Simplest Ever Cookie Recipe
When I spied this cute little set of Meri Meri Easter cookie cutters on the Party Pieces website, I could not resist!
Follow my recipe for these very simple and yummy buttery lemon cookies. Left plain or iced – it is up to you but either way they make a great alternative to all those chocolate Easter eggs! Packed into a little box, basket or gift bag, a few of these make a very special edible Easter gift or addition to the tea table.
Use your imagination; why not bake a bunch of tulip cookies or stick on tiny sweets to decorate, Just let your imagination go – and, of course, it is a great way to get the kids involved in the kitchen for an hour or so.
Buttery Lemon Cookies
Makes approximately 40
Note – use any cutter you have to hand, but the number of cookies and baking times will vary as a result. My cutters are around 5-8cm each.
For the cookies
250g unsalted butter, softened
100g golden caster sugar
300g plain flour, sifted, plus more to dust
Pinch of fine salt
70g ground almonds
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
For the Icing
1kg icing sugar or fondant sugar, sifted, plus more if needed
10-12 tbsp lemon juice or cold water
Food colour gels or pastes – I used yellow, pink and blue
Disposable piping bags
Line two baking trays with baking parchment. Put the butter and sugar into a food mixer (or use a large bowl and a hand-held electric whisk). Cream until fluffy, then add the flour, salt, ground almonds and zest. Wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes, as this will make it easier to roll out. Preheat the oven to 180°C/ fan 160°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
On a lightly floured work top, roll out the dough to about 4mm thick. Cut the dough into shapes and place onto baking trays, re-rolling until all the dough is used. At this point, you can freeze the cut-out biscuits but be sure to thoroughly defrost before baking. Bake in the preheated oven for about 15-18 minutes, cool for a few minutes on the tray then remove to wire racks to cool completely. You can bake the biscuits up to a week ahead and store in an airtight container.
To make the icing, put the sifted icing sugar in a bowl. Slowly stir in the lemon juice or water a spoonful at a time until you have a fairly stiff paste that you can pipe with. If needed, the icing can be thickened with more icing sugar or thinned out with water.
Fill a disposable piping bag with a few tablespoons of this white icing, snip off the end and pipe a line all around the edges of your cookies. Leave to dry meanwhile you make your coloured icings.
TIP – always cover your bowls of icing with cling film as it dries out quickly!
Take 3 more little bowls and divide the remaining icing – leaving a quarter in the original mixing bowl. Colour one with a pink, another yellow and another blue and add a little extra water, a few drops at a time, until it is slightly runnier – like pouring cream. Place into 4 disposable piping bags and snip off the ends. Pipe over the cookies, and if necessary, gently spread the icing to the outline using a small, blunt knife or the end of a teaspoon. Leave until the icing has just set (about 15 minutes) and pipe simple details. Leave to set for a couple of hours, at least, before serving.
Note – Once iced, the cookies will soften after a couple of days.