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Iced Lemon Pillow Cookies. A soft, petite, pillow shaped cookie, flavored with fresh lemon zest and then coated in fresh lemon icing. A perfect tea cookie!

Iced Lemon Pillow Cookies

Servings 56 Cookies


For the cookies:

  • 3 cups all purpose flour see note on how to measure
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup salted butter cool room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 3 large eggs room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon zest

For the icing:

  • 2 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice more as needed

Optional toppings:

  • sprinkles
  • lemon zest


Make the cookies:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. Whisk the flour and baking powder in a medium bowl to combine. Set aside.

  3. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat butter for 30 seconds or until creamy. Add sugars and continue beating until well combined.

  4. Add eggs, one at a time, incorporating each before adding the next one. Add the vanilla and lemon zest until combined.

  5. With the mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture to the butter mixture just until fully combined and there are no dry bits at the bottom of the bowl. Take care not to over mix. Over mixing will produce a tough cookie.

  6. On a lightly floured surface, take a large spoonful of cookie dough. I scoop almost 1/2 cup. Flour your hands and roll the dough into a log about 1 1/4 inches wide. Trim about 1/4" off each end with a sharp knife so you'll have clean cut ends. (Dip the knife in flour if you're having trouble with it sticking to the dough.) Cut 1" long pillows. Take any excess cuttings and place them back into the bowl for re-rolling. Repeat scooping, rolling and cutting the dough into pillows until all dough has been cut. When there's not enough dough left to create a log, just take any remaining bits of dough and roll into a ball/s about the same size as the pillows.

  7. Place cookies onto an ungreased cookie sheet about 1 1/2" apart. The cookies will not spread too much, but give them some room in between. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges are set, the bottoms are just very lightly browned and the tops have begun to crack a bit. Remove from oven and allow to cool on the cookie sheet.

Make the icing:

  1. When the cookies are cool, make the icing. Place 2 cups of confectioner's sugar into a medium bowl. Add 2 Tablespoons of the freshly squeezed lemon juice and stir or whisk to combine. Continue adding lemon juice a teaspoon at a time until you achieve a thick drizzling consistency.

  2. Drop a pillow cookie face down into the bowl of icing. Press gently to insure the top is coated. Grab the edge of the cookie and lift it up off the surface of the icing. Scrape the top gently against the side of the bowl to remove any excess icing. Place iced cookies on a wax lined tray or on a cooling rack set over a cookie sheet to dry. Once the icing is fully set, you can store them in an airtight container at room temperature for a few days or freeze them for longer storage.

  3. If you want to add sprinkles or other toppings, add them just after you dip the cookies, before the icing sets.

Recipe Notes

*Make sure you measure your flour correctly. I use the spoon and sweep method. The goal is not to compact the flour into the cup. Stir the flour to fluff and lighten it. Spoon it lightly into the measuring cup and sweep a flat edge (like the back of a knife) across the top to scrape off any excess. A cup of flour for me weights 4.25 ounces. If you over measure the flour, you'll end up with a dry, crumbly cookie.

*I used about 3 lemons for the lemon zest. I juiced 2 of those lemons for the icing. Make sure you zest the lemons before juicing them.

*If you'd like to see some lemon zest in your icing, go ahead and zest a bit more lemon and stir it in.

*This is a recipe that would be perfect for using lemon juice fruit powder. You can read about it in my KAF favorites post. I didn't add it because most people don't have it in their pantry, but if you do, I would probably add a Tablespoon or so for an extra punch of lemony flavor in the cookie dough.

*This recipe makes about 56 petite cookies. They are the perfect one or two bite treat. 

Adapted from Italian Biscotti.

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