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Christine's Lemon Wreath Cookies

Of all the cookies that grace Christine Albano's table at Christmas, the lemon ring-shaped ones -- ciambelle, in Italian -- are the most popular. Balance is key: Lemon zest is added to the buttery base, and lemon juice enlivens the nonpareil-flecked glaze. "We serve a big pile, and they're gone by the end of the meal."

  • Yield: Makes 6 dozen
Christine's Lemon Wreath Cookies

Source: Martha Stewart Living, December 2009


For the Cookies

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

For the Glaze

  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 7 to 8 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 4 lemons)
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons white nonpareils, for sprinkling


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the cookies: Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Pulse sugar and zest in a food processor until combined, about 2 minutes.

  2. Beat sugar-zest mixture and butter in a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and lemon juice. Reduce speed to low. Gradually add flour mixture, and beat until combined.

  3. Scoop 1 tablespoon dough (or use a 11/8-inch ice cream scoop), and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Roll dough into a 4-inch rope. Bring ends together, overlapping slightly, and press together to form a ring. Repeat with remaining dough. Transfer rings to parchment-lined baking sheets, about 1 1/2 inches apart, as you work. Bake until pale golden on the bottoms and around the edges, about 18 minutes. Transfer to wire racks, and let cool.

  4. Make the glaze: Whisk together confectioners' sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl until smooth. Dip the top side of each cookie into glaze, letting excess drip off. Return cookies to wire racks, glaze side up, and sprinkle with nonpareils. Let dry completely.

Cook's Note

Decorated cookies can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Reviews (16)

  • Victoria M 25 Oct, 2013

    A really great combination. I think the cookie is meant to bit bland as is, because it pairs perfectly with the sweet but tart glaze. I will definitely be making these again this Christmas!

  • MKHunt 19 Dec, 2011

    I made these last year and they were incredible. Soft and lemony. Perfect and so pretty in a cellophane bag with white satin ribbon. I am making them again tonight!

  • Ducksgrl 16 Dec, 2011

    I was looking forward to making these. A bit time consuming, and was sooo disappointed when it came out. It was super dry and not very lemony. I even added extra lemon zest and lemon juice. :( horrible. I don't even think the icing would have saved it. I threw it all away. Save your time and find another recipe. Such cute cookies. but yuck.

  • samanthalenore 23 Jan, 2011

    These were great! After reading the comments, I decided to add an extra 1/2 tsp. of lemon juice to the batter, and it really gave a great lemony flavor. With the glaze, this is a very pretty, tasty cookie. Not terribly sweet, so a great grown-up cookie.

  • msabelka 23 Jan, 2011

    These cookies were the hit of my Christmas basket this year. I've received several requests for more. Making another batch this weekend. :)

  • kraftyczap 18 Jan, 2011

    Made these this weekend. They were super cute looking, but the flavor was just ok for me.

  • Galey 26 Dec, 2010

    This looks like a cookie my family would love but I.m lazy and wonder if I can just roll in a ball and flatten somewhat and bake like that, It would be less work. Has anyone tried this, Love to know Thanks

  • 1Toffy 26 Dec, 2010

    2 sticks of butter is a 1/2 lb. or 8 oz. As 16 ounces is a pound. In the USA one stick of butter is 1/4 lb. This recipe calls for 2 sticks equaling one-half pound.

  • Leopardess 22 Dec, 2010

    Lol, sorry! That should've said package NOT. Pig! Not used to using a stylus to type in hunt

  • Leopardess 22 Dec, 2010

    MNice, 2sticks ARE 8oz! All 4 sticks are one pound ( the whole pig of butter) .

  • MNice 22 Dec, 2010

    Does anyone know how much butter is right? 8 oz or 2 sticks (which is 16 oz.)? Please advise, thanks!

  • Roswlkr 17 Dec, 2010

    Someone made these cookies for our cookie swap and they were amazing! I just added this recipe to my collection. I will definitely make these for Christmas this year!

  • gwinky 7 Mar, 2010

    If you want an explosion of lemony taste for your cookies - crank up the lemon rind, a tad more lemon juilce and perhaps also a bit of lemon extract. Careful with the liquid ingredients - this is more of a shortbread cookie and too much liquid ingredients can alter the consistency.

  • BelleK 12 Jan, 2010

    I made these cookies and they were lovely with a cup or tea. I also did not add that much lemon juice to the glaze so that each cookie had a rich top.

  • kellylou 26 Dec, 2009

    Made these and the cookie itself was pretty tasteless. With the glaze they were just ok.

  • MaryOK 22 Dec, 2009

    Are the amounts for the glaze correct? We made these cookies last night, and the glaze was more like a frosting. We had to add a bit of water to thin it out. I think 3 c confectioner's sugar is too much....

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