Lemon Poppy Seed Sugar Cookies / by Chelsea Zwieg

I'm keeping it super short and sweet today. Partly because how much convincing do you really need to make super soft, buttery lemon sugar cookies? Not much I hope. And also because it's 5:56 pm and my eyes keep closing while I'm trying to read my email. Grandmas gotta get to bed. WHY AM I SO ELDERLY? 

But these cookies though. I made these over the weekend, which was just a doozy in more ways than one. As an example, I have a gross scar on my arm from a bakery-related burn about a month ago. This weekend I got a new burn on top of my old burn. And a bruise right above it. (which puts a real damper on my dream of being a forearm model) And that arm perfectly sums up my weekend in all sorts of ways. Do you guys have anything you just have to do when you're super stressed out? For me it's baking, always has been. That and running. But since I'm living that stress fracture life I dragged my sad, sore shin into the kitchen on Sunday and baked the day away. And what do you know, I felt so much better. Partly because I was baking and mostly because I was eating cookies. Also it was 65 degrees this weekend in Milwaukee. what. So the moral of the story: thank God there are things like cookies and weird heat waves to save even the dumbest of days. 

These are a super soft-cakey sugar cookie, perfect for coating in a giant fluffy cloud of frosting. The cookies have lemon juice and lemon zest, for a little double citrus action. You could also use lemon extract in place of the lemon juice for a more powerful flavor, but I like the juice. The frosting is a basic buttercream with just a little bit of lemon juice for tartness. You can definitely play around with the amount of juice/zest in the cookies and frosting (whether you want it more tart or subtle) without it affecting the consistency of the dough too much. Just taste the dough as you go and add more if you like. Just remember that the flavor will be more subtle after they bake, so don't hesitate while squeezing those lemons! 

If you're having a dumb day, I hope these cookies bring you a little bit of sunshine as well. And maybe you're having a great day and you just need a cookie to celebrate it. I'm all about that. 

Lemon Poppy Seed Sugar Cookies

Makes 2 dozen cookies

| Ingredients

For the cookies: 

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. poppy seeds

For the frosting: 

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. cream

| Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or baking mats. 
  • In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well and scraping the bowl after each addition. Whisk the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add half of the dry ingredients to the mixer and mix until just partially incorporated. Add the sour cream, lemon juice and zest and beat on low to combine. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Mix in the poppyseeds.
  • Scoop the cookies onto the prepared baking sheets. This is a sticky dough it's best to use a cookie scoop rather than trying to shape them with your hands. Bake 15 minutes, until just starting to brown around the bottom.
  • For the frosting, beat the butter and powdered sugar until smooth. Add the lemon juice and continue mixing. Add the cream and beat to combine. If you want the frosting a little thinner, add another splash of cream. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat the frosting until it is light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes.
  • Frost the cookies and sprinkle with extra poppy seeds, if desired.