My girl Beckie hates cinnamon. Loathes. Will not eat a carrot cake even if it contains the nail file she needs to saw her way out of Azkaban wizarding prison. So, whenever I want to make a treat that relies heavily on the spice, I have to clear my flight plan with Beckie first.
On one such occasion in the recent past, we were brainstorming cookies for an upcoming camping trip. I’d made glazed lemon butter cookies the day before—much to her delight—but we both agreed they’d be too sticky to serve outdoors. I suggested my snickerdoodle, a sugar cookie dipped in cinnamon which is a (Beckieless) crowd favorite, and instead of lobbying her usual objections, she began muttering under her breath “Lemon butter, snickerdoodle, lemon butt- . . . -erdoodle; lemon- . . . -doodle . . . lemondoodle! You should totally make lemondoodles.” (OK. It might not have gone down quite like a cartoon version of Shakespeare inventing the word for ‘eyeball,’ but you weren’t there, dude! You weren’t there!!)
So, armed with a name and an idea, we returned to the kitchen to thaw some butter and mess up some lemons. We decided to replace the cinnamon in the sanding sugar mixture with zest and added additional zest to the batter. The result was a lightly lemony sugar cookie with that snickerdoodle texture I so crave: crisped on the outside but chewy within. We were on to something, folks, and that something was a cookie.
The lemon flavor in the dough is distinct but mellows slightly after being stored for a day in an airtight container; if you’re intrepid (I know you are), you could add a teaspoon of lemon extract to the batter to pop it off even more.
I sound like I’m about to rob a bank, and I probably could with a lemondoodle.
But like mushed in my pocket in the shape of a gun.
- 2¾ cups flour
- 2 tsp cream of tartar
- 1½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 cup butter (two sticks), partially melted
- 1¾ cups sugar, divided
- zest of 3 lemons, divided
- 2 eggs
- Preheat the oven to 400F. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. In a heatproof bowl, partially melt the butter in the microwave.
- Cream together partially melted butter and 1½ cups sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until light and fluffy, at least 3 minutes.
- Add eggs one at a time and zest of one lemon (+ lemon extract if using) to wet ingredients until thoroughly combined.
- Slowly mix in dry ingredients into wet until just combined. Do not overmix.
- If dough is too soft, chill for 30 minutes to an hour.
- In a small bowl, whisk together remaining zest of two lemons and ¼ cup of sugar.
- Roll tablespoons of dough in the lemon sugar and drop onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes, until cookies are set and cracking. Do not over-bake as cookies will not be chewy.
- Allow to cool on wire racks. Can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week.