Triple Citrus Sugar Cookies

It’s winter in Dallas finally.  We had some sleet and frozen rain fall from the sky and schools closed for 2 days.  I went to work on the second of the 2 “snow days,” and there was so little traffic that I wish EVERY day was a fake snow day for the rest of the city.  

Before all of this wintry mix, the boy moved to a new apartment this weekend.  It was truly inspiring, since I will also have to move in a few months.  Because he’s a boy, he doesn’t have that much stuff.  And it all just fits into not that many boxes.  Plus, since he was moving in the same city, we didn’t have to do all of that careful packing stuff.  Like, just threw all the stuff in random boxes and put them in a couple suburbans.

Who am I kidding.  A cross-country move would be no more organized for a boy.

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After all of this moving, I made some birthday cookies for my friend Michelle!  I used my favorite sugar cookie recipe from Joy of Cooking.  I’ve been using this recipe for years. The title of the recipe is “Rich Rolled Sugar Cookies,” but I don’t usually use it for rolled and cut-out cookies.  It makes a perfectly soft dough that I like to scoop with a cookie scoop and roll in sprinkles or sparkling sugar.

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They’re excellent on their own with no additions, but this time I decided to add alllllll the citrus zest since it’s the middle of winter and all.  And since it was a birthday, I though some lemon-lime buttercream (legitimately tastes like lime sherbet SO GOOD) piped on top would be especially festive and delicious.

These cookies are so easy!  You have no excuses for not making and consuming them like tomorrow.

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Triple Citrus Sugar Cookies

Makes 18 2-inch cookies

Ingredients
For cookies
1 cup (= 2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but still cool
2/3 cup granulated sugar
zest of 1 lime
zest of 1 orange
zest of 1 lemon
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
2 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

For citrus buttercream
1/2 cup (= 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
zest of 1 lime
pinch of salt
1 lb powdered sugar (about 4 to 4 1/4 cups)
juice of 1 lemon

Directions:
1. Make cookie dough – In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.
2. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sugar and citrus zests (lemon, lime, orange).  Using your fingers, rub the zest into the sugar until fragrant.  Add the 2 sticks of butter and beat on medium-high speed until creamy and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
3. Beat in the egg, then the vanilla, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
4. Add the flour mixture and mix on low until combined.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour.
5. Preheat oven to 350F with a rack in the middle position.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Using a cookie scoop or soup spoon, scoop out portions of dough to form roughly 2-inch balls.  Place on prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart.  Slightly flatten each cookie with the palm of your hand.  (You still want them to be thick!  Just need a flat surface on top for the frosting.)
6. Bake cookies until just dry on top, about 8-10 minutes.  Let cool for a few minutes on the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
7. Make buttercream – While cookies are baking and cooling, make buttercream.  In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the shortening and butter until completely combined and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Beat in the lime zest and pinch of salt.
8. Add the powdered sugar and beat on low speed until powdered sugar is moistened.  Increase speed to medium-high to fully incorporate powdered sugar.  Add lemon juice and beat on high speed until smooth and fluffy.  If the frosting is too thick, add more lemon juice or a little milk.  You want the frosting to be fluffy and spreadable!
9. Frost cookies are desired.  Frosted cookies will keep at room temperature for 2 days.  Unfrosted cookies will keep in an airtight container for 5 days.  Frosting can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Recipe for cookies adapted from Joy of Cooking.

Thanks for reading, happy baking!

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