June 19, 2014

Sweet Lemon Sugar Cookies with a Creamy Lemon Buttercream Frosting

I keep a list of things that I want to accomplish in life. I thought that the older I become, the smaller the list would get. In fact, it is the opposite. The list of places I want to visit grows larger each year. The more aware I become of this big beautiful world. the more I want to see. For instance, last month I found this hotel in Kenya where you can stay with Giraffes. I mean, seriously.

There are still a few things that remain on my list from my late teen years: get a tattoo, get really mad and throw a glass at the wall, buy a VW bus and drive across North America. I've attempted to get a tattoo, twice, but each time I back out at the last second. I think that pretty soon I am going to have to either commit or let that one go. Throwing the glass at a wall is bound to happen sooner or later, and maybe one day, when Brent and I are old and wrinkly, we will buy a bus and drive across North America, and then I'll eventually get really pissed (because that's a lot of time to spend with someone in a small confined space), and I'll throw a glass at the wall.

Another thing high on my list, since way way long ago during my granola crunching hippy days, sitting around in my pajamas (because that's what I wore) listening to Bob Dylan and The Grateful Dead , is growing a fruit tree, or two, or three. This fruit tree obsession lands somewhere on the life-accomplishment to-do-list just before owning a vineyard, but after the giraffe hotel. But apparently these days, you need to have some celebrity status to tap into the vineyard business, so maybe I'll just plant a few grape vines in the backyard and start making wine in my basement. In all serious though, I am going to start brewing beer in the fall, and it is going to be insanely awesome.

A few weeks ago Brent and I were driving home from a wedding, on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. With a few hours to kill before picking the dog up from daycare, we stopped into this crazy big hella nursery just outside of Seattle. It was 15 acres full of big beautiful plants. I bought as many as I could fit into the trunk, while still leaving enough room in the back seat for the dog. Within the selection of perennials that I had chosen, I finally bought my very first fruit tree! It isn't a lemon tree like I had envisioned, but it is a dwarf mandarin tree and I am in love with it so much. It has a few baby mandarin growing now, and I am hopefully that they will reach a large enough size that I can enjoy. I have heard that citrus trees are can be pretty difficult to grow indoors, and especially in the Pacific Northwest with the lack of sunshine. But at this point, I am excited and ready to give it a grow.
Inspired by my baby mandarin tree, I wanted to make something sweet and citrusy. Four years ago, I moved to Seattle, and four years ago I was introduced to Uncle Seth's Original Pink Cookie (here is a pretty great story to sum up these cookies). They are one of those super fun and tasty cookies that makes you all happy and giddy inside. Like you are 4 years old and someone just handed you a PINK COOKIE! If you are trying to find these cookies, you will need to visit Seattle or Provo, or I can send you one if you want. I can't seem to find much info on them, just that they mysteriously pop up in various shops around the city, and then vanish.

I decided to make a version of my own cookie, so that I'll have a recipe handy when those pink sugar cookie cravings hit, and my cookie chance wont need to rest in the hands of fate. These cookies are soft and delicate. Sweet and tart. They are so perfect for the summer time. Light and refreshing. Like a big glass of lemonade in cookie-form. The buttercream frosting hardens and then you are able to store them in a container, one on top of the other. Lets embrace the inner 4 year old in ourselves.

makes 16 cookies
adapted from Jennifer's Sugar Cookies over at Mother Thyme

Cookie Ingredients
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 small lemon (1 tbsp juice + zest)
1/4 tsp vanilla

Frosting Ingredients
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temp
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 small lemon (1 tbsp juice + zest)
1/4 tsp vanilla
a few drops of yellow food coloring
To make the cookies:
In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a medium bowl, with a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until combined. Zest the lemon and then squeeze. Add 1 tbsp lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla to the bowl and stir.

Gradually stir the dry ingredients into the wet. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for one hour.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Sprinkle some flour onto the counter and coat the rolling pin. Roll out the dough a little thicker than a 1/4 inch. With a 3 - 4 inch round cookie cutter, cut out the cookies and place them onto the parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake for 10 minute, until soft and golden on the bottom. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool before frosting.

To make the frosting: 
Beat the butter, powdered sugar, 1 tbsp lemon juice, zest from 1 small lemon, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Mix in a few drops of yellow food coloring until you get the desired light yellow color.

Once the cookies are cool, cover with frosting. The frosting will harden up within a half and hour, and then you can place them in an air tight container to store for a few weeks in the fridge. 


  1. Let us know how the beer brewing goes. My husband brews on a regular basis, he has moved from brewing from a kit to full on 'real' brewing, order the grains, hops, etc. He retrofitted a bar fridge and now has two kegs in there for immediate draft beer. The whole house smells of fresh bred when he brews a new batch.

  2. These are perfect summer treats. I love anything with lemon and if they are cookies, I just don't have the words to describe how I feel!

  3. I never seem to make lemon cookies, and this is the perfect reminder! LOVE!

  4. hmm lemon frosting...don't like many frostings but lemon frosting is certainly the exception. I have been trying to use more natural sugars for baking (agave, maple, coconut sugar, etc.) but if there is one thing that cannot be replaced is the wonderful magic that happens when you mix lemon with powdered sugar :)

  5. Giraffe manor, WHAT. Adding that to my list, as well, along with these sugar cookies, which need to be in my life as soon as humanly possible.

  6. I've been living in Seattle for 2 years now and haven't heard of Uncle Seth's Pink Cookies. I'll have to go and try to find them. Your lemon cookies look delicious!!

  7. I'm always up for embracing my inner four year old - especially if it involves cookies.

  8. Ooh, how I love lemon! These cookies must be absolutely fantastic.

  9. Home brewed beer! Giraffe hotel!! Fruit trees!!! So much to get excited about. As I'm probably not going to do anything of those in the near future (sad face), I'm going to make a batch of these luscious looking and sounding cookies instead.

  10. I'm growing miniature fruit trees and they're amazing - super low maintenance and I've already been enjoying some pears! These cookies look so incredibly fluffy... yum!

  11. These looks amazing and the styling is so gorgeous!

  12. I still think that throwing a glass at the wall must happen soon. It's just so easy–just make it a cheap glass and ugly wall. Please keep us posted on that.

  13. Wow! These are so delicious, and I am so craving those pink cookies!

  14. Anonymous29 June, 2014

    these look so perfectly lemony and sweet all at the same time! So nice and light for the summer! Good luck with your tree - I hope it goes well!