Paper Lemon Cookies

My sister Sharon is, and always has been, crazy for lemon desserts. Aside from lemon meringue pies (our mother and grandmother were absolutely the best pie makers ever) and lemon angel pies, she also loved our Aunt Mar's lemon cookies. Crisp, buttery and lemony, Sharon and I attempted to replicate them, but had no success......we both finally came to the conclusion she left an ingredient out of the recipe when she passed it on.

Our Aunt Mar (who was my father's mother's sister and lived across the street from us our entire childhood) had a serious relationship with lemon flavoring. It found its way into nearly all her desserts. Cookies, cakes, muffins and puddings. Didn't matter what, she added lemon flavoring. Not extract and never real lemons, mind you, but that old fashioned lemon flavoring. I'm not complaining, she was a fine home cook. She made everyone in our family (and probably the entire neighborhood) her famous sponge cake with 7 minute frosting for every birthday. Lemon flavoring in that cake too, along with vanilla. 
I make it to this day, but use lemon extract. (Can you even buy lemon flavoring any longer?) Aunt Mar's little house even smelled like lemon inside. 

Anyway, our Mother used to bake some meringues, fill them with her version of lemon curd and top them with whipped cream. I also recall something called Lemon Sunshine that consisted of lemons, gelatin, sugar, eggs with the whites beaten and added last. I have the recipe someplace. An airy lemon parfait, sort of.

My sister and I. (I'm the one with skinned knees.)

So recently when Kim from My Kentucky Home posted a recipe for Lemon Meringue Muffins, you better believe I copied it and emailed it to my sister in Michigan immediately.  She's probably made them already. I'll make them for company the end of the month.

As is the way, just because I seem to be thinking lemon everything right now,  I was reading through one of Marion Cunningham's cookbooks and came across this delight: Lemon Paper Cookies. I couldn't resist. Thought I'd try them first before I sent the recipe on to my sister. She's really going to like them and her sewing group will want the recipe for sure. 
They turned out delicate, lacy AND lemony. Perfect with tea or coffee for an afternoon treat.

Bench notes: The recipe suggested cutting them less than 1/4 thick. I found that next to impossible so settled on 1/4 thick and they turned out perfectly. 
Also, 2 hours in the refrigerator was not enough. It's a very fragile dough. I ended up putting it in the freezer for a bit and then cut my slices quickly with a very sharp, thin knife. Otherwise they tend to break into pieces. But never fear, you can push them together and they still turn out beautifully.

Joyce's Paper Lemon Cookies

From The Supper Book by Marion Cunningham

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons grated lemon rind
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 cups allm purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Optional: raw sugar for sprinkling on top (I did not use)

Cream the butter and sugar. Add then vanilla, zest and lemon juice. Beat until smooth.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to the butter/sugar mixture and mix well.
Turn out on a piece of waxed paper and form the dough into a cylinder about 12 inches long 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap tightly and refrigerate 2 hours, or freeze until ready to use.
Preheat oven to 350. Don't grease the cookie sheets. (I used parchment paper)
Cut 1/4 inch slices with a sharp knife and place about 3 inches apart on the cookie sheet. Place unused dough back into the refrigerator. Bake 7-8 minutes, watching carefully the last couple minutes. They should be lightly golden. Allow to cool slightly on the baking sheet, then remove to racks to finish cooling.


  1. I'm losing my sweet tooth and craving fruity flavors when I do give in... I might have to try these!

  2. I absolutely ADORE that picture of you and your sister! :-) You two are adorable and look like you're having the time of your life. :-)

  3. These cookies look so delicious--almost like slices of lemon! I can't wait to try them.

    Funny that you should mention Marian Cunningham today. I'm just preparing a post for next week featuring her raised waffles that you posted quite awhile ago. I finally got around to purchasing the waffle iron you recommended and made the waffles. They are so good! I'll be giving you a "shout out" and a link to your blog when I do the post.


  4. P.S. Love the photo of you and your sister, skinned knees and all!!


  5. Your aunt and i would have gotten along splendidly.. I go through a bag of lemons every 2 weeks if not less and love the scent and taste in everything. I even make little snacks of quick lemon pudding I love it so. Cookies look amazing for a lemon fiend like me and i must say... love that picture of you Barbara.. I must have one like that around somewhere with me and my pale hair and too-short bangs...oh boy. You guys look so happy!

  6. Your aunt and i would have gotten along splendidly.. I go through a bag of lemons every 2 weeks if not less and love the scent and taste in everything. I even make little snacks of quick lemon pudding I love it so. Cookies look amazing for a lemon fiend like me and i must say... love that picture of you Barbara.. I must have one like that around somewhere with me and my pale hair and too-short bangs...oh boy. You guys look so happy!

