These High Tea Lemon Cookies are what I call my signature cookies. I take them to all my book signing (I tell everyone one they are to
bribe their stomachs so they will know how great my book is). This is an old-fashion recipe that is very rich and delicious. If you love lemon,
you'll absolutely love these cookies!
Be prepared though, all your friends will want this recipe after they taste these delicious cookies.
I usually don't give this recipe out (I want to sell books.) But for all of you, here it is.
This wonderful photo of my High Tea Lemon Cookies was send to me by Food Stylist,
Kristine Duran-Thiessen, of Bronte, NSW Australia. Kristine says
"I hope you like this photo. It was taken by a wonderful photographer, Emma
Reilly, who works for the big magazines in Australia. I needed to get some picture done to demonstrate how I style shoots, etc. This is a fabulous
recipe! I've passed on your website to some friends already (the ones who I've made these cookie for), and everyone wants the recipes. They are to die
for! I let the icing drop down the sides and garnished the tops with lemon zest for looks."
Don't forget to check out my
American Afternoon Tea Menu (with recipes) which includes these delicious High Tea Lemon Cookies.
Cookie Recipes and
Secrets To Making Perfect Cookies. Also learn
How To Have A Successful Holiday Cookie Exchange or Cookie Swap.
High Tea Lemon Cookies
Afternoon Tea & High Tea,
Yields: 6 dozen
Prep time: 25 min
Cook time: 15 min
2 cups butter, room temperature*
powdered (confectioners') sugar
1 teaspoon grated
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose
1 1/2 cups cornstarch**
Lemon Frosting (see recipe below)
* Very important - please read!
You must use room temperature butter (not softened or melted butter). I get emails from
bakers saying that their cookies turn out all crumbly. It usually turns out
that they have not used room temperature butter. I, personally, make these
cookie every year for our Spring Teas. The recipe is correct. These cookies
are always the favorite at our teas. NOTE: If you live in a high humidity area, check out comments below. See
below for butter softening tricks if you absolutely don't have time to bring
your butter to room temperature by letting it sit out on the counter for at
least 1 hour to overnight.
Yes, this is correct - use 1 1/2 cups cornstarch.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, beat butter until creamy looking. Add powdered sugar; mix until light and
fluffy. Add lemon zest and vanilla extract; beat well. Add flour and cornstarch into butter mixture and mix well until well combined.
NOTE: At first the dough will look dry - but don't worry, as the dough slowly comes together as you mix it and the butter melts
into the dry ingredients.
Do not refrigerate this dough, as the butter will
harden and make the dough unmanageable for rolling to a ball.
Using your hands, roll cookie dough into 1-inch balls. Place onto ungreased cookie sheets and bake 15 minutes or until bottoms are light brown. Remove from oven,
carefully remove from baking sheet, and cool on wire cooling racks (when warm the cookies are delicate).
When cookies have cooled, spread Lemon Frosting onto top of cookies.
Yields 6 dozen cookies.
This recipe makes enough for a double batch of cookies.
1/3 cup butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon grated
1/3 to 1/2 cup freshly-squeezed
powdered (confectioners) sugar
In a medium bowl, combine butter, lemon zest, lemon juice, and powdered sugar; stir until well mixed. NOTE:
Additional lemon juice may be needed to get the frosting thin enough.
NOTE: After making many batches of Lemon
Frosting, I now thin the frosting with additional lemon juice or water and
dip the top of the cookie into it. This technique is much faster and easier.
How to Get Butter to Room Temperature Quickly
Butter softened properly is ready to use when it can be easily squished between your thumb and
forefinger. I prefer that you let your butter soften up naturally, but if you absolutely don’t have the
time to let you butter sit out at least 1 hour or overnight, here are a few tricks to soften butter up fast:
Cut into small cubes: Cut the butter into small cubes and
let it sit out at room temperature for approximately 10 to 15
minutes. The smaller the cubes, the quicker the butter will soften.
Grating butter: If the butter is frozen, try grating it. Grate the cold butter on the large side of
a box grater (it may get messy). The small pieces will soften almost immediately.
Pound the butter: Put the butter in a re-sealable plastic bag and use a rolling pin or meat pounder to flatten the butter.
