These cookies are my childhood made better. A few months ago I wrote about the lemon-scented sugar cookies that I ate as a child and my quest to recreate them. I first tried these lemon, olive oil, thyme and black pepper sugar cookies knowing that they wouldn’t fulfill my nostalgic cravings but hoping that they would become the new lemon cookie in my life. They were excellent, but just not quite it. Then miraculously the cookies were swept out of my mind until a couple of weeks ago when I found this recipe and knew I had to have these cookies ASAP.
Let me tell you, they were exactly what I wanted. They were just enough like those that I had growing up in texture and in lemony goodness, but they were better. Made better by the addition of vanilla bean. Real lemon zest. Sea salt! The best thing about these cookies was that they were a little too salty for Jé, and just right for me. Which means I got to hog them all to myself without feeling too guilty about it. They were both crispy and melt-in-your-mouth soft (but went a bit dry after about three or four days, so eat them up quick!). They were sweet and salty (rolled in cane sugar and vanilla bean-infused fleur de sel… Are you drooling yet?) and fabulous. This is the new lemon sugar cookie, folks.
Lemon sugar cookies with vanilla bean and sea salt
Adapted slightly from A Cozy Kitchen’s salty vanilla bean sugar cookies
1/2 C sugar
1 whole vanilla bean
1/2 C vegetable oil
1/2 C butter
1/2 C powdered sugar
1 T lemon juice
1 1/2 t lemon zest
2 C flour
1/4 t baking soda
3/4 t baking powder
3/4 t sea salt
1/2 C cane sugar
1 t sea salt (preferably fleur de sel infused with vanilla bean)
Mix the sugar and vanilla bean in a small bowl until combined. In a separate bowl, beat the oil and butter together until smooth and whipped. Add the powdered sugar as well as the sugar and vanilla mixture, combine well. Next you’ll add the egg, beating until the mixture is smooth. Finally, stir in the lemon juice and zest before sifting in your dry ingredients: flour, baking soda and powder and salt. Stir to combine (don’t overmix!) and then refrigerate for a couple of hours before baking (the dough is rather light and sticky; this will help you shape the balls of dough later).
When you’re ready, preheat your oven to 350°. Gently mix the cane sugar and sea salt in a small bowl. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll the dough into small balls and coat all around with the sugar/salt mixture. Place them on the baking sheet and flatten just slightly. Bake for 10-13 minutes. These will harden up a lot when you take them out of the oven.