  7. I just love that photo of you two! Lovely recipe.

  8. as a lemon fancier what a great story, darling pics and TERRIFIC LOOKING COOKIE!

  9. I love this post. I could almost smell the lemon in your Aunt's home. These cookies look wonderful.

  10. What a lovely photo. :)
    And also what beautiful looking cookies. Thanks for sharing the recipe and the notes too.
    have a lovely weekend.

  11. I too love lemon desserts, cakes, biscuits, sweets, drinks.......

    These look lipsmackingly good Barbara!

  12. The photo is adorable and excellent quality despite its age. The cookies are beautiful too!

  13. I love your photo of you and your sis! These cookies sound great!!!

  14. What lovely, lemony cookies! They sound delicious. And that photo of you and your sister is irresistible!

  15. I share your sister's taste for all things lemony, from savory to sweet, I love lemon! These lemon cookies look so enticing elegant and well, lemony, I got to try them asap!!

  16. oh dear - how cute are you two!!! and lemons? yes please - i am crazy about lemon desserts including lemon meringue pie, pound cakes, muffins and a shortbread sandwich cookie that i fill w/lemon curd. these look fabulous!!!

  17. I am soo with Sharon - I love lemon desserts! The Frozen Lemon Mousse from STM is one of my favorite desserts of all time. These cookies look divine - I can't wait to try them! Thanks for the fabulous recipe:)

  18. I adore lemon in desserts and baked goods too! There's something about the sweet and tart together that I can't resist. The cookies look scrumptious Barbara!

  19. Just like you I am very fond of lemony desserts/dishes! It is such a wonderful flavor.

    Great memories. Your sister and you are so pretty!

    Lovely cookies.



  20. Great pic of you and your sister, love the bike :) And lemon anything, those cookies look amazing!

  21. Barbara, you look so cute in that photo! It brings back good memories. I should keep some of my oldie photos post up too. hehe... Oh man, these cookies look so crunchy thin. I am loving the citrus flavour too. Yummm.... Hope you're having a wonderful weekend.
    Blessings, Kristy
    p/s btw, did you throw some mandarin oranges to the river & make a wish on the 17th? It's chap goh mei here. :o)

  22. Lemon is always a favourite of mine Barbara. In fact when asked what kind of cake I would like for my birthday I always ask for lemon meringue pie:D These cookies are amazing!

  23. What a cute photo! You sure looked delighted, even with those skinned knees! With desserts like these back home, I'd be constantly happy too!

  24. I am such a lover of lemony desserts that I'm sure your aunt and I would have gotten along swimmingly. These cookies look so delicious! And if they got your lemon-loving seal of approval then they must be good!

  25. That picture is awesome! How adorable are you two? And those curls! You know that lemon and I are best buddies, so I'll be trying these for sure.

  26. I also love lemon desserts. My favorite! These sound wonderful, I'm keeping it for sure! Thanks!

    I love the picture! Gosh, those are some short skirts! :-)

  27. That picture of you and your sister is just the sweetest, it put a big smile on my face... and so would these lemon cookies if only you gave me one ;)
    *kisses* HH

  28. Your Aunt managed to stay alive in your memory by adapting and sticking to one ingredient that made it her trademark. I am sure that every time you smell lemon you remember her and this made her unforgetable. I love the picture of you and your sister and I loved the cookies!

  29. that picture is SO cute! i love it. i love these cookies too. lemon is quickly becoming one of my favorite flavors in baked goods as well.

  30. I just love lemon in desserts so wonderful and bright! You and your sis both look so cute.

  31. What a sweet photo of you and your sister. :) I love lemon also, and these cookies look wonderful.

  32. hello Barbara
    I love to cook with lemon and in pastry this is top !!!
    and just for you :the weather in Paris : this is mild today !!pierre

  33. I love ur aunt already and am bookmarking that cake too:-)
    Doesnt LorAnn's make lemon flavoring?
    U had me at crisp, thin and buttery?
    And that pic of u, so cuteeeeeeeeeee!
    Every time u write about a book , i want to buy it :-)
    I now realize that its u who choose the best of the best , dont u?

    Am off to read more about ur Aunt Mar on the cake post , oh thats sooo wonderful too!
    Happy sunday dear pal!

  34. Darling photograph of you and your sis!
    I have a vague memory of "Lemon Flavoring" -something on the grocery shelves in the early '70's perhaps...
    Luck for us, we have our microplanes to easily get fresh lemon zest--which imparts intense lemony goodness.

    those cookies look so good!

  35. What a wonderful photo, and thank you for this recipe: I also have a serious relationship with lemon flavoring, and these cookies look so easy that even I can attempt them!

