Isn’t the weather so odd? The two halves of our country are experiencing diametrically opposite winters. In the North, it’s brutal, cold and icy and snowy. In the South it is weirdly hot, and Spring is making an early entrance. It’s emblematic of where we stand on so many things.
But here’s one thing we can agree on: cookies.
Specifically, soft cake-like cookies, topped with a zingy lemon frosting. They sing of spring and daffodils. Which, for those of us in the South, is perfectly suited to the warm sun and early spring we are enjoying. And for my friends in colder places, I hope it will bring you a smile and thoughts of the warmer days to come.
You can make buttercream icing or use the powdered sugar based icing in the recipe. In either case, make the icing first then set it aside while you make the cookies.
No need to clean the mixer bowl!
If you are making my frosting, put all the ingredients together in a bowl and mix for five minutes until it is creamy and white. Scrape it out into a smaller bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing against the icing, and set a side until needed.
On to making the cookies!
Beat together the butter, sugar, baking powder and salt for at least five minutes. (See my blog post on Apricot Jam Bread for a deep dive into the creaming of butter and sugar ).
Mix together the liquids (eggs, cream and lemon flavoring) until the egg whites are well incorporated then slowly pour the liquids into the creamed butter. Take your time, at least a minute, to do this and stop and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl once or twice as you do.
Add the flour and mix it all together. Scraped the bottom of the bowl to be sure.
Use a rounded tablespoon, or a cookie dough scoop, to drop the cookies onto parchment lined sheets.
As the cookies bake, they will puff up. They are done when they are just barely starting to get brown around the edges. Cool them on the trays for 15 minutes and then let them finish cooling on a wire rack.
When they are cool, ice them with your frosting and add sprinkles as desired.
LEMON DROP COOKIES
For the cookie
- 1 c butter softened
- 1 c sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 egg whites
- 2 tbsp heavy cream
- 1 tsp lemon extract
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 ¾ c cake flour
- 2 ½ c powdered sugar
- 1/3 c heavy cream
- ½ tsp lemon extract
- Yellow food coloring optional
Make the icing
- Make the icing first by putting all of the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer and beating at medium speed for 5 minutes until it is soft and creamy. Scrape the icing into a smaller bowl and cover by laying plastic wrap on top. Set aside on the counter until needed. Continue with the cookie batter—no need to clean out the bowl!
Make the cookies
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Put the butter, sugar, baking powder and salt in the bowl of the mixer and cream together for 5-8 minutes. It should be fluffy and pale in color.
- Whisk together the egg whites, cream and vanilla until the eggs whites are well blended in. Add the mixture slowly, in a small stream to the batter, while the beater is running. Stop and scrape down the sides once halfway through
- Add the flour and mix in low until it forms a soft dough. Finish mixing the dough by scraping the sides and bottom with a rubber spatula to make sure it is all incorporated.
- Use a small cookie scoop to drop evenly sized balls of dough 2-3” apart on the cookie sheets. Bake the cookies until they puff up and are just starting to brown.
- Cool them for 15 minutes on the pan before removing.
Ice the cookies.
- If you are using the food coloring, stir in a few drops until it is evenly mixed in with no streaks of white. Spread 1-2 tsps of icing on each cookie and top with sprinkles immediately. The icing sets fast!