Recipe Review

Reddit’s Soft Lemon Cookies Are a Welcome Burst of Sunshine

updated Dec 6, 2021
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Credit: Patty Catalano

My cookbook shelf, Pinterest boards, and favorite websites (ahem, this one) are overflowing with cookie ideas to try. But when I scrolled by a sugar-dusted lemon cookie on Reddit, I practically forgot all other cookies existed. The photo was posted by Reddit user Byssine, and depicted a pile of lemon cookies with a bite taken out of one. I could practically taste the sweet, citrusy flavor and soft, melt-in-your mouth texture.

The recipe comes from Emma Fontanella (or Emma’s Goodies), who has a popular YouTube tutorial for the popular treat. Here’s what happened when I gave them a try.

Credit: Patty Catalano

How to Make Emma’s Goodies’ Soft Lemon Cookies

Mix softened butter, sugar, and lemon zest together in a mixing bowl with a spatula until well-combined. Add an egg, a few drops of yellow food coloring if desired, and freshly squeezed lemon juice. (The mixture may curdle at this point, but keep going). Add sifted all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt (I used kosher) to the bowl and stir until no dry spots remain. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.

Use an ice cream scoop to divide the dough into 9 rounds. Place the rounds on a baking sheet and freeze for 30 minutes. Use your hands to roll the dough into smooth, round balls. I lined my baking sheet with parchment paper, then baked at 180°C or 350°F for exactly 13 minutes. Let the cookies cool completely, then coat in powdered sugar.

Note: The measurements for these cookies are given in grams, given that Emma hails from Italy. She also provided equivalent imperial measurements for cooks without a scale.

My Honest Review of Reddit’s Soft Lemon Cookies

Within hours, all that was left of this baked batch of sweets was a trail of powdered sugar. Although they’re gone, I’m still not over the ease and softness of these citrusy lemon cookies. I’m used to hauling out the stand mixer to make big batches of cookies to bake now and freeze for later, so I love that this recipe makes just nine cookies — the perfect amount for a few nights of after-dinner treats. Thanks to their slightly under-baked tops and moist texture throughout, they stay soft for days.

If You’re Making Reddit’s Soft Lemon Cookies, a Few Tips

  1. Make sure your butter is softened. In order to be able to mix the dough by hand, I found the butter needed to be softer than when I use an electric mixer.
  2. Substitute 1 large egg for 1 medium egg. When a recipe calls for 1 to 2 eggs, the difference between medium and large is negligible. If you normally keep large eggs on hand, it’s OK to substitute a large egg for the medium egg called for in this recipe.
  3. Yellow food coloring is optional. Adding a few drops of yellow food coloring gives the cookies an attractive and sunny hue. But since the food coloring is purely for aesthetics, omitting it will not affect the texture or flavor of the cookies.
  4. Don’t skip the chilling steps. After mixing, the dough is too soft for dividing and shaping, so it needs to be refrigerated for 30 minutes. After the cookies are scooped, you’ll then need to freeze them: Cold dough takes longer to heat than room-temperature rounds, so baking from frozen keeps the cookies from spreading too much in the oven.
  5. Double the recipe. If you’re looking for a larger batch, this recipe can easily be doubled. Mix the dough by hand or use an electric mixer with the paddle attachment.

Have you tried these melt-in-your-mouth soft lemon cookies? Let us know in the comments.