What's Baking: Lemon Sugar Cookies

The holiday cookie season is nearly upon us, so I'm trying out a few new-to-me cookie recipes now before the holidays really kick into high gear. I first came upon this lemon sugar cookie recipe while watching an episode of PBS's Martha Stewart Bakes, and immediately pinned the recipe to come back to later.

This past weekend I found myself at D's family's cottage up in Northern Michigan with an open afternoon and all the ingredients I needed on hand, so I figured it was as good a time as any to try this recipe out. Since I didn't have any cookie cutters with me, I made drop cookies (as the original recipe intends), but I think with some additional chilling time, this dough would work quite well for cut-out cookies. Given the delicious lemony (but not-too-lemony) flavor of these sugar cookies, I'm sure I'll get a chance to try this out as I plan to make another batch soon!

Lemon Sugar Cookies (printer-friendly version)
makes about 16-18 large cookies

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking soda
1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
granulated or sanding sugar, for sprinkling

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and sea salt. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, stir together the sugars and lemon zest. Then add in the butter and beat until light yellow and fluffy. Stir in the eggs one at a time. Then stir in the lemon juice. Finally, stir in the flour mixture a little bit at a time until just incorporated.
4. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
5. Using a spoon and your fingers, form the chilled dough into 1" balls (slightly smaller than ping-pong ball size). Gently flatten the balls with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle sanding or granulated sugar over top each cookie, tap it down with your fingers, then sprinkle on a bit more.
6. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and set the baking sheet on a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Then remove the cookies from the baking sheet and let cool completely on the wire rack. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to three days.

(lightly adapted from this Martha Stewart recipe)