Lemon-Cardamon Sugar Cookies

This is an updated version of a recipe I published 3 years ago. This version reflects the adjustments I've made since then. I feel like I've perfected this one. If you try this recipe, let me know what you did and how it turned out in the comments!

Lemon-Cardamon Sugar Cookies, cooled and ready for consumption

The trick of using a frozen lemon and zesting the whole thing is something I picked up from my husband. He came across it, as he says, "on the computer." As you grind down the lemon toward the center, be sure to pick out the seeds with a fork.
Half of a frozen lemon, zested for Lemon-Cardamon Sugar Cookies

Yield: 60 (5 dozen) cookies


  • 1 ¼ cups (2 ½ sticks) butter, softened to room temperature
  • ½ frozen lemon, zested
  • 2-1/2 cups (10 oz) all-purpose flour, sifted. I like using white whole wheat flower for a recipe like this that has more delicate flavorings.
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt (optional)


  1. Let the butter soften to room temperature.
  2. Zest the frozen lemon (pick out seeds, as needed) into a small bowl and set aside to thaw.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  4. Sift the flour and set aside.
  5. Cream the butter until smooth.
  6. Cream the butter and sugar together at high speed until light and fluffy.
    Creaming the butter and sugar, Lemon-Cardamon Sugar Cookies
  7. Add the zested lemon, extracts, and spices. Add salt to taste, if desired.
  8. Add the baking powder and baking soda and blend well.
    Batter, before adding dough, Lemon-Cardamon Sugar Cookies
  9. Add the sifted flour and mix until just blended together and no flecks remain.
    FInished Dough, Lemon-Cardamon Sugar Cookies
  10. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
  11. Prepare baking sheets with parchment paper.
  12. Scoop tablespoons of the chilled dough, roll lightly in sugar, and place on the parchment. Leave space between them; they will roughly double in diameter.
    A baker's dozen of scooped dough, ready for the oven, Lemon-Cardamon Sugar Cookies
  13. Bake for 10 minutes until just brown on the edges. Your sense of smell is the best guide; remove them when you can just smell the sugar caramelizing. The edges should be just starting to darken. This will give you a crisp edge and chewy center.
    Lemon-Cardamon Sugar Cookies, fresh out of the oven
  14. Remove the baking sheet to a cooling rack, and let the cookies cool and set up on the sheet.

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The original recipe by Lauren Zietsman, published on her blog "A Full Measure of Happiness," is no longer available on the Web.

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