Baking is among my favorite hobbies, but that’s not to say that I do it often or even especially well. Nevertheless, I know an awesome recipe when I find one. And if it tastes delicious with relatively little effort involved, all the better.
Because we’re all friends here, I’ve decided to share my latest discovery: the single best, easiest lemon cookies you’ll ever eat. And they start with a boxed cake mix.
Lemon Crinkle Cookies a la Cake Mix
- 1 box lemon cake mix
- 2 Tbsp. flour
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup oil
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- Pinch of salt
- Dash of lemon juice
- Powdered sugar, at least 1 cup to be on the safe side
Preheat oven to 350 and prepare a baking sheet.
Mix all ingredients until combined, except powdered sugar; I used my trusty stand mixer, but you could probably do this by hand if necessary. The dough will essentially be one big, greasy-looking blob. Don’t let that deter you.
Scoop out batter by tablespoon (or smaller depending on desired size). Roll each dough ball in powdered sugar and place on baking sheet.
Bake 8-10 minutes until edges are set. I found that trying to lift up the edge of a cookie right around the 8-minute mark helped me gauge how much longer to leave them in. It’s not a science, I assure you. In fact, I really don’t think you can do these wrong unless you forget to take them out altogether. My general rule of thumb is to check early and check often to ensure they’re nice and chewy.
Dust with more powdered sugar after you take them out of the oven. Leave on baking sheet for a few minutes then move to cookie rack to cool.
Let me tell you, these are divine! If I still had the metabolism of 17-yr-old me, I’d make these suckers at least once a week. They’re sweet and lemon-y without being overpowering on either count, and the texture is chewy but also silky.
I’d imagine you could manipulate this recipe for any flavor of cake mix. I intend to try strawberry or confetti cake soon (minus the salt and lemon juice, of course).
Small investment, big return…what’s not to like?!
I scored this recipe from a friend at work, so my apologies for not crediting the source. Regardless, I have a new favorite sugar cookie and want to share these gems with you.
The cookies are soft and chewy, the frosting squishy and delishy…a perfect springtime treat!
Deluxe Sugar Cookies
1 cup butter (softened)
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
Thoroughly mix butter, powdered sugar, egg, vanilla, and almond extract. Blend in flour, soda, and cream of tartar. Cover; chill 2 to 3 hours.
Heat oven to 375.
Divide dough in half. Roll out on lightly floured area. Cut into desired shapes. Place on lightly greased baking sheet. Bake 6 minutes or until light brown on edge.
Cream Cheese Frosting
4 ounces cream cheese (softened)
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Dash of almond extract
2 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
Blend cheese, milk, vanilla, and salt. Gradually add sugar, beating until frosting is smooth and of spreading consistency. If necessary, stir in additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time.
Learn from my mistakes:
• Be sure you don’t accidentally use an entire package of cream cheese, otherwise you’ll have a runny mess that will require exponentially more powdered sugar and salt, vanilla and almond extract. Trust me.
• I recommend using a smaller cookie cutter. I used the giant ducky one and only got about 13 cookies out of the whole batch. Plus, the cookies grow quite a bit so a big cutter yields humongous cookies.
Well, I gave in to my desire to do some baking this weekend. Which basically just means I’ll have to spend some extra time in elliptical purgatory.
Should you desire a similar fate, here’s my favorite recipe for roll-out cookies.
- Cream the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at time, mixing well after each addition.
- In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Gradually add to the creamed mixture.
- Cover and chill dough overnight.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Roll out dough on a floured surface to 1/8″-1/4″ thick, and cut out as desired. Place cookies onto the prepared baking sheets.
- Bake at 375 degrees F for 5 to 8 minutes or until cookie is golden brown.
1 tablespoon cream cheese, room temperature3 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract (optional)
- Whisk cream cheese and 2 tbs of milk in a medium bowl until smooth. Incorporate vanilla or almond extract if desired.
- Whisk in the powdered sugar until it is again smooth, adding the remaining milk until glaze reaches desired consistency.
- Drizzle or spread on cooled cookie.
This dough is remarkably easy to work with and produces consistent results with a tender crumb. Need to make it a few days ahead of time? No problem, just keep it wrapped tightly in plastic wrap in the fridge.
As with any roll-out dough, be sure to use plenty of flour on your work surface, the rolling pin and cookie cutter edges. I re-formed the scraps and rolled out the dough no fewer than three times.
Depending on intricacy of the cut-out design and the reliability of your oven temperature, I suggest checking on them at five minutes…unless you like crisp edges. I’m also a strong advocate for baking your cookies (any recipe) on a sheet lined with parchment paper. It may seem like a petty extra step, but it will save you cleanup time and give the cookie-bottoms a nice, consistent color. Plus, no messy cooking spray!
I put coarse sugar on some and a simple glaze on others (no glaze pictured). Easy and delishy.
Do yourself a solid and bake a couple dozen of these babies. I guarantee you will be amazed at the ease of the process and delighted with the result. But if you’re not, don’t blame me.
Baking is a form of therapy for me; I like to bake during my alone times, whether I’m cheery or crabby, feeling nostalgic or frustrated. When you mind the details and all of the science-y reactions happen according to plan, it’s pure magic.
Unfortunately, it’s not always the proverbial meringue and rainbow sprinkles. One failed recipe and you can find yourself on the baking blacklist—suddenly, people pass or take treats merely out of obligation. I want to help ensure you don’t end up as the person who brings home leftovers or sees your hard work in the trashcan <sniff>.
A recipe that works (thanks, Pinterest):
Sugar Cookie Bars (from A Little Bit Crunchy A Little Bit Rock and Roll)
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
5 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Meanwhile, mix the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. Add the vanilla to the creamed mixture and then slowly add the dry ingredients.
Press into a greased 13 x 18 inch pan and bake at 375F for 10-15 minutes.
Cool and frost.
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
4 cups powdered sugar
5 tablespoons of milk
food coloring (optional)
In a mixing bowl, beat the shortening and butter until creamy. Add the vanilla and powdered sugar. Gradually add the 5 tablespoons of milk until you reach your desired constancy.
Warning: Only make these if you have a crowd to feed. Otherwise, you will be tempted to eat the entire pan by yourself. I find the innermost squares most dangerous, as they’re ever-so-slightly underdone. Mmmmmmm. Also, rotate your pan halfway through to brown the edges as uniformly as possible. Delicious!
This isn’t an official Cookie Corner post—it’s just a bonus.
Not long ago, I tried a recipe for delectable Almond Sugar Cookies (refresh your memory here) and surmised that I might be able to modify it to make snickerdoodles. Well, friends, I did just that.
Simply follow the recipe with two tiny changes.
1. Swap out almond extract for vanilla extract; no conversion needed, just a clean switch. The dough tastes almost like white wedding cake when there’s vanilla instead of almond flavoring…and I won’t argue with anything that tastes like wedding cake!
2. Add cinnamon to the raw sugar that you roll the dough in before baking. Actually, I probably should’ve used more cinnamon.
The only challenge is eating them in moderation!