Giant Lemon Valentine Cookies with Cherry Frosting
A few years ago, I decided that sugar cookies could be as buttery and chewy as chocolate chip cookies. I developed a recipe based off of my favorite chocolate chip cookie formula, substituting classic white sugar for the molasses-y brown, skipping the chocolate, and grating in a lemon’s worth of fresh zest. Today, I’m turning those cookie jar favorites into a Valentine’s Day dessert recipe.
I hadn’t made the recipe in a while when my sister Kate reminded me of it a month or two ago. Her boyfriend brought a batch into his office, where colleagues raved about the very qualities I’d engineered the cookies to have: softness, chewiness, butteriness. Yes.
Of all the characteristics of these sweets, my favorite is their size. Dainty treats have their place elsewhere. These cookies are huge! You only get 20 out of the full batch, a fact that makes these quicker to make, since you’re not shaping spheres forever…
That means lots of crispy edges, lots of chewy center–and lots of surface area for a hot pink frosting made from a handful of cherries (all natural!) that transforms these from cookie jar types into bright, festive cookies perfect for your Valentine and all your sweet friends and family.
- 2 ¼ cups flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 egg
- 8 cherries (I used frozen ones)
- 3 to 4 tablespoons lemon juice, plus more as needed
- 1 cup sifted powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking soda together.
- In a larger bowl, use an electric mixer to cream the butter, sugar and lemon zest until very smooth. Add the egg and continue to beat until fluffy. Pour in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined — you don’t want to overmix.
- Form balls out of the cookie dough 2 inches in diameter and arrange on a cookie sheet 4 inches apart. These really spread!
- Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until just the edges are golden. The tops of the cookies should remain pale. Cool completely on the cookie sheets before removing to a plate.
- While the cookies cool, combine the cherries and the lemon juice in a small pan. Set over medium heat and bring to a boil. Let simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, then remove from the heat. Strain out the cherries. Measure out 2 tablespoons of juice from the pan, squeezing in more lemon juice to make a full 2 tablespoons if needed. Place the powdered sugar in a small bowl, then add the cherry-lemon juice. Mix together until a not-too-thick frosting forms.
- Use a butter knife or offset spatula to spread frosting over each cooled cookie. Let rest at room temp for about an hour, until the frosting hardens. Then store at room temperature - or wrap up in cellophane and ribbon for your valentines.