Unfussy Fare

Soft Butter Cookies with Lemon


Is it cheating to post a variation on an already-posted recipe? Maybe. But you see, I am so enamored of these cookies that I feel it’s my duty to inspire you to try them. I went on and on about Soft Almond Cookies a few weeks ago. But if almonds aren’t your thing, you’ll be hugely relieved to learn that you can spin the soft butter cookie into lemon cookies. (I know you’ve been losing sleep over this…)

This recipe was inspired by my friend Claire, who went to all the trouble to email me when my site was malfunctioning to tell me her idea for a lemon riff on the almond cookie.  Claire is a true appreciator of, as she put it, “the peerless lemon.” (In the same email, she also endeared herself to me forever by telling me she’d bought a jar of preserved lemon a year ago just to look at. It’s nice to know I’m not alone in my penchant for buying food just because it’s pretty.)  

I’ve already gushed about citrus enough on this site, so I won’t embarrass myself by rehashing my unrequited love. Suffice it to say that this bright idea of Claire’s brings the “peerless lemon” and the “best cookies ever to cross these lips” together to form the penultimate, pitch-perfect, peerlessly-citrusy, buttery, soft, glazed cookie.  Whew.

You know you want one. Go on. Make a batch. Want help dispensing with your excuses? If it’s your waistline you’re worried about, give some cookies away to your neighbors, colleagues, hairdresser, letter-carrier, etc. Make new friends, or mend some fences. Everyone loves a cookie. If it’s finding the time you’re worried about, just put off the raking for half an hour. The leaves will wait. There. If you ever need help rationalizing, don’t hesitate to call.


1 ¼ cup sugar
1 cup butter (2 sticks), room temperature
1 tablespoon lemon curd (with the jam in most grocery stores)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 heaping teaspoon grated lemon zest
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl, beat sugar, butter, lemon curd, lemon zest, vanilla and eggs until creamy. 

Add flour and baking soda and mix on low until combined.

Scoop by round tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheets. (I lined mine with parchment paper, but I’m sure that’s not necessary. It just makes the clean-up easier.)  

Bake for 8-10 minutes – they’ll be very soft, but brown on the bottom. Cool for five minutes on the cookie sheet, then move to a rack or a flat surface to cool completely before glazing. 


1 cup powdered sugar
2 ½ tablespoons lemon juice

Place ingredients in a small bowl and stir with a spoon until smooth. If it seems too thick, add more lemon juice. If it’s too thin, add more sugar. The glaze should be smooth and spreadable.


3 Responses to “Soft Butter Cookies with Lemon”

  1. Pamela Perry says:

    …soft chocolate chip, soft gingerbread, soft snickerdoodle … will it ever end? Let’s hope not.

  2. Gillian says:

    Yes, I’m afraid cookies are my weakness, and soft cookies especially. Snickerdoodle….now that is an excellent suggestion. I also have a couple other favorites I’ve yet to share: a molasses ginger cookie and a chocolate crackle cookie. It may never end.

  3. Pamela Perry says:

    Oh my Gil,

    I just made a batch of almond and a double batch of lemon (that’s a lot of cookies) to give away for the holidays. Several have been tested/tasted already and they are a huge hit. A lovely recipe and thanks again.


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