Lemon Drop Cookies


lemon drop cookies

These lemon drop cookies are part of my lemon dessert recipes collection. This is one of those SUPER traditional Italian cookie recipes. Like - real traditional. We call them anginetti.

This is not a sweet cookie. Think of "miniature biscuit" with just a hint of lemon sweetness. You will need the icing to get that ying-yang thing going. You know, the sweet with the tart. The icing adds the "sweet" and the biscuit is the tart. Almost no one eats these plain. Unless you are my son who must have something wrong with him, because I know my world revolves around ICING!

Lemon drop cookies are real similar to ricotta cheese cookies. The main difference though is, you guessed it, the ricotta cheese. A lot of people only make this cookie with ricotta - and if you want to do that - you will need to flip over to my ricotta cheese cookies recipe.

For this I use BOTH lemon extract and vanilla extract PLUS lemon zest. These are biscuit like in texture, but not in size (unless you roll them huge like biscuits - but don't do that!). I've heard now and then that these taste egg-y, so that's why I ALWAYS make sure to have lemon zest, lemon flavoring AND vanilla. It just cuts the chance of any egg comments.

People choose to shape lemon drop cookies in two different ways. So you choose if you want to:

  • Pipe them in a ziploc or pastry bag, make a circle, then wet your fingers and close the circle
  • Roll into balls
  • You really will want to read the section below - because these aren't one of those typical drop cookie recipes where you drop them, wait for them to brown or spread. These guys behave a bit differently. And if you read ahead you won't panic as you go.

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    Lemon Drop Cookies

    YIELD: 4 dozen


    * 1/2 cup shortening

    * 1/4 cup butter

    * 1 cup sugar

    * 4 cups white flour

    * 6 eggs (Yes, really. Not a typo!)

    * 4 tsps baking powder (This one too. Not a typo!)

    * 2 tsp vanilla extract

    * 2 tsp lemon extract

    * 1 tsp lemon zest

    Icing Ingredients

    * 2 tablespoons lemon juice

    * 2 tablespoons water

    * 3 cups powdered sugar

    * 1 tablespoon butter

    * 2 tablespoons lemon juice

    * 2 tablespoons water


    * Preheat oven to 350 degrees

    * Spray or grease a cookie sheet ( I use a Silpat - love it! )

    * Blend the butter, vanilla, and lemon extract and sugar in a medium to large bowl.

    * Add the eggs, one at a time. I beat them after each one. Not a major long time, but I do make sure they are well blended.

    * Stir in the flour baking powder until they are all combined. I go one cup at a time and get a real good blend.

    * This is the point where people get concerned. The dough is sticky. And it's supposed to be. So you are ok.

    * You can do one of two things - refridgerate the dough and then roll into balls - OR you can use a pastry bag and pipe right away. I personally like the ball shape. And I find that my dough is more elastic than sticky - so I don't mind rolling into balls right away.

    * So, roll the dough into 1/2-inch balls- don't get too much bigger. These will puff up more than they spread. So you don't want it dough-ey inside. Keep 'em smaller.

    * Put them 2 inches apart on the sheet - they gotta have room to expand and "crinkle" on the top. Looks so cool!

    * Bake - or until the bottom is golden and the top cracks. (Be careful to NOT over bake!)

    * Make sure you cool these BEFORE you ice them

    Icing Procedure

    * Are your cookies cool? If so, then march on....

    * Melt the butter and add the powdered sugar

    * Add your lemon juice and water

    * Everyone has their own idea of how thin or thick the icing should be - just keep adding water or lemon juice if you want a thinner icing.

    Can I use all butter and no shortening?

    First, I hate shortening. BUT you have to use some shortening in these UNLESS you want a flatter cookie. And you won't get them to "round" if you use all butter. Traditional lemon drop cookies call for ALL shortening, but I just can't do ALL - so I added some butter for flavor.

    How many lemons to make the tsp of zest?

    One medium to large sized lemon will get you the zest. You will also use that lemon for your icing. So you won't be wasting.

    How come these don't brown?

    Look at the amount of butter and shortening compared to everything else - the flour and eggs etc. There's not much oil in these, so they just won't brown. And you don't want them to either. Now if you do want that browner lemon type cookie see my other lemon cookies recipe - they are made with butter and will come out flat and golden.

    Back to the top of the lemon drop cookies.

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