Holiday Cookies

Iced Lemon Rings

From Washington Post – Makes 36 Cookies

For the cookies

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Freshly grated zest of 1 medium lemon (at least 1 teaspoon)
  • 3 large eggs

For the icing

  • 1/4 cup meringue powder (see headnote)
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.Combine the flour and baking powder on a sheet of wax paper or parchment paper.Combine the butter, sugar, vanilla extract and lemon zest in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer. Beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition (the mixture may look curdled). Reduce the speed to low, then gradually add the flour mixture to form a sticky dough.Spoon the dough into a pastry bag fitted with a 3/8-inch-wide (No. 6) round tip. Alternatively, a resealable plastic food storage bag may be used; cut 3/8 inch off one of the bottom corners for piping.

Pipe rings of dough that are 2 inches in diameter, spaced 1 1/2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Use fingertips dipped in water to smooth the ends of each ring together. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the cookies are a light golden brown. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat to use all of the dough.

For the icing: Combine the meringue powder, confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer. Beat on medium-high speed to form a smooth paste. Transfer the icing to a large (gallon-size) plastic food storage bag. Make sure it is sealed completely, then snip just the very tip off one of the bottom corners. Pipe the icing on the tops of the cookies as desired; let set completely until serving or storing.

Note: The dough was too thick to pipe, so we made regular shaped cookies. Even with double the amount of zest and triple the amount of lemon juice in the icing, these cookies weren’t very lemony. They were also sort of dry, like a russian tea cake. I added yellow food coloring to the icing, and even with the additional liquid from the lemon juice, it was still too thick to drizzle or pipe. I used a basting brush instead. All ingredients were available at Wegmans.

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