If you’ve been a reader of this column for a while, you already know that I love cookies of all shapes, sizes and flavors — so you’ll be especially excited to read that these Sweet Lemon Cookies are about as close to perfection as I believe a cookie can get.

They are extremely tender, topped with a smooth glaze and bursting with bright, fresh lemon flavor. The soft centers quite literally melt in your mouth when you take a bite, and the tartness of lemon strikes a perfect chord with the sugary sweetness of the glaze. Best of all, these cookies are made with a few simple ingredients you probably already have sitting in your pantry: butter, sugar, eggs, fresh lemon, flour, baking powder and salt. The glaze is a mixture of powdered sugar, lemon juice and milk.

A note on those ingredients: Make sure to use butter that is softened and room temperature, rather than hard and pulled directly from the refrigerator when you bake these. It will greatly improve the texture of your dough and help prevent the cookies from spreading too thinly during the baking process.

The use of fresh lemon is also extremely important in this recipe. There are occasions when you could definitely swap fresh lemon juice out in favor of the store-bought variety, but this is not one of them. The only way to achieve the delicate balance of flavors that make these cookies shine is by using fresh juice and zest.

Want to make your own Sweet Lemon Cookies? Here’s what you need:

For the cookies:

♦ 1 cup softened butter at room temperature

♦ ¾ cup sugar

♦ 1 egg

♦ 2 cups all purpose flour

♦ ½ teaspoon baking powder

♦ ½ teaspoon salt

♦ Zest of 1 lemon

For the glaze:

♦ 1-½ cups powdered sugar

♦ 2 tablespoons lemon juice

♦ 1 tablespoon milk

♦ ⅛ teaspoon salt

Here’s how to make them:

  1. Add the butter and sugar into a large bowl and cream together on a low speed. Crack in the egg and stir until well combined. Mix in the lemon zest and stir to incorporate. Preserve the remaining lemon and its juices for use in the glaze.
  2. Add half a cup of flour, baking powder and salt to the butter and sugar mixture. Stir until combined, then continue adding flour one half cup at a time until all two cups are thoroughly incorporated.
  3. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, then measure out balls of dough using a small cookie scoop or tablespoon. Roll them into uniform balls before flattening them with your palms. Place them on the cookie sheet with at least an inch of space between each flattened dough ball.
  4. Bake the cookies at 375 degrees for 10 minutes or until the center is just set. The cookies should still be pale in color when you remove them from the oven. Allow them to sit for two minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.
  5. Prepare the icing by whisking the powdered sugar with two tablespoons of lemon juice, salt and milk. Whisk until completely smooth. Once the cookies have cooled, dip the tops of the cookies in the glaze and return them to the cooling rack to set. Serve with tea for best results.

Kelcey Walker is a reporter for the Calhoun Times. She was born in North Carolina and raised in Georgia. After spending the last three years in Los Angeles, she’s pretty stoked to be back in the South, where the food is good and the people are friendly. You can email her at KWalker@CalhounTimes.com.

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