A few years back at one of our family gatherings, my Mama brought out a plate of these little, pale yellow cookies. They almost looked like unbaked sugar cookies. I really didn’t think anything of them. And then my husband had one, ran over to me and told me I had to go grab one immediately. I made my way over to the plate, grabbed one, took a bite, and was completely blown away.
They had a bright, sweet lemon flavor and the most incredibly chewy and smooth texture. The outside of these unassuming cookies didn’t do them justice at all, because they were, without a doubt, one of the best cookies I’ve ever had. And then I proceeded to camp out by the dessert table and eat my weight in these cookies.
Meet lemon snowdrop cookies.
I know, they really don’t look like much. I think it’s probably a defense mechanism. If they looked as incredibly tasty as they are, you’d never get them out of the kitchen. They’re in disguise. And hidden under that disguise is pure cookie magic.
Like all chewy cookie recipes, the absolute key to getting the texture right is closely monitoring your cooking time. As a matter of principle, I underbake all my cookie by 3-4 minutes less than what the recipes call for. These you have to watch like hawk. You want them to just be slightly (like, barely) browned on the bottom, and a beautiful pale yellow color on top. I wouldn’t leave the kitchen while these are baking, because a 30-60 seconds in the oven too long, and your delicious, chewy cookies are instead delicious, crunchy cookies.
You’ll be tempted to leave them longer because they seem just so liquidy and gooey, but I promise, as they cool, they’ll solidify. You want to err on the side of raw cookies on these guys. You want them to be jiggly enough that it’s a little hard to wiggle them onto a spatula to take them off the tray.
Trust me, no one will be upset if the middle of their cookie is a bit more like cookie dough that a cooked cookie.
Another key to getting the perfect chewy cookie: cool cookie sheets. When you’ve taken your first batch of cookies out of the oven and transferred them to a cooling rack, don’t immediately go and place raw cookie dough on the hot cookie sheet. Instead, either wait 10-15 minutes for the cookie sheet to cool (or have a second cookie sheet that is cooling while your other one is the oven), or, quickly run the sheet under cold water and dry it.
A warm cookie sheet starts the butter melting in cookies before they ever hit the oven, which means you’ll end up with a liquid mess of cookie instead of a perfect pillow of lemonness. Trust me on this one.
Every time I’ve brought these cookies somewhere, they’ve garnered the same reaction that I had the first time I tried them. At first appearance, people think they’re boring little sugar cookies, and then at first bite, people are over-the-moon, stumbling over themselves to get the recipe!
I haven’t tried veering away from the lemon flavor, but I’m sure this cookie could be equally incredible with other citrus tastes. Orange zest and juice, plus maybe a tiny pinch of ground cloves would make for a delicious, holiday-flavored cookie. And some key lime zest and juice would make for a cookie that is almost like a hand-held key lime pie! Or put lemon and lime in them and they could be Sprite/7Up cookies. Yum.
- 1 stick butter, softened
- Zest and juice of one lemon
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fixed with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter, lemon zest and juice, sugar, honey, and vanilla extract until well-mixed—scraping sides as necessary. The mixture may look curdled from the lemon juice.
- Add in the flour, baking soda, and salt, and mix until well-combined. Chill dough for at least 30 minutes.
- Form the dough into one-inch balls and place on a cool, ungreased baking sheet, two inches apart. Bake in preheated oven for 5-7 minutes, or until the bottoms just begin to slightly brown. Let cool on cookie sheet for a minute or two, then carefully transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Once cool, toss in powdered sugar.