It’s become kind of a tradition every year, when Meyer lemon season is in full swing, that my best friend’s parents graciously gift me a box of lemons from their tree, knowing that I'll put them to good use. In return for their generosity and unwavering support of my baking skills, I try to come up with AS MANY recipe variations as possible to showcase the delicious flavors of their Meyer Lemons.
This year, the fruits of that labor resulted in these Meyer Lemon Crinkle Cookies. They are the perfect balance of sweet and citrus. The distinctive sweetness, low acidity, and floral flavors of Meyer Lemons combined with a soft, chewy cookie make these irresistible to put down.
You know what they say when life gives you lemons…
Ingredients you’ll need:
- Meyer Lemons: are less acidic, sweeter, and have distinct floral notes compared to the standard lemon varieties. To avoid relying on extracts for flavoring and run the risk of overpowering the Meyer lemon flavors, this recipe uses larger ratios of lemon juice and lemon zest to ensure each bite is full of Meyer lemon flavor.
- Granulated Sugar, Brown Sugar, & Powdered Sugar: three types of sugar are used. A combo of granulated & brown sugar are used in the dough to give a soft and chewy texture. Whereas granulated & powdered sugar are used to coat the cookies.
- Baking Soda & Baking Powder: used to create the right amount of spread and give these cookies their classic crinkle look.
How to make this recipe:
Step 1: Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Step 2: Thoroughly cream together butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and lemon zest for about 3 minutes; it should be light, fluffy, and pale in color. Add in egg, lemon juice, and almond extract and mix for another 1-2 minutes until well combined.
Step 3: Mix in dry ingredients until just combined; the dough should look “shaggy.”
Step 4: Portion out cookie dough and chill for at least 4 hours.
Step 5: Roll chilled cookie dough in a layer of granulated sugar, followed by a thick layer of powdered sugar.
Step 6: Preheat oven to 350°. Space out cookie dough (2 - 3 inches) on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until the edges of the cookie start to turn lightly golden brown. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before moving to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Troubleshooting: why are my lemon crinkle cookies not crinkling?
According to America’s Test Kitchen, the key to the perfect crinkle cookie is the right amount of surface drying and spread. Below are a few things that could be impacting your cookies from getting their crinkle look:
Baking Soda or Baking Powder are expired:
A combo of baking powder and baking soda are used to create the crinkle look of the cookie. Baking Soda makes a denser, more craggly cookie, while baking powder gives the cookie the appropriate lift and cakiness. If either of the leaveners are expired or have been open for a while, they will start to lose their leavening strength and impact the role each plays in the recipe.
Skipped rolling dough in granulated sugar:
As mentioned in America’s Test Kitchen Science: How to Bake Crinkly Cookies video, sugar is hygroscopic, which means it can draw moisture from the surface of the cookies; as they bake, this helps to create a fast-drying exterior that’s prone to cracking.
Not rolling the dough in enough powdered sugar:
Some of the sugar will dissolve while baking, so it’s essential to use a heavy hand and make sure that the dough is entirely covered in a thick layer of powdered sugar.
Baking more than one sheet at a time:
Baking one sheet at a time helps to ensure that all the cookies are exposed to the heat of the oven and able to dry the tops of the cookies evenly.
These cookies need time to chill, so this is a great recipe to prep ahead of time.
Refrigerator: Store uncoated dough in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 48-72 hours. When ready to bake, follow the regular baking instructions.
Freezer: Follow the recipe as normal, chill the portioned dough (do not roll in sugars) for an hour, then place in an airtight freezer-safe container and freeze up to 2 months. When ready to bake, let them thaw on the counter for 30 minutes and then follow the regular baking instructions.
Well-covered cookies at room temperature will last 2-3 days and up to a week in the refrigerator. If stacking cookies when storing, I like to place a layer of parchment paper between the stacks of cookies, so the sugars from the cookies don’t stick to one another.
If you don’t have access to Meyer lemons, standard lemons (Eureka or Lisbon variety) will work. They have a slightly more acidic flavor but they are still delicious.
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If you end up making and enjoying these Meyer Lemon Crinkle Cookies, please consider tagging @nightowlsbakingco on Instagram and leaving a review below.
I hope these cookies make Emily's parents proud!