By Cassie Johnston
1 hour, 40 minutes
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A few years back at one of our family gatherings, my Mama brought out a plate of these little, pale yellow cookies. They almost looked like unbaked sugar cookies. I really didn’t think anything of them. And then my husband had one, ran over to me and told me I had to go grab one immediately. I made my way over to the plate, grabbed one, took a bite, and was completely blown away.
They had a bright, sweet lemon flavor and the most incredibly chewy and smooth texture. The outside of these unassuming cookies didn’t do them justice at all, because they were, without a doubt, one of the best cookies I’ve ever had. And then I proceeded to camp out by the dessert table and eat my weight in these cookies.
Meet lemon snowdrop cookies.
I know, they really don’t look like much. I think it’s probably a defense mechanism. If they looked as incredibly tasty as they are, you’d never get them out of the kitchen. They’re in disguise. And hidden under that disguise is pure cookie magic.
Like all chewy cookie recipes, the absolute key to getting the texture right is closely monitoring your cooking time. As a matter of principle, I underbake all my cookie by 3-4 minutes less than what the recipes call for. These you have to watch like hawk. You want them to just be slightly (like, barely) browned on the bottom, and a beautiful pale yellow color on top. I wouldn’t leave the kitchen while these are baking, because a 30-60 seconds in the oven too long, and your delicious, chewy cookies are instead delicious, crunchy cookies.
You’ll be tempted to leave them longer because they seem just so liquidy and gooey, but I promise, as they cool, they’ll solidify. You want to err on the side of raw cookies on these guys. You want them to be jiggly enough that it’s a little hard to wiggle them onto a spatula to take them off the tray.
Trust me, no one will be upset if the middle of their cookie is a bit more like cookie dough that a cooked cookie.
Another key to getting the perfect chewy cookie: cool cookie sheets. When you’ve taken your first batch of cookies out of the oven and transferred them to a cooling rack, don’t immediately go and place raw cookie dough on the hot cookie sheet. Instead, either wait 10-15 minutes for the cookie sheet to cool (or have a second cookie sheet that is cooling while your other one is the oven), or, quickly run the sheet under cold water and dry it.
A warm cookie sheet starts the butter melting in cookies before they ever hit the oven, which means you’ll end up with a liquid mess of cookie instead of a perfect pillow of lemonness. Trust me on this one.
Every time I’ve brought these lemon snowdrop cookies somewhere, they’ve garnered the same reaction that I had the first time I tried them. At first appearance, people think they’re boring little sugar cookies, and then at first bite, people are over-the-moon, stumbling over themselves to get the recipe!
I haven’t tried veering away from the lemon flavor, but I’m sure this cookie could be equally incredible with other citrus tastes. Orange zest and juice, plus maybe a tiny pinch of ground cloves would make for a delicious, holiday-flavored cookie. And some key lime zest and juice would make for a cookie that is almost like a hand-held key lime pie! Or put lemon and lime in them and they could be Sprite/7Up cookies. Yum.
Chewy Lemon Snowdrop Cookies are perfectly little pillows of chewy lemonness. They look unassuming, but might be the best cookie ever made!
Combine the lemon zest and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using your hands, rub the zest into the sugar for a minute or so until the mixture is very fragrant.
Add the butter. Using the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and lemon sugar, stopping and scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
Add the lemon juice, honey, vanilla extract, and lemon extract and beat until combined. The mixture may look curdled because of the lemon juice.
Add the flour, baking soda, and sea salt, and beat until the dough comes together and begins to form a ball. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Form the dough into balls about an inch and a half in diameter and place them two inches apart on a cool, ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, or until the bottoms are light golden brown.
Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes, then carefully transfer to a rack to cool completely.
Once the cookies have cooled, toss them in powdered sugar and serve.
To make these cookies gluten free, use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-free 1-to-1 Baking Flour instead of all-purpose flour. If the dough has difficulty coming together, add up to two tablespoons (18 grams) of additional 1-to-1 flour and mix again.
