Tag: Spring

Sheet Pan Steamed Salmon

Sheet Pan Steamed Salmon

This simple, elegant salmon dinner comes together in 40 minutes!

Marinated Grape and Goat Cheese Salad

Marinated Grape and Goat Cheese Salad

Marinated Grape ad Goat Cheese Salad starts with sweet marinated grapes, then adds leafy greens, almonds, and goat cheese for a nice, light meal.

Lemon Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies

Lemon Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies

This post contains affiliate links. This means that I receive a small commission for items bought through some of the links in this post, at no cost to you. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting Gracious Cooking.

Do you need a cookie to take to a summer barbecue? What about a baby shower? Birthday party? Family dinner? The couch? Have I got the cookie for you! Lemon Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies are soft, the perfect snacking size, and have a lemony flavor that will have you reaching for seconds. We’re talking lemon cream cheese frosting, people! Buckle up.

I was talking to my mom about the better than Swig sugar cookies I posted a little while ago, and she had the brilliant idea to add lemon to them. Thus the lemon cream cheese sugar cookie was born!

The Dough

The cookie dough recipe is the same as it was in the other post about soft sugar cookies adapted from the swig cookies from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe, only before you add the granulated sugar to the mixer, you rub the lemon zest into it with your fingers. Rub until the sugar smells very lemony and is slightly wet and sandy. Rubbing the zest into the sugar releases the oils in the lemon peel, making the sugar smell and taste strongly of lemon. Don’t skip this step. It makes the cookies that much more lemony, and it’s fun to do.

The Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

The frosting is made of butter, cream cheese, lemon juice, lemon zest, a pinch of salt, and just enough powdered sugar for the perfect amount of sweetness. I’m not sure how to convey to you how delicious this lemon cream cheese frosting is. It tastes like lemon cheesecake sitting atop a soft, perfectly crumbly lemon cookie. It’s insane. If you like lemon desserts even a little bit, you need to make these immediately.

Equipment

You may find these tools helpful for this recipe:

  1. Microplane lemon zester

2. Medium cookie scoop

3. Silicone baking mat

4. My favorite type of cookie sheet (a half sheet pan)

5. Wire cooling racks

Your New Favorite Cookie

These cookies have been a huge hit everywhere we’ve taken them. For instance, I brought 2 dozen Lemon Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies to a barbecue with some friends, and they were all happily gobbled up. My mom has given a few dozen away, and people loved them every time. Mark brought some over to a game night, again, a hit. Guys, this recipe is just a winner. I’m very confident that these will be your new favorite cookies in no time.

When you make these, will you please tag me in a picture? I’m very excited to see them! Also, please share this recipe with your friends! Everyone needs these cookies in their life.

Lemon Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies

Gracious Cooking
Say hello to your new favorite cookie! Lemony and sweet, these are perfect for any get-together.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 8 mins
Total Time 38 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 38 cookies

Ingredients
  

For the Cookies

  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 and 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil any neutral oil will work.
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 5 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour be sure to not overpack the flour. To avoid this, fluff the flour in the container before scooping.
  • 3 or 4 Tablespoons granulated sugar for pressing the cookies

For the Lemon Cream Cheese Buttercream

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 4 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • juice of 1 lemon

Instructions
 

For the Cookies

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
  • Zest 1 lemon. Rub the lemon zest into the granulated sugar until very fragrant and slightly moist and sandy.
  • In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, add the butter, oil, vanilla, granulated sugar and lemon zest mixture, and powdered sugar. Beat until very creamy, about 5 minutes.
  • Sprinkle the baking soda, cream of tartar and salt evenly over the mixture. Mix to combine.
  • Add the eggs and sour cream. I do this all in one addition. Mix well until completely combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl if needed.
  • Add the flour in one addition and mix on low speed until combined with no floury pockets. This only takes about 10 seconds in my mixer. Do not overmix. If your mixer bowl does not have a lid, cover the top of the bowl loosely with a kitchen towel so you do not spray flour everywhere. Be careful not to put your fingers anywhere near the mixing mechanism.
  • On your lined baking sheets, scoop out cookies with a volume of 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons. I use a #40 (medium) cookie scoop to do this. Leave about an inch and a half of space in all directions between cookies.
  • Spray the bottom of a flat-bottomed glass with cooking spray, or rub with a little vegetable oil. Dip the bottom of the glass in granulated sugar (I put my sugar in a small bowl), and lightly press each cookie until it is between 1/4 inch and 1/2 inch in thickness, dipping the glass in sugar again in between each cookie. No need to re-spray the glass.
  • Bake the cookies for between 7 and 9 minutes until set, but not browned. 7 minutes and 30 seconds is perfect in my oven. If overcooked, the cookies will be dry and not nearly as soft.
  • Remove cookies to a wire rack and let cool completely before frosting.

For the Lemon Cream Cheese Buttercream

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (I use the cookie paddles on my Bosch), add the butter, cream cheese, vanilla extract and zest of one lemon. Beat until combined and smooth.
  • Add the heavy cream and beat until smooth.
  • Add the salt, and powdered sugar. Beat until very smooth and voluminous, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the lemon juice, and mix to combine.
  • If the frosting looks too thick, add a little more cream and mix.
  • Frost your cookies, add sprinkles if you like, and enjoy!

Notes

Store covered. I store my cookies in a cake saver. They can stay out at room temperature for about a day, but after that should go in the fridge. You can eat them chilled (yum) or let them come back to room temperature before enjoying.
To freeze after frosting, lay out cookies in one layer on a baking tray. Freeze until solid, then you can put them in Ziplock freezer bags. 
To freeze the cookie dough, press out cookies as outlined above. Freeze in a single layer on a lined baking tray until solid. Store in Ziplock freezer bags. To bake, Put cookies on a lined baking tray and bake at 325 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Check them at 8. Proceed with frosting after they are cool.
Keyword Cookies, Cream Cheese, Lemon
How to Make Swig Sugar Cookies, But Better

How to Make Swig Sugar Cookies, But Better

Make your own soda shop cookies at home, only better! These are a lighter, smaller, tastier version of the Swig sugar cookie.