A few minutes on the counter and the butter will be up to room temperature.
Microwave: Least desirable way to soften butter.
Microwave the butter in 5-second bursts, but there is a chance that it will melt completely, So, watch
More Delicious Cornstarch Cookies:
Baby Button Cookies
Because of the relatively low sugar content, people who don't normally love sweets are delighted with these.
Biscoitos de Maizena Cookies
These cookies are a favorite in Brazil. They are named "Maizena" because
that is the brand name of their cornstarch. Delicious anytime of the year.
Lemon Melt Away Cookies
As the title says, "These cookies literally melt in your mouth!" These cookies have a shortbread-like texture and taste wonderful!
Peppermint Melt Away Cookies
These cookies literally melt in your mouth!" This version makes a beautiful Christmas cookie and will definitely make your cookie platter look very festive!
Comments from Readers:
I had to tell you I made your heavenly cookies last night -they are
delicious! I will be serving them at two events tonight and tomorrow. I
missed the part in the recipe where the frosting makes enough for two
batches of cookies. Oh well, guess I'll have to make a chocolate bunt
cake and finish it off! Thank you so much for your fabulous recipes.
Also, giving a dinner party next month and am using your menus. I am
officially obsessed with your site. Thanks again!
Sonora, CA (2/11/11)
Alternative to hand rolling the cookie dough:
I just wanted to let you
know that I have used this recipe for two teas at our church (Faith United
Church in Springfield MA). Everyone marveled at the flavor and ease of
popping one in the mouth and the delightful flavor. I have passed your
recipe on to many others.
I also want to add that I
used the small cookie scoop from Pampered Chef and it made it a lot easier
to make. I made sure that I pressed hard against the bowl (pressed the dough
into the scoop) to make sure that they would stay together. What a time
saver!! Last year I rolled the balls and this year used the scoop. No one
knew the difference. I did not have to roll the balls out and I made over six
(6) dozen cookies.
Jo Ann Smeltz,
Comments regarding room temperature butter:
I have written you before, about three
years ago, regarding your High Tea Lemon Cookies. They are my
absolute favorite cookie to make. I'm planning a tea and these will again be
my favorite cookie on the table. I'm crazy about your website, and as far as I'm concerned it's the best! I am having fun planning a tea for my
mom's 90th birthday and besides the cookies, will be using some of your sandwich recipes.
Since I live in Houston, the lemon cookies gave me fits the first few times I used them
because I let the butter get to "room" temperature. Room temperature in Houston is high
humidity, and even with the air conditioning turned down low the butter will
get too soft. I've found the best way to make these cookies where they
don't spread out thin is to use the butter right out of the fridge, cutting
it in chunks and immediately put in the mixer and blend with the sugar, etc.
Thank you for continuing to encourage us with your great recipes and website!
I will be making your cookies for a tea I'm having, and want to make sure I
get it right. You said that the butter should be "room temp" but not
"softened". My question is, what is the difference? I heard once that "room
temp" usually means around 60 degrees, as this is the temp that used to be
"room temp" many years ago. But nowadays, we tend to think of room temp as
being around 70-72 degrees (due to better construction, insulation, etc).
So, maybe that's the difference. Anyway, FYI (in case it's relevant), I will
be making them in late October in San Jose, which means the weather could be
anywhere from the low 60s to the mid 80s. However, I usually keep my home
closer to 70 or so. Humidity will not be a factor unless it rains, which is
unlikely. Also, can these be made in advance (frosted or unfrosted), and
frozen for a week or two? - Terri Pinder, San Jose, CA (10/11/08)
Interesting question about room temperature. Why I say room temperature and
not softened, is that usually people will soften (or even melt) the butter
too much. I just let the butter sit on my counter over night before using.
Yes, you can freeze the cookies frosted! They freeze beautifully! I have
kept them frozen for 6 months (and even more), and they still tasted like I
had just made them when thawed out.
Your guests are going to love these cookies! If you are able, how about
taking a photo of your High Tea Lemon Cookies? I would really like for you
to share any photos with me.
I was reviewing some old emails and realized that I never sent you my photos
of your Lemon Cookies. - Terri Pinder, San Jose, CA (12/19/08)