I try to bring cookies to work on Mondays, because I've had all day Sunday to bake, and because this way I can try out new recipes without getting fat. If there are cookies in the house, I will eat them. The same goes for cake, candy, ice cream, chocolate and chips. Because of my total lack of self control, I've been baking a lot less lately. But now, with a new audience to pawn my cookies off onto before I have the chance to gorge myself to the point of a stomachache, I'm able to test all sorts of recipes risk-free.
I've been craving lemon cookies lately, and found a recipe for slice-and-bake cookies on noneother than Smitten Kitchen. One of the variations for this adaptable recipe involved lemon zest, and I thought that sounded just perfect. I didn't have any poppy seeds, however, and I was worried that the cookies might be a little boring without something besides lemon zest (which inevitably turns invisible during baking). so I baked up the cookies sans seeds, and created a light lemon glaze to top them with. The result was amazing. the cookies are tiny, about 1 1/2 inches wide, melt-in-your-mouth delights. The icing adds just a touch of sweet, crunch and lemon pop, and the cookies themselves turned out beautifully--soft yet firm, just as a buttery cookie should be. I will be making these again, and saving a few for myself next time. But only a few.
Lemon Butter Cookies with Lemon Glaze
2 sticks room-temperature butter
2/3c powdered sugar
2 egg yolks, at room temperature
Pinch of salt (about 1/8t)
1t vanilla extract
2c all-purpose flour
Finely-grated zest from 2 lemons
Cream the butter using your stand mixer and the paddle attachment. When smooth, add the powdered sugar and beat until blended. Add the yolks, then the salt, then the zest and vanilla. Finally, add the flour and mix until just blended. Any remaining flour can be mixed in using a spatula. Turn the dough onto a smooth surface, divide in half, and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Remove the dough from the fridge. Working with one section at a time, roll the dough into logs about 1 1/2'' tall. Make them uniform and straight, but don't overwork the dough. Rewrap logs and refridgerate for two hours.
After two hours, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silpats or parchement paper. Remove cookies from fridge and unwrap. Slice cookies so they're about 1/3 to 1/2'' wide. Arrange them on the baking sheets with 1/2'' space between the cookies. They can be fairly crowded--they won't spread at all.
Bake cookies for 14-16 minutes, rotating sheets around and from top to bottom halfway through. Cookies are finished when they are firm and only very slightly golden around the edges. Careful not to overbake them! Let cookies cool on the sheets for five minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. Once the cookies are completely cool, they're ready for their glaze.
For The Glaze:
Whisk 1 1/2c powdered sugar with 3 1/2T lemon juice*. Using a small brush, paint the tops of the cookies with a generous layer of glaze. It will dry quickly and smooth. Allow cookies to dry for two hours or overnight, until glaze is completely set.
Note: I had about half the glaze leftover when the cookies were frosted. Make a half batch of the glaze if you don't want leftovers.