Greek Spinach Salad with Simple Greek Vinaigrette

Greek Spinach Salad with Simple Greek Vinaigrette

This Greek Salad with Greek Dressing is fresh and bight. Plus, it uses leftover chicken! Win!

Sunshine Lemon Cardamom Sheet Cake

Sunshine Lemon Cardamom Sheet Cake

This post contains affiliate links. This means that I receive a small commission for items bought through some of the links in this post, at no cost to you. All opinions are my own.

Lemon desserts are happy desserts. They remind me of springtime and sunshine, of picnics and visits to the park. My husband does not share this view. He thinks they are too tart. He is wrong.

I mean, I kind of get it. A bad lemon dessert can be, well… really bad.

They can taste artificial, or the lemon isn’t present enough, or the texture is dry.

We won’t stand for that, will we? We want a soft, luxurious slice of lemony heaven, because good lemon desserts can be SO GOOD! This is a good one, friends.

Sheet cakes are awesome for many reasons.

  • they are very easy to make.
  • you don’t need a mixer.
  • they feed lots of people, thus making them perfect for things like baptisms, baby showers, parties, barbecues, big family dinners, and Mother’s Day brunches. Oh, how I’m looking forward to those things again. We’re almost there!
  • the leftovers (if you have any) are awesome the next day.
  • they travel really well.
  • you don’t have to decorate them.

I’m very proud of this particular sheet cake, as it’s my first original cake recipe. It’s soft, brightly lemony, and slightly spiced with cardamom. The glaze goes on when the cake is hot, so it soaks into the cake a little bit, and shatters pleasantly when you bite into it.

My husband, remember, the one who “doesn’t like lemon desserts,” loved this one. I know he wasn’t just trying to make me happy too, because I saw him eating pieces when he didn’t know I was looking. You hear that? He had seconds! And thirds! It was a hit. Also, my almost-two-year-old kept running up to the counter where the cake was with her little mouth open, waiting for a bite.

Let’s get to it! Here’s how you make it.

For the cake, heat the butter, lemon juice, and water together on the stove. While that heats, add the sugar and lemon zest to a large mixing bowl, and rub them together until they smell like summertime. Then add the rest of the dry ingredients to the bowl and whisk. If you don’t have ground cardamom, you can skip it, but really go get some. It’s so yummy. It adds a comforting spice to the cake, but it’s very gentle.

Here’s where it gets fizzy! Yes, this cake batter will fizz when you add the wet ingredients to the dry because the baking soda reacts with the lemon juice. The key is to wait a few seconds after you pour the wet ingredients in, to let the reaction run its course a little bit, and then whisk until combined. If you don’t wait, the mix will be puffy and not all the batter will fit in the pan. It’ll bake up just fine though.

After the batter comes together, add the sour cream and whisk. This will cool the batter down enough to add the eggs and the vanilla. Whisk until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan (13”x18”), and bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes.

While the cake bakes, make the glaze. You just zest a lemon and combine the ingredients. Easy peasy! I sift the sugar too, so the glaze is nice and smooth on the cake. Glaze the cake while it is still quite warm, then let the cake cool completely for maximum deliciousness.

This really is a very simple cake, and I love a cake that just comes together in a bowl. Let me know when you make this! I’d love to see. Muah!

Lemon Cardamom Sheet Cake

A soft, bright lemon cake infused with an earthy spice from ground cardamom, with a shattering lemon glaze.
Prep Time 20 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 48 servings

Equipment

  • Half sheet pan

Ingredients
  

For the cake:

  • 1 cup 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

For the glaze:

  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons water

Instructions
 

For the cake:

  • Prepare a 13″x18″ half sheet pan with baking spray, or flour and butter.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Zest 1 lemon.
  • In a small saucepot, add the butter, lemon juice, and water and bring just to a good simmer, then remove from the heat.
  • While the butter, lemon, and water are heating, add the sugar and lemon zest to a large mixing bowl. Be sure to use a large bowl to account for the reaction between the lemon juice and baking soda later.
  • With your fingers, rub the lemon zest into the sugar until very fragrant. Have fun with it.
  • Add the flour, baking soda, salt, and ground cardamom to the mixing bowl with the sugar and lemon zest.
  • Carefully pour the butter, water, and lemon juice into the mixing bowl. The baking soda will react with the acid in the lemon juice, causing the mixture to fizz and puff up. Wait a few seconds and the fizzing will die down.
  • After the fizzing dies down, whisk until combined.
  • Add the sour cream and whisk to combine. This should cool down the mixture enough so that your eggs won’t scramble. When in doubt, wait a minute before adding the eggs.
  • Add the eggs and vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth.
  • Pour batter into the prepared half sheet pan, and use a rubber spatula to smooth it out and get the batter into the corners.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes. This cake will not brown much due to the reaction of the lemon juice and baking soda, but it is done when you press on it and it springs back.

For the glaze:

  • Zest 1 lemon.
  • Sift the powdered sugar into a bowl.
  • Add the lemon juice, water, and lemon zest to the bowl, and whisk until smooth.
  • After the cake comes out of the oven, while it is still hot, pour the glaze over the cake and spread with an offset spatula.
  • Let cake cool completely, slice, and dig in!
  • This cake, like most, is even more delicious the next day.
Keyword Cake, Cardamom, Lemon
Nana’s Carrots

Nana’s Carrots

A simple carrot side dish inspired by my Nana.


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