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My grandma was a wonderful baker and always made the most delicious frosted orange cookies around the holidays. Fortunately, she had written down the recipe and our family has been able to enjoy them even though she is no longer with us.

Lemon Cookies

I had forgotten about them, but at my Aunt and Uncle’s house last Christmas, my son came out of the kitchen with a handful of orange cookies that my aunt had made. He told me that he just couldn’t stop eating them because they were so good. At that point, I knew I had better get the recipe. After all, they are SO good–more like addicting.

Old Fashioned Lemon Cookies

I was going to make these cookies and share the recipe with you, however I didn’t have a single orange in the house. But I did have some lemons! And when life literally hands me lemons, I’m not one to make lemonade. I’m a baker; I bake them into lemon bars, lemon cake and this time, lemon cookies.

These have a light, cakey cookie base freckled with lemon zest and are topped with a slightly tart lemon frosting. What says “Spring” more than that?

Frosted Lemon Cookies

I have a feeling that my grandma would have loved this update on an old classic–I hope you do, too!

Old Fashioned Frosted Lemon Cookies

Old Fashioned Lemon Cookies


1 1/2 cups brown sugar

3/4 cup shortening

1/4 cup butter, softened

2 eggs

1 cup sour milk (made by adding 1 tsp lemon juice and letting sit for 15 minutes)

1 teaspoon soda

3 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon grated lemon rind

1 teaspoon vanilla


2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

2 tablespoons butter, softened

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon lemon rind, grated

1/4 teaspoon vanilla


Preheat oven to 375 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (or Silpats would work fine).

Add lemon rind, vanilla and baking soda to the sour milk.

In a medium size bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.

Cream brown sugar, shortening, and butter. Add eggs and beat until fluffy.

Add the wet and dry ingredients to the beaten mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.

Drop by tablespoons onto cookie sheets and bake for 8 minutes.

While the first pan is in the oven, make the frosting.

Combine the powdered sugar, butter, and lemon juice. Add in the lemon rind and vanilla.

*Note from my grandma, Judith:

"If you spread the icing on the cookies while they are slightly warm, it will spread easier and look a little neater."

Makes 4 dozen.