We love the name. Doesn’t it sound delicious? Cookies that melt away in your mouth as you eat them, who could resist? Between the name, and a recent request for lemon cookies, we had to try making up a batch of Lemon Meltaway Cookies. Now, for this recipe, a batch makes only a dozen cookies (you can scale it up, of course), but that’s because it comes from a great little book: Dessert For Two, by Christina Lane (her blog is also called Dessert for Two).
We didn’t change anything for these; no, actually, we did, but by such a small bit, you won’t notice the difference. We provide weight measurements for the ingredients. We think this is important, especially for small batches, so you can keep all the proportions of ingredients correct. Plus, you can easily scale up the recipe by simply multiplying all the weights by the same factor. Anyway, enough about weights and measures, we want to scratch out some cookies!
We happened to have a Meyer lemon in the house, so we used that. A regular lemon would also be fine. Just make sure to use real lemon juice and not that bottled version which has a weird aftertaste. Other than that, use unsalted butter for baking. You don’t need someone else salting your food, do you?
Procedure in detail:
Mix dry ingredients. In a small bowl (we used a measuring cup for easy pouring), mix together the flour, cornstarch, and salt. If you want to use a whisk, go ahead, but we just used a spoon and we thought that our cookies were fine.
Cream butter and sugar. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugar, and zest, until light and fluffy. This means you beat on medium speed for about 2-3 minutes, perhaps longer, depending on the temperature of your butter.
Add flavoring. Add the lemon juice and vanilla and continue beating until everything’s fully incorporated. Before that, the butter will be in pieces and shiny or glossy from the liquid. It will take a while for the flavorings to become emulsified into the butter and sugar — we had to beat 4-5 minutes with the mixer on medium speed. Of course, scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Add dry ingredients. Turn off the mixer, then add the flour mixture, and mix on low just until incorporated, about 30 seconds. If needed, scrape down the bowl and mix just a bit more. Don’t over-mix, as the last thing you want is for the gluten to develop in the flour, making a tougher cookie, which could no longer be called a meltaway.
Shape and refrigerate. Turn out the dough onto a piece of waxed paper and shape into a log about 6 inches long. The dough is a little sticky, but not too bad, so you can use your hands to roll it into a log (gently is the key word here), or you can roll it in the waxed paper and not have to touch the dough. Once shaped, refrigerate for about an hour.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat for easy cleanup.
Slice and bake. Unwrap the log and slice into 12 pieces. We find it easiest to slice the log in half, then each piece in half again. Now, slice each quarter into 3 equal pieces. Place each on the prepared baking sheet, leaving at least an inch and a half between the cookies to ensure airflow. Bake for 13 to 14 minutes, or until slightly slumped, and just beginning to turn a light brown. For even baking, rotate the sheet from front to back halfway through.
Cool and sugar. Let the cookies cool on the sheet for 5 minutes, then roll in confectioners’ sugar to coat. If you wish, roll them twice, as they don’t seem to pick up a lot of sugar on the first roll. We did. Let cool as long as you can wait before eating.
I guess we can say easy peasy, lemon squeezy, because that’s probably the most difficult part of this recipe: zesting and squeezing a lemon. Even being so easy, it makes a good cookie. A very good cookie, one that nearly melts in your mouth, which makes these fun to eat. And, they’re quite tasty, but we do think that just a pinch more lemon flavor wouldn’t go amiss. Perhaps using 3 teaspoons of lemon juice and omitting the vanilla extract? Maybe next time. But a solid four stars, trending toward five.