Lemon-Scented Sugar Cookies

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A super-cool friend of mine is starting a pop-up community gathering space this summer! She had a Polka Party fundraiser (yes, it was as awesome as it sounds) and so I volunteered to bake something for her to serve at the event.

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I needed something quick and easy, perfect for baking after a full Saturday morning at work.

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This recipe from Cook’s Illustrated is one of my absolute favorites. It is so fast and simple and yields a beautiful cookie, soft and chewy. (See above: Cook’s Illustrated never lies. Further proof: coconut cake.)

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I added two twists: one was lemon zest, fluffed into the granulated sugar to infuse the flavor throughout the whole dough.

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The other was gold sanding sugar.

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What? The cookies needed to be dressed up with a bit of glitz–they were going to a party, after all.

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Lemon-Scented Sugar Cookies
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated/The New Best Recipe
Yields about 1 1/2 to 2 dozen cookies, depending on preferred size

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 sticks butter, softened but still cool
1 cup granulated sugar
Zest from one large, very yellow lemon
1 Tbs brown sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 to 1/2 cup gold sanding (“shimmering”) sugar

Zest lemon directly into the 1 cup granulated sugar. Rub the zest into the sugar with your hands. This infuses the lemon flavor into the sugar and intensifies flavor. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together and set aside.

Cream the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar mixture together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Add dry ingredients, beat again until just incorporated.

Use a tablespoon-size cookie scoop to place cookies on prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart (they’ll spread a little). Press down to 3/4 inch thick with your palm, then sprinkle liberally with gold sanding sugar. (If you don’t have sanding sugar, you can roll the entire scooped ball with regular granulated sugar, THEN press to 2/4 inch thickness.)

Bake until golden with light brown edges, about 15-18 minutes. Cool and devour.

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