Directions 13 steps | 85 Minutes
Allow all cold ingredients to come to room temperature. Line two cookie sheets or shallow sheet pans with parchment paper. Measure and prep all ingredients.
In a large bowl with a hand mixer or a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until it lightens in color.
With the mixer off, add confectioners' sugar, then gradually work up to medium speed and beat until smooth, about 1-2 minutes.
Beat in salt and lemon zest. Scrape the bowl and beater often.
With the mixer on low speed, mix in the flour a large spoonful at a time. Stop and scrape the beater, sides and bottom of the bowl often. Mix until the flour is incorporated and dough just comes together as a cohesive mass.
Shape the dough into a 5-inch disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes, or until the dough is cool but still pliable.
Sprinkle a large, clean surface lightly with confectioners’ sugar. With a rolling pin, roll dough to a little less than a ¼-inch thickness, about 2 centimeters. Roll from the center of the dough and up, then from the center and down one time each before making a quarter-turn with the dough and repeating. Add more confectioners’ sugar as necessary to prevent the dough from sticking.
Cut out 2-inch cookies, dipping your cookie cutter into confectioners’ sugar before each one to allow for easy transfer to the pan. Alternatively, you can also cut out 2-inch square cookies using a knife sprinkled with flour or confectioner’s sugar. Gather the dough into a ball and re-roll it as necessary, being sure to maintain the same thickness for every cookie. Chill the cut-out dough on the pan in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, or the freezer for 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350°F while the dough is chilling.
Bake cookies for 9-11 minutes, until the bottoms are lightly browned. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack and cool completely before glazing.
While cookies bake, make the glaze. In a small bowl, combine lemon juice and egg white, then whisk in confectioners’ sugar.
Add lemon extract and enough yellow food coloring to achieve your desired color, if using. Set glaze aside.
Whisk the glaze to loosen it up and dip the tops or one half of each cookie into the glaze, then return to the rack to allow the glaze to set. The glaze can also be drizzled over the tops of the cookies or piped on using a quick zig-zag motion.
Let the glaze set completely before enjoying.
- Store lightly covered at room temperature. Baked, unglazed cookies, or unbaked dough, can be sealed and frozen for one to two months.
- For a glaze that does not require the pasteurized egg white, whisk ¾ cup of sifted confectioners' sugar into two tablespoons of freshly-squeezed lemon juice. The pasteurized egg white simply gives the set glaze slightly more shine.