Deliciousness made with all-natural flavoring—triple lemon! Melt-in-your-mouth Lemon Gooey Butter Cookies at their finest and from scratch. What could be better? Our recipe was reverse engineered from standard recipes for Gooey Butter Cookies calling for boxed yellow cake mix. The result is simply a sublime buttery, light and tender-crumbed cookie sweetened just right and full of lemon flavor including an enchanting tang from cream cheese. You just can’t have one! Included is a scrumptious and irresistible gluten free variation. Everyone loves these classic cookies inspired by the cream cheese variant of Gooey Butter Cake hailing from the 1930s in the USA Midwest—St. Louis!
2¼ cups (270 grams) organic all-purpose flour, such as King Arthur Flour®
2 teaspoons (about 8 grams) baking powder
1 (8-ounce/226-gram) package cream cheese, such as Philadelphia®, softened
½ cup (1 stick/113 grams) unsalted butter, softened
1½ cups (300 grams) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons (12 grams) freshly grated lemon zest, from 2 large lemons
1½ tablespoons (22.5 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon (a few drops) lemon oil, such as Boyajian® -Omit for gluten-free variation.
1/8 teaspoon natural yellow gel based food coloring, such as CHEFMASTER®
1 teaspoon (5 grams) kosher salt, or ¾ teaspoon regular table salt
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk (mine weighed 71 grams w/o shells)
1 cup (120 grams) confectioners’ sugar, sifted, for rolling & dusting cookies
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder until well blended. Set aside.
Using an electric stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, or handheld electric mixer, cream together cream cheese and butter until well blended, creamy and smooth. Beat in sugar, lemon zest and juice, vanilla, lemon oil, food coloring and salt; mix until well combined, light and fluffy, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula when necessary. Add egg and egg yolk and beat in well until creamy and light, about 1 to 2 minutes on medium speed.
On low speed, gradually add flour mixture and mix until just fully incorporated. Dough will be very sticky. Cover work bowl and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
Meanwhile, arrange oven rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 325ºF (165ºC). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Place confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl; set aside.
Measure enough dough to roll into generous 1-inch balls, using a 1 1/3-inch spring-loaded cookie scoop (or by measuring a generous tablespoon of dough with a measuring spoon) making sure each scoopful is in equal amounts. This is important for evenly baked cookies.
Roll dough between palms of hands to achieve a small rounded ball and then roll in confectioners’ sugar to lightly coat. Place dough balls on prepared baking sheets at least 2 inches apart.
Bake in preheated oven until cookies have spread into round cookie shapes and are puffed and crackly, about 14 minutes. Do not overbake. The cookies will still be soft in the centers. If they start to brown around the edges, they have baked too long. The underside of the cookies should be only very lightly browned.
Transfer to wire rack and allow cookies to cool completely on baking sheet. Once completely cooled, carefully remove cookies from baking sheet using a thin metal cookie spatula and transfer to an airtight container. Repeat with remaining dough on prepared cookie sheets.
If desired, chill the cookies in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Before serving, dust cookies with additional confectioners’ sugar. Serve cookies chilled or at room temperature.
Only use completely cooled cookie sheets lined with a fresh sheet of parchment paper before baking each batch.
Avoid crowding the cookies on baking sheets by spacing apart at least by 2 inches.
How to Measure All-Purpose Flour for this Recipe: This tip is provided for bakers who do not own a kitchen scale and will be measuring flour by volume rather than by weight. First, aerate flour by stirring it in the container. Then, simply spoon flour into measuring cup and level off the top with the straight edge of a metal icing spatula. (The straight edge of a knife from a flatware set can be used as well.) This should yield about 120 grams per 1 cup of flour. Use a sheet of wax paper as a liner on your work surface to measure flour so that the excess can easily be funneled back into flour bag or container.
How to Measure King Arthur Flour® Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour for this Recipe: There is no need to aerate the flour. Simply spoon flour into measuring cup and level off the top with the straight edge of a metal icing spatula. (The straight edge of a knife from a flatware set can be used as well.) This should yield about 160 grams per 1 cup of gluten free flour. Use a sheet of wax paper as a liner on your work surface to measure flour so that the excess can easily be funneled back into flour bag or container.
These tender cookies taste fabulous when served either at room temperature or chilled from the fridge.
Cookies will keep for up to 1 week covered in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Total time above does not include time for refrigerating dough before baking.
For Gluten-Free Lemon Gooey Butter Cookies: Substitute 2¼ cups (360 grams) King Arthur Flour® Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour and 1¼ teaspoons (3.5 grams) guar gum, such as by Now Foods, for the regular all-purpose wheat flour called for in the recipe. Whisk together until well blended and then continue with recipe by whisking in the baking powder. Also, omit pure lemon oil. See Important Food Allergy Note below.
IMPORTANT FOOD ALLERGY NOTE: Omit pure lemon oil to make Gluten-Free Lemon Gooey Butter Cookies as Boyajian® Citrus Oil Collection is processed on equipment shared with peanut oil, soy and wheat.
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