  36. What a sweet photograph, Barbara. I remember those days when little girls wore short dresses and nice shoes to school, never pants.

    My grandmother made a similar lemon dessert with meringues, lemon curd and whipped cream. Oh dear, now you have me thinking about that and I know what comes next...I will have to make it.

  37. Hi Barbara,
    My mom had a thing for lemon everything! She was crazy over lemon pies and anything else lemony she could make. If I told you I don't like anything lemony, can will still be friends????? These cookies however, just maybe could entice me to nibble.

    The picture of you are your darling sister made me smile. I adore those skinned knees of yours!
    sending hugs

  38. Sharon and I would get along great, I love anything and everything lemon. Look at your poor skinned knees Barbara! I think mine looked like for years when I was a kid!

  39. I'm grinning right now because I have no idea what lemon flavoring is. If someone were to ask, I would just assume it was lemon extract without thinking.

    I love that black and white photo of your sister and you. it's such a happy and precious snapshot.

    These cookies look so crumbly and delicate! Perfect for a sunny treat in this cold weather.

  40. Oh my...these will be made by me...they look amazing. My family adores LEMON! I love visiting you...I know I will always find something I just have to bake.

    Hugs for a great new week. xoxo

  41. lovely cookies and i also love lemon you are adorable on the bike :-) love your family posts

  42. I don't know what it is but it seems like the closer we get to the blossoms of spring the more lemony posts I happen upon.

    Oh don't get me wrong Barbara, we are huge lemon lovers in this house. Marion and I literally hide the lemons from each other. (In the fridge of course:)

    Your delicate Lemon Cookies are causing some serious puckering around here, they look simply divine:) And YOU! What a cutie...

    Thanks for sharing...

  43. I can't do lemons! Wish I could...

  44. I am always intrigue by the stories revolving around your family's baking passion. And this post is one of them.

    These paper lemon cookies are truly enticing... maybe I would bake this for next DB challenge :-)

  45. i don't mind a little lemon zest here and there, but lemon flavoring or extract is always a bit much for me. these cookies are awesomely fun though--nice find! and great pics. :)

  46. is it sister week? did I miss something? this is the 4th mention of sisters I've seen today. great pic, btw. and, i would devour every single one of those cookies w/out blinking twice!

  47. I'm a big fan of lemon desserts too. Lemon layer cake or pound cake is a favorite. These cookies look fantastic! I want a few of them with a cup of vanilla ice cream, please.

  48. What an interesting "lemon history" in your family ....Your photo...you look "trop mignonne" (too cute!)

  49. I love the cookies and I love the photo - too cute!

  50. such fun unique cookies! I just saw lemons in the store tonight and thought "now what could I make with those?" i should have bought some and made these!

  51. Hi Barbara,

    What a darling photo of you and your Sister, you are both gorgeous.
    Love the sweet little skinned knees.
    Reminds me of my young days.
    I love lemon, in desserts and even lemon chicken.
    Your biscuits looks delicious and would like to try making them.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Have a happy week

  52. Delicious! I love lemon...yum!

  53. That photo of you and your sister is so precious. Rare to get such a great photo of two gals so well centred with such clarity in those days. It is Life Magazine perfect. What sweethearts you both were. And the lemon stories. I think it was just a lemon era. I remember it well. My dad was crazy over the lemon meringue pies, and the squares and the tarts - and I do recall parfaits, and anything and everything lemon. It was all delicious, too. Then, along came lemon jello - and nothing was ever the same for years.
    A great trip down memory lane, Barbara.

  54. A very close second to chocolate based desserts...lemon and orange are my favourite flavours in desserts.

    Paper thin...they certainly look and thanks for your opinions and tips on how to succeed the 1/4 thick or not ;O)

    The capture of you and sis is poster perfect!!!

    Flavourful wishes,

  55. That is the most DARLING photo! Ah, such cutie patooties. And the dresses! Oh so fabulous!

    Wow! I love lace cookies. Never tried them in lemon before. This one goes in my MUST file! Thanks!

  56. That is THE cutest pic! Totally adorable of you and your sis.
    And I love how thin and fragile those lemon cookies are. Makes them all the more special.

  57. you two girls are absolutely adorable. love your great aunt mar. she sounds like the stuff of local lore and legend. and i can smell the lemon right now.

    my god-daughter is finishing college up this semester. she and 3 roomies have lived in a house they call the lemon house for the past 4 years b/c it is a bright yellow. they will always cherish those memories of college away at cal poly in their lemon house. just like you and that lovely lemon house across the street from your childhood home, barb. great story!



Related Posts with Thumbnails