If you are using just one cookie sheet, be sure to let it cool completely before using it to bake another set of cookies. If the cookie sheet is warm when you add the dough balls, the cookies will spread too much.
A 3/4-ounce scoop is very handy for portioning out the dough, but a tablespoon measure also works.
The original version of this recipe can be found as a PDF here.
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Rate this recipe
Mmm those look good! Love that they are chewy, that is the best kind of cookie :)
they are not good at all…scroll down to what everyone has said that has made them. You cannot even taste the lemon. This is the third time I have wasted time and food making an “Online” recipe like this that was terrible. Stick with proven recipes.
I scrolled down and read all of the comments. Seems like most people love the recipe, and some just need to make small adjustments. Everyone’s ingredients and equipment are probably different, so there are any number of variables that might give you a different result. How many times did you attempt to make them? Did you make any changes to try and improve the outcome? Why would you try to discourage people from trying something just because you had one failed attempt? Judging by all of the *positive* comments I’ve seen, I’m convinced I’d like to give them a try.
Omg are you kidding me! Better take baking lessons these are amazing!
These r the best cookies ever! They just need some additional flour and that’s it! My husband and son love them!
I loved them and they were the first to go off my cookie tray.
Maybe your sour attitude was the problem LIz.. (as long as you are dishing it out…)
Seriously woman. Your styling and photography are stunning.
Gorgeous photos! Man, the conviction with which you talked up these cookies had me looking in the cupboard for icing sugar before I’d even gotten through the reading the post. I’m sold!
I agree with Brittany – “Your styling and photography are stunning.” I am so making these cookies..you had me at lemon.
These sounds amazing! I love lemon flavor! Question: any tips for zesting a lemon? Last time I tried the zesty parts mostly stuck to my zesting grater. Which was frustrating. Could I use lemon juice from a bottle?
(*These sound amazing!* Ack typos. I’m just really excited about chewy lemon cookies!)
You could use lemon juice from a bottle, but fresh has a more intense flavor. And do you have a good zester? That’s absolutely key! And they zest definitely sticks to it, just take a finger and wipe down the back of the zester to get all that goodness (some zesters even come with a squeegee to get all that goodness off).
made these today for a neighbor!! It was hard to keep my fiance from eating them all before i got them in the cookie tin! will definitely make again :) thanks so much!
I just made these today without a lemon! To replace the juice and zest of 1 lemon I used 2 tsp lemon extract and 3 tbsp lemon juice
These look amazing! I’m very eager to make them. Just wanting to confirm the quantity of butter. 1 stick = grams? I’ve seen it’s equivalent to 113g. Is this right?
Yup! 113. :) Here’s a great butter converter that tells you it in all kinds of measurements: http://www.traditionaloven.com/conversions_of_measures/butter_converter.html
These look delish! I think I’ll be making them for xmas gifts this year!
I made these last night–yum! Perfectly sweet and lemon-y, without being too buttery or gummy. Also I love that the recipe only has one stick of butter (most chewy cookie recipes I see around the holidays seem to start with three!)
I made these tonight! I loved how they came together quickly with regular ingredients. They really did bake quicker than I expected! I like how soft and lemony they are!
Made these the other night and LOVED them! So easy and SO delicious.
Hi I made these tonight and I have to say I was pretty underwhelmed. They came out exactly like the picture and they’re definitely chewy and pillowey like you said but all of us felt that there was a big lack of flavor and could barely taste the lemon. I did use fresh lemon and followed the recipe exactly and for the second batch I used even more lemon and they still really had no flavor. If anyone else encounters this I did spice them up by putting Martha Stewart’s lemon glaze on top and now they’re a bit better.
Bummer! I’m sorry they didn’t turn out for you. I made them again last night, and still find them plenty lemon-y, but different palettes taste things differently. Sorry you didn’t enjoy them!
