These lemon cookies caused one heckuva argument last night between Officer Thomas and I. You see, I love lemon cookies. Lemon anything, really. As far as I'm concerned, anybody who's anybody likes lemon. So when I offered to bake these for our tailgate to the Jason Aldean concert this weekend, my fiance immediately shot me down under the reason that lemon is not anybody's favorite flavor. Poppycock!
I demanded to know where he got this information, if there was a scientific survey conducted at some point in time, or if he just spoke on behalf of everyone, ever, when he said that nobody likes lemon. He continued on this mindless rant with comments like, "You know what I think of when I think of lemon cookies? Little girls at tea parties." A pretty bold statement, if you ask me. Once I finished breathing into the paper bag and the fury settled down, I decided I was going to make them anyway. Because I'm not married [yet]! He can't tell me what to do!
I even gave him the ol', "When we're married, you won't get a say in what's for dessert." This didn't faze him.
These cookies have come out of my oven dozens of times and sadly, this is the first time you're hearing about them. My Dad's brain functions on the belief that as long as I am in the house, the kitchen is always open. So it's not surprising for him to call my cell phone from his room down the hall at an indecent hour and ask how long until the cookies are ready. Being the sucker that I am, I've dragged myself out of bed in my pajamas to start scooping the dough. These cookies, by far, have been his favorite.
Thanks to their bright lemon flavor and crunchy sugar shell, they rank high on his unrefined palate. Anytime his sweet tooth kicks in, he gives me the option to make Snickerdoodles or "those lemon cookies with the glass sugar shards." Only my father would compare sanding sugar to bits of broken glass. The first time I made them, he told me he enjoyed the feeling of crunching windshield between his teeth. I promise they are not that crunchy.
I adjusted this recipe quite a bit because 1. I don't trust Martha Stewart for her recipe or her stock-trading advice. 2. The original recipe only called for a scant bit of brown sugar and that will not provide the chewy cookie my heart desires. 3. Her directions only asked for the coarse sugar to be brushed on the top which is really just a little tease. 4. It says to bake for 15 minutes to make 20 cookies. Wrong. Bake for 15 if you want them to be burned and it makes closer to 32 cookies. You are a liar, Martha.
Sparkly Lemon Sugar Cookies
Adapted, quite a bit, from Martha Stewart's Cookies
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
Zest of one lemon
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 sticks unsalted butter, soft
2 large egggs
Coarse sugar, for coating
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the sugars and lemon zest on low speed for about 1 minute. (You can also roll up your sleeves and rub the zest into the sugars with your hands - it really works the lemon oil into the sugar and good gracious, it smells amazing.)
Add the butter and then mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed until just combined, then add the lemon juice.
Reduce the speed and add the flour in three additions, scraping down the bowl (don't forget the bottom!) in between. Mix until just combined and no longer.
Scoop the dough with a 2-inch ice cream scoop (or thereabouts) and roll the dough ball in the sanding sugar taking care to coat all sides. Place the cookie dough onto the baking sheet 2 inches apart and slightly flatten with a spatula or the bottom of a drinking glass. (Sometimes I skip this step without any trouble.)
Bake for 9-11 minutes or until the edges are barely golden brown. If you like a crispier cookie, bake an extra 2-3 minutes. I like mine just barely cooked through - cookies should be soft and chewy in my world.
Allow to cool on the baking sheet for about 3 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Cookies will keep in an airtight container for up to 5 days.