Lemon Cookies

Last week I made cookies.

I don’t mean I made a batch of cookies last week, or two, or even three. I mean that last week, aside from the hours spent at the local food bank, all I did was bake cookies. Cookies to give to friends here, cookies for Mr. Blackbird’s lab, cookies to ship across the country. And still I’m not done. I have about three batches to send to Texas after Christmas, a few to bake today to bring to Florida, and I really should bake a batch for the lovely friend who’s feeding the cats while we’re gone.

If I’ve ever said that there’s no such thing as too many cookies, I take it back. I’m not going to want to see another cookie until after Passover. Or at least tomorrow when I get bored and hungry during the twelve-hour drive home.

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These cookies are adapted from Perfect Light Desserts by Nick Malgieri, which is bizarre for several reasons. First of all, I don’t own this cookbook. I don’t own any specifically healthy cookbooks. Secondly, long ago I had a copy of Cookies Unlimited by the same author, and I swear not a single recipe that I tried from that book came out well. But a year or so ago, a friend on a low-cholesterol diet asked if I could make healthy lemon cookies. I said no (cookies aren’t healthy, guys) but that I would try to find a recipe that wasn’t quite as guilt-inducing as most. This one has half the butter of your average cookie recipe, and uses only the white of the egg.

Don’t let that scare you off, though. These cookies are amazing. They’re moderately lemony, about two steps above lemon pound cake but still well below lemon bars. If you want to kick up the lemon flavor, a simple glaze of lemon juice, cream cheese, and powdered sugar would go nicely, or you could just brush the tops with a little lemon juice when they come out of the oven. Their texture is spongy enough to absorb it.

Best of all, they put an assertive citrus flavor (the most virtuous of all dessert flavors) into a cookie form. This means that I could ship them to my lemon-addicted friend in Dallas without the hassle of shipping lemon bars or lime pie or any other nonsense that requires chilling.

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Ingredients (makes about 24 cookies)

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4 T unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg white

1/4 cup lemon juice

zest of one lemon (optional)

1 1/3 cups  flour

1/2 t baking powder

1/4 t salt

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cream the butter and sugar together.

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Add the egg white, lemon juice, and zest if using and mix well.

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Sift in the flour, baking powder, and salt.

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Fold the batter just until it comes together.

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Drop batter in scant tablespoons onto parchment lined cookie sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes. The cookies will be very pale, especially if you ran out of fresh lemons before baking and therefore didn’t use any lemon zest.

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  1. #1 by Ariel on December 21, 2012 - 3:58 PM

    Heeheehee “the most virtuous of all dessert flavors” – it’s so true!

    But…but… that is not a lemon!!! What about zest? What about seed-straining? (what about a restraining order on me for making a snarky comment?)

    ❤ you

  2. #2 by Ariel on December 21, 2012 - 4:00 PM

    ACK!! I tried to find where you addressed the lemon-not-lemon yourself, but didn’t see the last line between the photos. Reading comprehension fail. 😦

    • #3 by koshercorvid on December 21, 2012 - 4:30 PM

      Lemon juice is still lemon! Honestly, I use a huge amount of lemon juice, all the time, and can’t be bothered with squeezing lemons (and learning exactly where all the little cuts on my hands are) all that often. I usually only buy lemons if I plan on zesting them, so I should have for this recipe, but after baking half a dozen batches of cookies my brain was a little fried. Meaning I forgot to pick up lemons when I went to get more flour and butter.

  3. #4 by Bill on December 24, 2012 - 11:10 AM

    Looks delicious!! Good job on photos. Thanks for sharing!! Happy Hanukkah
    Miss Krista!!

  4. #5 by Joanne on December 26, 2012 - 7:57 AM

    I still have quite a few cookies to bake for holiday packages and I just purchased some meyer lemons…I think these are being added to my cookie-baking list!

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