Crisp and buttery lemon sugar cookies decorated with bright and cheerful royal icing daisies. Learn how to make these pretty cookies with the step by step guide below.
I really love this cookie recipe. I would say it is absolutely easy to work with - the ingredients are basic, and the dough is easy to mix and roll and cut. Not forgetting off course, the deliciously rich butter flavor with a hint of refreshing lemon taste that make this cookie recipe worth trying and keeping.
The royal icing recipe I provided here is made using fresh egg white and to match the cookie flavor, I have added some lemon juice into it, so you get sweet and tangy icing that matches the hint of lemon in the cookies themselves.
The fun part is, you can use this recipe to make cookies of any shape or pattern depending on the project you are working on. The cookies texture is soft and crispy so if you like crispy cookies, you will definitely love these.
Check out my video on how to bake and decorate these decorated lemon sugar cookies:
There are 3 parts to making these lemon sugar cookies. The first part is shaping and baking them, the second part is decorating them and the third part is returning them back to the oven for a short baking time to set the royal icing.
These are the ingredients that went into the cookies:
The cookies were mixed using the creaming method. I started with the butter (softened to room temperature) and castor sugar and mixed them until they became creamy before adding in the egg yolk. Unlike cakes, when making cookies, the creaming process should not be long. It should only be long enough until the sugar and butter appear creamy and need not wait until it because overly light and fluffy. Too much mixing is often associated with cookies spreading too much during baking so it is wise to take note of this. Beating the egg yolk in should not take too long either. Plus only one egg yolk is used in this recipe, so that should be done within a minute. The salt and lemon rind went in after that (beaten for about 10 seconds) followed by the flour.
Immediately after adding the flour, the dough would still appear a little dry. That is perfectly normal for these cookies. Turn the dough onto your work space and give it a short knead to gather all the dough pieces together. Form the dough into a ball and let it rest in a covered bowl for about 10 minutes. This resting time allows the dough to come together and makes it easier to roll and cut.
Next process is to shape the cookies. If you do not want to roll and cut the cookies, you can always take about tablespoons full of cookie dough and form them into balls before pressing them flat into round discs. I prefer to roll and cut my cookies. And for easier handling and to prevent the cookie dough from sticking to the work space and rolling pin, I place the dough in between clean plastic sheet and roll it with the guide of 2 dowel rods to ensure the thickness of my cookies is consistent. You can also roll the dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper if you wish. I then cut my cookies using a scalloped round cutter.
Since the cookies were rolled on a plastic sheet, lifting them to the baking tray was pretty easy. And since there is no leavening agents added to the cookie dough, the cookies do not rise during baking, which then means they need not be placed too far apart from each other.
Bake the cookies for 10 minutes in your normal cookie baking temperature. I bake mine at 160 degrees Celsius but it may vary from oven to oven. Once baked, let the cookies cool down to room temperature before decorating. You can even bake the cookies a day or two in advance before decorating them.
Decorating the cookies is the fun part of making these lemon sugar cookies. I used royal icing made using fresh egg white and these are the list ingredients that went into making the royal icing.
When making royal icing, it is always important to make sure all utensils that are to be used for mixing the icing are absolutely grease free. Otherwise, the egg whites will not whisk well and you will end up with runny royal icing.
The process starts with the whisking of the egg white in a clean bowl until it becomes frothy. After that, icing sugar should be added in small portions while the whisking continues. It is also a very good practice to sieve the icing sugar before adding it to the egg white as icing sugar tends to be lumpy. Small lumps of sugar getting stuck in your piping tip when piping can be a sheer cause of frustration.
I have also chosen to add a little lemon juice into my royal icing and the taste is a perfect match to the cookies themselves. And this was added after all the icing sugar has been added.
Since the daisies I piped on the cookies were white and yellow, I removed about a quarter of the icing into a small bowl and added yellow food coloring to it. I filled the icing into a piping bag fitted with round tip number 3 and filled the remaining white icing into another piping bag fitted with petal tip number 104.
These are the tools I used to decorate the cookies:
Once the cookies have cooled down, you can start to decorate them. Start with the white icing fitted with the petal tip for the daisy petals. In piping the petals, make sure the wider end of the petal tip is pointing upwards and the narrower end is pointing towards the middle of the cookies. In piping the petals, I do it in 2 cycles as it is easier to space them out consistently that way.
Once the petals are done, use the yellow icing and pipe the flower centers. For added texture, I started with a medium sized dot in the center and then added tiny dots of yellow around the initial yellow center.
And finally, since I used fresh egg whites in the royal icing, I returned the cookies to the oven after all the piping is done and baked them for another 2 minutes in a preheated oven. You can skip this step if you want but since I know my cookies will last for at least a couple of days, I decided to bake them a little so that the egg whites in the icing are cooked.
Remove the cookies from the oven and cool them on a wire rack before storing them in an airtight container.
Here is the full, printable version of the lemon sugar cookies recipe: