Citrus Sugar Cookies

Citrus Sugar Cookies
40 3-inch cookies

Mix colored sugars (or use leftover sugar from your work surface) to create new shades for these holiday treats.


  • 4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for working

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • ¾ teaspoon coarse salt

  • 1 ¼ cups (2 ½ sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces

  • ¾ cup sugar, plus more for decorating (optional)

  • 1 large egg plus 1 large egg white, lightly beaten

  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

  • Royal Icing for Citrus Sugar Cookies, and desired decorations, such as colored sugars


  1. In a food processor, combine flour, baking powder, and salt; pulse to mix. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add sugar, eggs, and lemon zest and process until mixture resembles wet sand.

  2. Turn mixture out onto a lightly floured surface; knead several times until dough comes together. Divide into 3 portions; flatten each into a disk. Roll each disk to an 1/8-inch thickness between sheets of parchment. Stack dough (still in parchment) on a baking sheet; refrigerate 20 minutes. (To store, wrap in plastic and freeze on sheet, up to 2 weeks. Thaw until pliable before using.)

  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees, with racks in middle and lower thirds. Working with 1 dough sheet at a time, peel off parchment (save for baking). With lightly floured cutters, cut dough into desired shapes and arrange, 1 inch apart, on 2 parchment-lined rimmed baking sheets (reroll scraps, if desired). Sprinkle with sugar, if desired. Refrigerate 15 minutes.

  4. Bake until cookies are set but still pale, 7 to 9 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Transfer cookies to wire racks and let cool completely. Using a spoon, frost cookies with icing; decorate with sugar, if desired.

Cook's Notes

You can sprinkle the cookies with sugar before baking or decorate with icing and sugar after baking. To make ornaments, poke holes with a straw before baking. To store, cover and keep at room temperature, up to 4 days.

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