Lemon Gooey Butter Cookies
2¼ cups (270 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons (8 g) baking powder
1 (8 oz or 226 g) package cream cheese, softened
½ cup (1 stick or 113 g) unsalted butter, softened
1½ cups (300 g) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons (12 g) freshly grated lemon zest, from 2 large lemons
1½ tablespoons (22.5 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
⅛ teaspoon (a few drops) lemon oil
⅛ teaspoon natural yellow gel based food coloring
1 teaspoon (4.8 g) fine-grain sea salt, or ¾ teaspoon (4.5 g) regular table salt
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk (mine weighed 71 g w/o shells)
1 cup (120 g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted, for rolling & dusting cookies
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder until well blended. Set aside.
Using an electric stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, or handheld electric mixer, cream together cream cheese and butter until well blended, creamy and smooth. Beat in sugar, lemon zest and juice, vanilla, lemon oil, food coloring and salt; mix until well combined, light and fluffy, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula when necessary. Add egg and egg yolk and beat in well until creamy and light, about 1 to 2 minutes on medium speed.
On low speed, gradually add flour mixture and mix until just fully incorporated. Dough will be very sticky. Cover work bowl and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
Meanwhile, arrange oven rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 325ºF (165ºC). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Place confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl; set aside.
Measure enough dough to roll into generous 1-inch (2.5 cm) balls, using a 1 1/3-inch (3.3 cm) spring-loaded cookie scoop (or by measuring a generous tablespoon of dough with a measuring spoon) making sure each scoopful is in equal amounts. This is important for evenly baked cookies.
Roll dough between palms of hands to achieve a small rounded ball and then roll in confectioners’ sugar to lightly coat. Place dough balls on prepared baking sheets at least 2 inches (5 cm) apart.
Bake in preheated oven until cookies have spread into round cookie shapes and are puffed and crackly, about 14 minutes. Do not over bake. The cookies will still be soft in the centers. If they start to brown around the edges, they have baked too long. The underside of the cookies should be only very lightly browned.
Transfer baking sheet to wire rack and allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for at least 10 minutes. Then, carefully remove cookies from baking sheet using a thin metal cookie spatula and transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Once completely cooled, transfer cookies to an airtight container. Repeat with remaining dough on prepared cookie sheets.
If desired, chill the cookies in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Before serving, dust cookies with additional confectioners’ sugar. Serve cookies chilled or at room temperature.
Yield: Makes about 2½ dozen cookies.
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