This time of year calls for lemon. Not only is citrus in season, lemons have a way of bringing a little sunshine to these late winter days and letting our tastebuds know that spring is just around the corner.
Buttery and bursting with lemon flavor, these cheerful Nordic Lemon Wafers are the perfect fika treat to brighten any afternoon. I love a good lemon treat now and then (especially as February gives way to March) and thought it was time to include one here on the blog. I wasn't sure if they were particularly Nordic, but I found a recipe for Lemon Wafers in Beatrice Ojakangas's brilliant The Great Scandinavian Baking Book which was proof enough to me that lemon cookies are indeed a Scandinavian thing.
These Nordic Lemon Wafers are a delight. Not only are they easy to make, they are everything a lemon cookie should be...buttery and tender with just the right amount of lemon flavor and covered in a light cream cheese glaze to finish things off just right.
Lemon Cookie Tips and Tricks
I have just a few thoughts for ensuring lemon cookie success every time:
- Use a high-quality, all-natural lemon extract for big lemon flavor. It can be difficult to coax enough lemon flavor from juice and lemon zest alone. Lemon extract packs a serious lemon punch which is just what this cookie calls for.
- Chill the dough prior to shaping. The dough will be much easier to work with if it's been in the refrigerator for an hour or so prior to working with it.
- Roll and flatten each cookie with the bottom of a glass covered in parchment paper. Several of the recipes I tried called for rolling the dough out and then using a cookie cutter to create circles. This method requires dusting your rolling surface, pin and the dough with a good amount of flour to prevent the dough from sticking. When I tried this, I ended up with many misshapen circles after attempting to pry them off of my kitchen counter with a thin spatula. Rolling the dough between your hands into a ball and then flattening the ball with the bottom of a parchment covered glass is the way to go. Not only does this method require no additional flour (resulting in a more tender cookie), it also creates perfect circles every time.
- Don't overbake. There is something about lemon cookies and browning that that just doesn’t go together. Keep them light in color for the best flavor.
I hope you bake a batch of these sunshine-y Nordic Lemon Wafers sometime soon. They are likely to become a new fika favorite!
Nordic Lemon Wafers
- 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon fine salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ⅛ teaspoon baking soda
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons freshly sqeezed lemon juice
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 ½ teaspoons lemon extract
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon softened cream cheese
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Pinch of salt
- Whisk flour, cornstarch, salt, baking powder and baking soda together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Combine butter and sugar together in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add lemon juice, egg yolk and lemon extract and mix until fully combined. Reduce speed to low and slowly add dry ingredients until dough just comes together.
- Wrap the dough with plastic wrap and press into a 6 inch disk. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove dough round from the fridge. Working with about a teaspoon of dough at a time, roll dough into a ball between your hands and transfer to the baking sheet, leaving an inch and a half between each cookie. Flatten each ball with the back of a glass covered in parchment paper (to prevent sticking) until you have a disk that is about ¼ inch thick. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until cookies are firm and just beginning to brown on the edges. Cool slightly on the baking sheet and then transfer to a wire baking rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.
- Once cookies have cooled to room temperature, whisk glaze ingredients together. Top each cookie with a small dollop of glaze. Allow glaze to dry before serving, about 15 minutes.