Friday, April 22, 2011

Lemon Cookies for Easter

What's more springlike than lemon cookies? Light, fluffy, delicious, and they look so pretty on the table!

I was planning to post a simple lemon cookie recipe here, but... if you've been reading this blog for very long, you know I like to experiment. So I did.

Let me give you the end of this story first:

I decided to look online for a different lemon cookie recipe because I'd heard about one that's been around for years using cake mix and Cool Whip. A quick scan on the Internet and I'd found at least a dozen posts claiming that these cookies were the best lemon cookies ever.

Umm.... not so much.

Let me take you through the process:

I made two batches of cookies. One with my original recipe, one with the Cool Whip version. Maybe it was me. Maybe I made some huge mistake. Maybe I didn't let them cook long enough. Whatever the problem, the Cool Whip recipe did not work for me.

Here's the recipe to follow (color commentary appears below):

Original Lemon Cookie recipe

1 package of lemon cake mix

1 tsp lemon extract

2 eggs

1/3 cup vegetable oil

Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Pour cake mix into large bowl. Add oil. Beat eggs slightly and add lemon extract before adding eggs to bowl. Mix thoroughly.

Roll dough into quarter-sized balls and then roll these in powdered sugar. Place on parchment paper.

Bake for 8 – 9 minutes, but remove from oven before they turn brown.

And here's the link to a printable version of the original lemon cookie recipe.

The Cool Whip recipe sounded deceptively simple. And you know what they say about "if it sounds too good to be true..." right?

Here's what the batter looked like --->

There was no way to form this glop into little balls, so I wound up using the two-teaspoon method of dropping batter into powdered sugar.

But wait, it gets worse!

Among the many helpful hints I found online was one that suggested rolling the balls (ha! blobs is more like it) into Kool-Aid. Not straight Kool-Aid (and Wyler's), but mixed with powdered sugar. Several people claimed it not only made the cookies pretty (ooh all the different colors) but added a little zing of flavor.

A zing?
You know me. I like to play with my food. This option was a no-brainer (as it turned out, in more ways than one)
<--- I came up with these options.

Oh the joy. I couldn't wait to sample the promised delicious, light, and airy lemon cookies with a hint of black cherry, blue berry, and extra lemon...

Ummm.... remember when I said "not so much"?

These look pretty, but yikes. They were *bad* - like bad, bad. Gooey and flat. The consistency of chewing gum rather than cookies. I'm sure I did something wrong. And those extra flavors? That promised zing? More like a ZOING!!!! I thought my husband's mouth would pucker permanently after he sampled the first one.

For the record, the original recipe cookies came out fine. Fluffy. Crisp outside, soft inside. I tried the flavor/color option with these as well. Not so bad. Probably because there's more cookie substance to cut the zing. But in the future I'll stick with the original recipe, thank you very much.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

The next time I see you, I may not be here. I'm leaving the family to their own cooking for a few days while I attend Malice Domestic (where 3 of our contributers here at Mystery Lovers' Kitchen are up for an Agatha Award! Go Avery, MJ, and Sheila!) and participate in the Festival of Mystery in Oakmont, PA. If you're anywhere near the festival I hope you stop by to say hello to Avery, MJ, Sheila, Wendy, and me! (Did I forget anyone??)

Best always
Don't forget, GRACE INTERRUPTED comes out June 7th!


  1. Your link to the original lemon cookie recipe didn't work for me. It said I didn't have permission to view it? Don't know if I have to sign into to something or if it's a bad link but I'd be interested in seeing the recipe. I love anything lemon!

  2. Thanks for letting me know, TNelson. I think it's fixed now!

  3. LOL on the *great* recipe that wasn't! I'm a fan of cake-mix starters in recipes. Such time-savers, and you can always doctor the mixes with other ingredients, so I'm very glad to hear your tried-and-true "Original" Lemon Cookie recipe got the thumbs up. Fun post and a recipe I'll be trying soon, too. TGIF. :)

    Happy Easter! Happy Spring! Happy Earth Day!
    ~ Cleo
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  4. Julie, my experience with on-line recipes has been that the ones I see over and over again are usually, well, not that great. I suspect some of the recipe sites just copy and paste them on their sites, so it looks like lots of people like the recipes.

    I was laughing with you this morning. I love reading about your experiments. Who would have thought of rolling dough in Kool-Aid!

    ~ Krista

  5. Loved reading this, Julie! Sometimes I feel like a mad scientist in a lab with some of the recipes I try out. Kool-Aid globs? Ha! Good for you for trying new things, though.

  6. Thanks everyone. The worst part (I refuse to post the pictures) came later in the day when all the sticky cookies stuck together. I was going to throw them out at that point anyway, but before doing so, I rolled them all into one big ball and tried to entice my family to take a bite. Nobody was game, so I did it. Ooh... bad! But fun. And that's what it's all about.

    Thanks for the reminder Cleo. Happy Earth Day!

  7. Julie, your experiments crack me up. I love the zing that became zoing! Too funny! I adore lemon cookies, so I might do some experimenting of my own (gluten-free).

    Hugs and can't wait to see you at Malice and Oakmont. Thanks for the mention.


  8. Julie, as always your mad scientist experiments are hilarious, and much appreciated. I adore lemon cookies, but certainly won't be trying the ones made with Cool Whip, thanks to you.

    I am, however, (Kool-Aid) green with envy about Malice, and hope to attend one day. Y'all have a great time, and congrats to the nominees!

  9. Thanks, Avery! Looking forward to seeing you!

    Lynn - thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed my wacky adventure with these cookies. Hope to see you at Malice next year!

  10. I love this post!

    It reminds me of a funny story about my grandma. A bad adenoid removal left her without a sense of smell, but she was usually a fantastic cook ... thanks to fantastic recipes and (generally) uncanny instincts. But she read somewhere that if you wanted to serve Jell-O as a salad, you should add a few Tbs. of white vinegar. Holy cow ... do not try this at home! It was VILE. And, bless her heart, she had no idea how bad it was ...

  11. Oh - and looking forward to seeing some of you at Malice and in Oakmont. :)

  12. The blog is very good!

  13. Wendy, you cracked me up. How funny! I bet she was a hoot!

    Show of hands... how many here think "Nelson" is spam?

  14. Perhaps it is my lack of sugar and all things yummy (I'm feeling sorry for myself on WW tonight) or just the imagined visual but you made me chuckle heartily, Julie!!! After yet another gray ugly day here in Mittenland I so needed a hearty chuckle...thanks, merci, garcia, danke schoen, domo arigato, Mr. Roboto...

  15. LOL, your many thanks made me chuckle, Nancy. Now I'm going to have that Mr. Roboto song in my head all day! LOL