October 18, 2009

Homemade Sugar Cookies with Lemon Icing

We love receiving edible gifts, so when we recently visited friends we decided to bring them some homemade sugar cookies to brighten up their day.  The inspiration for these sweet treats came after finding daisy-shaped cookie cutters on sale at Sur La Table and wanting to recreate fond childhood memories of baking and decorating cookies.

We had made a large batch sugar cookie dough and left it in the fridge to chill overnight.

Ingredients (makes 60 cookies)

1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

For the dough:

1. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover and chill dough overnight.
To make the cookies:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.   
2. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.  (To make a cookie bouquet, pierce cookies with bamboo skewers)
3. Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.
These were the cookies we baked with bamboo sticks inside to make a cookie bouquet.

We let the cookies cool before we decorated them.  For the icing, we used some of our homemade lemon extract.

We had made lemon extract for the first time a couple of weeks ago.  For something so expensive, it was very easy to make.
Lemon Extract

1 large lemon
½ cup of vodka

1. Use a vegetable peeler to peel only the yellow part. Try not to peel any of the pith (white part) because it will make the extract bitter.
2. Place peels in an 8 oz jar.
3. Pour vodka over the lemon peels in the jar.
4. Screw on lid and shake.
5. Store in a dark place for two or more weeks.
6. Shake the jar daily or at least every other day.
7. After 2 weeks, remove the peels and use.

The icing was also easy to make.  We adapted a recipe we found at allrecipes.com.

Sugar Cookie Icing (fully cover 12 cookies)
1 cup confectioners' sugar
4 tspn milk
1 tspn sugar syrup (instead of corn syrup, we made a sugar syrup with 1-1/4 cups sugar and 1/3 cup water, boiled together until syrupy).
1 tspn lemon extract (you can substitute with almond or vanilla extract for different flavoring)
yellow food coloring

1. In a small bowl, stir together confectioners' sugar and milk until smooth.
2. Beat in sugar syrup and lemon extract until icing is smooth and glossy. If icing is too thick, add more corn syrup.
3. Add food colouring.
4. For our flowers, we put the icing in a plastic sandwich bag, cut a small hole in the corner of the bag, and piped our cookies (This was our first time and it worked!).  Other decorating methods would be to dip the cookies or paint them with a brush.

We piped the flowers and added M&M's on some as our flower centers.

We let the icing set overnight and packaged them in different ways.  We wrapped each up in sandwich bags, tied them with ribbon, and made cookie bouquets, gift baskets, and care packages.
We had fun making these cookies and hope that these photos of them brightened up your day!


  1. Wow, what a treat! I am looking forward to trying that lemon extract.

  2. that is sooo pretty! I don't mind having those as presents at all.

  3. Love your pictures! I must try the lemon extract... awesome! Someday my oldest daughter and I will do this :o)

  4. Those cookies were very, very pretty! I really like the idea of making the lemon extract, I am going to remember that. Thanks!

  5. wow, these looks so awesome! beautiful sweet treats!

  6. What a fun way to spend the day! I'm sure your friends will love receiving them!

  7. These look great! What an incredible job.....

  8. Beautifully decorated cookies, love the idea of lemon extract!

  9. Thanks everyone! We've given bouquets and packages for housewarming gifts and congrats on your new baby gifts. We're thinking of using the lemon extract in cakes too - maybe lemon cupcakes next?

  10. As recipient of said cookies we must say they were delicious : ) Thanks again guys we had a great time.


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