I just made these and added our lemon extract instead of vanilla and the favor is amazing!!!! This is now in the Christmas cookie gift giving wheel!! Simple yet so delicious. Can’t thank you enough. Merry Christmas
Not sure what I did, but mine would not set up. I had to keep eating them to see if they were getting where they needed to be, haha! Mmmmm. Guess I will have to try again! I am loving the dough though.
Christmas baking has begun. Made these with my granddaughter yesterday and they are indeed fabulous. Had to freeze a batch right away or there wouldn’t be any left for Christmas! Thanks for sharing this. Cheers.
Hi! This recipe sounds delicious, and I’ll try it for this Christmas. But I wonder – how much is a stick of butter in grams? (I live in Norway, and we use the metric system).
And by reading the earlier comments, I see it is about 113 grams. (Note to self – read Everything before asking☺☺)
These sound fabulous. Do you roll the dough balls in the powdered sugar like the picture? Or does it go into the mixer with the other sugar?
You toss the cookies in the powdered sugar once they come out of the oven. It’s in the last line of the directions in the recipe. :)
I could not get these cookies to set up. The dough is very lemon-y and they would’ve been wonderful if I could have gotten them to a proper consistency. I actually increased the baking time, and they were still more like sludge than cookie.
Agree you should use juice of two lemons, although I did get about 1/3 cup from one lemon using a juicer. I used an organic lemon, which I thought would be more lemony.
Me too. So disappointed.
I made these as part of my Christmas cookies…OH MY GOSH are they delicious! They are now a part of my personal recipes and will be made often. Love…thank you for sharing!
Just made these and they are tasty, though I would like a stronger lemon flavor. However, mine lost their puffiness as soon as they were out of the oven. I’m not sure what went wrong. And yet, they did not last!
This is exactly what happened to me. Now they are thin as wafers.
Made these today and they were perfect!!!!
Can you make this dough ahead of time and refridgerate it until ready to bake?
Sure can! Just bring it back to room temp before baking.
How much lemon zest and lemon juice are needed? I’ve never used lemon zest before and I’m not sure how to go about it.
The 2nd line of the recipe says the zest and lemon juice from one lemon.
Average juice from a medium size lemon is about 3 Tablespoons.
This might be where previous posters have not gotten enough lemon flavor, or had difficulties with the dough.
The lemons I have in the fridge are very small, so I might use 1 1/2 or 2, and will definitely be measuring my juice to get at least 3 Tbl
I used two lemons because the juice from one didn’t look like enough and they came out perfectly.
What happens if you cook them cold?
The butter stays chilled long enough not to spread in the oven.
These look delicious! Does the powdered sugar go into the cookie dough, or is that ingredient only for dusting the cookies after baking?
Just for dusting them after baking. :)
Mine came out wafer thin. What did I do wrong? Also, they don’t taste sweet OR lemony! ?
These are so delicious they are going to make me gain 10 lbs!!
Just made these and they turned out teribbly! Not sure what I did wrong :( The dough was almost “moussey” when I put them on the cool pans and now they are round spongey messes and have to throw the whole batch out. Any idea what happened?
Sounds like you may have over mixed your dough. Mix just till it comes together, for traditional thick cookie texture we don’t want to incorporate too much air and have mousse like dough as you say. Possibly you had more lemon juice than average, and could try balancing it out a Tb at a time with flour until your dough comes back together? Give it a second try! Learning problem solving in the kitchen turns a good baker into an awesome baker and is so worth the time.
Mine were terrible too, this recipe is horrible, and all wrong.
I am a sucker for lemony treats and was really excited to try out this recipe. The taste of the cookie itself was delish! However, I wouldn’t say that they are “chewy”, they were soft and light but had zero of the chewy texture I was expecting.. My cookies didn’t flattened either like the photos. They remained in little balls originally formed. I will mold them next time so that they resemble cookies rather than odd dough balls. Otherwise, they were good!
