Create 3 colorful Easter cookies from one recipe!
What's better than making one cookie recipe and decorating them in three different ways for more brightly colored offerings at Easter? And, this recipe, I’m told, is very close to being a Panera Bread copycat Lemon Drop Cookie.
I’ve taken an old chocolate chip cookie recipe and subbed white granulated sugar for the brown sugar to develop a more of a blondie cookie. The higher quality white chips replace the standby chocolate chips. And, a delightful tartness is added all throughout with lemon zest and fresh lemon juice – yes, that sounds like the Panera Bread Lemon Drop Cookie.
The differences in my three different cookies are created through one frosting, split into three bowls for three different flavors and colors. It’s easy and fun to make a bright colorful plate of pink, golden yellow and lavender
blue frosted cookies for Easter or any other special spring event. They all have the base of the lemon cookie, with complementary (and complimentary) spring flavors of lemon, strawberry and blueberry garnished with special treats on top of each. So, make one cookie base of lemon cookie dough and create a delicious plate with three different flavored frostings, all from one frosting recipe.
These lemon cookies serve as a flavor base that goes well with blueberries and strawberries. The lemon actually enhances the other flavors. Challenge yourself by experimenting with other flavors, almond, orange, kiwi, rhubarb, blackberry, cranberries, etc.
This recipe makes 3-4 dozen cookies.
Preheat your oven to 350F degrees.
Prep your pan:
Line 3-4 of your cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Gather your Ingredients:
3 C Flour
1 t Baking soda
¾ t Salt
1 C Butter, soft
2 T Lemon juice, fresh
2 t Lemon zest, freshly grated
1 t Vanilla extract
1 1/2 C White chips, top quality
¼ C Powdered sugar (for dusting)
Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:
(If you have your own favorite frosting, go ahead and use that, as long as it firms up after frosting the cookies.)
8 oz Cream Cheese, room temperature
3 oz Marshmallow fluff
3-4 C Powdered sugar
1-2 T Blueberry jam or jelly
1-2 T Strawberry jam or jelly
1-2 Lemon curd
Lemon slice candies or jelly beans
3 Quart size sealable plastic bags
Stir up the Lemon Cookies:
- Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- Cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
- Beat in the eggs until combined.
- Add half of the flour mixture into the butter and sugar mixture. Beat at medium speed until combined. (Adding some of the flour at this point will keep the lemon juice from curdling the butter and sugar combo.)
- Add the fresh lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla extract. Beat in at medium speed until combined. (If you feel you want a stronger lemon flavor, add more zest. Make sure you only get the zest, not the white pith under the yellow skin. The zest has the best lemon flavor while the pith can add a very bitter flavor to foods.)
- Blend in the rest of the flour mixture with a spatula. Don’t overmix.
- Stir in the white chips until combined. Don’t overmix.
- Scoop balls of dough onto the parchment paper lined cookie baking sheets. I use my 2 tablespoon scoop to make them all consistent in size. If you make them larger, you’ll want to adjust the baking time.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes, until edges are just a light golden brown. I check the cookies at the 8-minute mark and rotate the pans 180 degrees in my oven so they bake evenly. (I only bake one pan at a time in each of my ovens. If you bake two pans at a time in one oven, you’ll want to rotate them up and down so they bake evenly.)
- Cool for 2-3 minutes on the pan.
- Take off the pan and set on cooling racks for 15 minutes.
- Dust with powdered sugar.
Make the Cream Cheese Frosting:
- Whip the cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth.
- Add the marshmallow crème and beat until combined.
- Sift and add the powdered sugar in 1 cup amounts and beat until well combined. You may not need all the powdered sugar.
- Split the frosting evenly into 3 different smaller bowls.
- Add the blueberry jam to one, strawberry to another and lemon curd to the third. Add 1 tablespoon of each flavor at a time, to get the consistency and flavor you like. If you want more color and flavor, add more jam or curd.
NOTE: When choosing your jam or jelly, pay attention to the bits of fruit that may be in the sugary treat. The smaller the bits or in the absence of bits, the easier it will be to pipe the frostings onto the cookies.
- With the three sealable zipper bags, cut a small hole in one corner of each. Make the cut smaller than you think you will need for piping the frosting.
- Put a different frosting flavor into each of the three sealable zipper bags.
- You will be piping a continuous circle of frosting, beginning in the middle of a cookie, going around and around until you have the cookie almost covered from center to the edge. - But, first make a test of how large the piping band will be. If you want the ridges to be a little larger, cut the hole just a bit larger.
- When you have the desired size hole, go ahead and pipe the frosting onto all the cookies. (If you don't like to pipe frosting, just frost them with a small offset spatula.)
- For the crowning touch, top each flavor frosted cookie with the matching berry or candy.
NOTE: Make sure the berries are clean. If you rinse the blueberries, make sure they are completely dried by rubbing them gently in a paper or kitchen towel. I don’t top the strawberries anymore, just rinse and dry them completely. I had cut the tops off but they leaked juice onto the cookies. They are just fine to eat, but might not be as pleasing to look at with juice pooling on the cookies.
These are very tasty and colorful cookies. The blueberry, strawberry and lemon colors are a beautiful combination of flavors and colors. Enjoy making and sharing them to “Bake your own Memories!”