. Mine bake for 18 minutes.
Step 6. While the cookies bake, combine powdered sugar and lemon oil. Whisk vigorously so that the oil gets evenly mixed throughout. (Warning: Do not substitute lemon extract or lemon juice; it is wet and will dissolve some of the sugar and make it lumpy.)
view on Amazon: 100% lemon oil (food-grade)
Step 7. Once out of the oven, allow the cookies to cool on the pan for 10 minutes, and while they're still warm, roll them in the lemony powdered sugar. Set them on a rack until completely cooled. (I place my rack inside a baking sheet to contain the powdered sugar mess.)
view on Amazon: cooling rack (it fits perfectly inside a 13x18 baking sheet)
Step 8. When the cookies have completely cooled, roll them in powdered sugar a second time.
Even better the next day. Many cookies are best eaten freshly baked. But, these taste even better a day or two or three after they're baked. Both the flavor and texture improve. That makes these a great make-ahead cookie.
Freezable. You can also freeze these. Roll them again in powdered sugar after they're thawed to restore their appearance, if necessary.
Make them egg-shaped for Easter. It's easy! When you portion out the balls with a cookie scoop, use your hands to form them into egg shapes before baking. They make a fun Easter treat. To make a gift bag like the one pictured below, use 2 cellophane bags. Put Easter grass in the bottom of one bag and cookies in the second bag. Insert the cookie bag inside the first bag and rest it on top of the grass nest. Tie the tops of the two bags together with ribbon.
I love the texture and lemony flavor of these cookies. They're tender and crumbly on the inside, with that awesome double layer of powdered sugar on the outside. Keep a napkin handy when you eat them. They're messy to eat, but in the best possible way!
These delicate, pretty little cookies always look festive on cookie platters. They're wonderful with afternoon tea and perfect to serve at weddings or showers.
Make it a Yummy day!