As I have mentioned before, I am a sucker for anything citrus-y. I would choose a good lemon meringue pie or lemon bar over the fanciest chocolate dessert any day, so when I saw this recipe on Martha Stewart’s website (*), I knew that I had to try these.
These were absolutely DELICIOUS. The citrus flavor is nice and tangy, but still subtle enough for this to be a SUGAR cookie, not a LEMON cookie. This is the easiest dough to work with that I’ve ever seen in my life; it was smooth and soft, without being sticky at all.
The ice cream scoop directions made it VERY simple. My scoop may be a little bigger than Martha’s, though, because I ended up with only 24 cookies, rather than the 30 that she yielded. Actually, if I make these again, I will use a smaller scoop (1 inch?) and bake them for a few minutes less, because using the bigger scoop yielded massive, monster cookies almost 4 inches across (fun for a party or event, but a little big for an everyday treat.) The one good thing about the larger size, though, is that it gives more of the chewy cookie interior, while a smaller cookie would provide more of the crunchier exterior.
I’m not exactly sure about why the directions say to brush the unbaked cookies with water, but I did it and they turned out well, so why mess with a good thing? I used citrus-colored (orange, green, yellow) sanding sugar on a couple of them, just for grins. The water made an interesting glaze-y design on those cookies that wasn’t evident on the ones with the clear/white sanding sugar (I used coarse sugar, because that’s what we typically like on muffins, etc.)
* I came across the recipe because I bought some Boyajian lemon oil to make these cookies and was looking for other recipes that would call for it.
Pondering a purchase of the citrus oils, but not sure whether or not it’s worth it? If you love to bake and either LOVE citrus as I do or love experimenting with all different flavors, then you MUST buy them (you’ll need the orange oil for when I post my chocolate-orange truffle recipe soon). If you’re not a big baker, you may not find enough uses for the oils to justify the money and effort to buy them. They are a little hard to find, even in Austin, however you can order them directly from Boyajian’s website. Locally, the only place that I’ve found the 3-oil set (3 small bottles that will last a LONG time for about $10: one lime, one orange and one lemon) is at Sur la Table in The Domain. Central Market sometimes has the lemon and orange, sold individually, but does not carry the lime oil. Williams-Sonoma used to carry them, but no longer does.
A couple of the recipe commenters on Martha’s site complained about the fact that Martha specifies “drops” of oil, but the bottles don’t come with droppers. Check around at a craft store (or possibly even a drugstore?) for small little eyedroppers that can be washed and reused. Make sure to clean them thoroughly, if they’re plastic (a glass one is even better, if you can find one), because the citrus oils are VERY strong and acidic and can actually melt plastic (think about it – this oil is the active ingredient in those cleaners like Citra-solve, etc…it’s STRONG STUFF!)