These are some laid-back lemon sugar cookies — no rolling required.

In fact, no mixer needed, either.

They’re just easy, crisp-edged, soft-centered lemon drop cookies.

This is another one from Nicole Rees’ “Baking Unplugged.”

I tried and loved her crunchy vanilla crisps, so when I spotted the chewy-crisp sugar cookies recipe, I was sucked in.

Easy, buttery and adaptable.

We’ve been feeling very lemony around here.

Maybe it’s spring fever.

We have dug out the potting soil, after all. No plants yet.

But we have the dirt.

To turn the simple sugar cookies into lemon drops, I added lemon zest and extract.

And bam — the citrus and sugar share the spotlight 50/50.

They’re wide and warpled and totally laid-back lemon cookies. With rainbow sprinkles.

Bring on the spring.


Chewy-Crisp Drop Sugar Cookies

adapted from Baking Unplugged, by Nicole Rees

These truly are chewy and crisp. If you’re looking for a strictly crisp cookie, Rees says to melt all of the butter in the first step and bake cookies for an additional two minutes.

  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • zest of 2 lemons (see note)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract (see note)
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • sugar sprinkles or turbinado sugar, for decorating

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine sugar and lemon zest. With fingers, rub zest into sugar until fragrant. In separate bowl, whisk together flour and baking soda.

Cut the butter into tablespoon-sized squares. In a small saucepan, bring five tablespoons of the butter to a boil. Boil for 30 seconds to one minute, until it is pale gold and aromatic. Don’t brown the butter. Pour melted butter into large mixing bowl and allow to cool for two minutes.

Add the remaining five tablespoons of butter into the bowl and allow to sit for one minute. Add shortening and sugar/zest mixture. Whisk for about three minutes, until fluffy. Whisk in egg, corn syrup, extract and salt just until velvety, about 30 seconds. With spatula, stir in flour mixture until just combined.

Drop large, two-tablespoon-sized dollops of dough onto lined sheets, leaving about 2 inches between each. Decorate with sprinkles or turbinado sugar. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes (10 minutes worked well for me), rotating baking sheets halfway through baking time. Let cookies sit on sheets for two to three minutes, then remove and allow cookies to cool on racks.

Note: For a traditional sugar cookie (sans lemon), omit the lemon zest and use vanilla extract instead of lemon.