These did not work at all! I followed the recipe to a T. I am an experienced baker and the cookies did not set, only spread like pancakes when baking. I tried freezing my dough after making the ball shapes for baking. They still spread. If you think about it, the honey should be substituted for sugar, more flour added – maybe then thwy would be more like shortbread? Perhaps an egg would add the protein binder that these lack. The flavor profile is there, but did not bake well at all.
Has anyone tries substituting coconut oil for the butter?
Would like to try these, I can ‘taste’ the lemon! I see the recipe has Baking Soda, but being in New Zealand could you advise whether the ‘all purpose’ flour you use has baking powder in it as well? Thanks.
Wondering if you can freeze the dough or could you freeze the cookies once baked? Trying to do as much ahead of time!
Thanks so much!
Cassie: Thank-you so much for sharing this recipe. They are devine!Used a small lemon, adjusting the flour to a little more and baked a minute more.
Turned out fab!
Excellent! Well done and thanks for posting this :) I love the way you presented them, actually the beautiful snowflake is what lured me to these delicious cookies that turned out to be divine!! Would it be too much if I asked you where I can grab one like/similar?? :)
Thanks for the post
These are terrible, they taste doughy and bland. This recipe is all wrong. Third time I have blindly made an “online recipe”…stick with proven recipes!
This recipe is fantastic. I used 1 large lemon and it was just the right amount of lemoniness. Sweet but not too sweet delicious. The only adjustment I made to the recipe was the cook time. The recipe calls for the cook time to be 5-7 minutes. I found this to just not be enough. Although delicious when I pulled them out of the oven after a 7 minute cook time, they were just too soft. I put them back in for an additional 5 minutes making it a total of 12 minute cook time and they were perfect! My boyfriend is happy. As am I. :)
How many cookies does this recipe make?
About 2 dozen!
These look so incredible…. I love lemon desserts. But, I’ll need to do gluten free flour.
Mine taste amazing but they didn’t spread at all. They are still balls. Should I smash them with a cup or add less flour? Instead of regular honey though I used some local lavender infused honey! So yummy!
My family loves very tart lemon cookies and desserts so I know from the start that adjustments will need to be made on just about any recipe. The important thing is that the bones of a recipe be spot on and your cookies are just that! Very tasty and very more-ish. ?
So, what I did was to actually dunk the still slightly warm cookies into a small bowl of pure lemon juice mixed with sugar. Once the cookies dried, powdered sugar was sprinkled on.
My sister went especially wild over your cookies and she isn’t particularly a cookie eater. Along with her daughter, most of those cookies were bogarted (technical term) between the two of them. I was smart enough to leave a few cookies behind and gave them to her as she left for her family’s long drive home. ✨
I made these cookies last year a few times with great success each time (like, I had to make double batches every time because my friends and family are a bunch of lemon-sucking insatiable cookie monsters). I didn’t realise the recipe has changed – is there a particular reason why? I’m not complaining, just curious what all the changes were meant to accomplish. Still a big fan!
I’m so glad you’ve liked the recipe! We retested the recipe because lots of folks (go ahead and scroll up through the comments to see) haven’t had success with the recipe. So we retested it and clarified the measurements and instructions, so everyone can have success with it.
If you loved the old recipe, it’s still available by clicking the link in the header of the recipe card. :)
this recipe is a total flop as written. It comes out way too dry and barely sticks together. I tried baking one and it tasted like flour. I added about 2 more tbsp lemon juice and 2 tbsp honey to the batter and they came out much better this time. The texture of both versions came out just like the photo after setting up for a few hours, so at least theres that. Take them out as soon as the top is nicely cracked and no longer. 3 TBSP zest makes no sense to me since it’s so variable based on how you pack it but i ended up using the zest and juice of 2 lemons after the second addition and they had a nice lemon flavor. Strong but not too much. After making the above modification to the remainder of the batter, they came out good and with a nice texture that I’d happily share, but not sure that I’ll be making these again. prefer lemon ricotta cookies.
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