Lemon Yogurt Cookies

I love citrus fruit. My favourite time of the year is tangerine season (but only if you can get good, juicy Florida tangerines), and if I could only smell like one thing for the rest of my life it would be orange blossoms. If a recipe calls for lemon zest, I always double the amount. I even like citrus peel, and eat it as a snack anytime it comes in a drink or on the side of a salad (much to Judson's chagrin).

I think it all stems from one afternoon when I was a baby, and my parents took me out to lunch with my grandmother. Halfway through lunch, I got fussy, and without even breaking the conversation, Eleanor fished the lemon slice out of her water glass, picked the seeds out, and handed it to me. My mom tried to stop her, and I winced when I first gummed down on it, but then I happily enjoyed it for the rest of the lunch, sucking and gumming at it like there was no tomorrow.

And there you have it: an addiction was born. Maybe it was that, or maybe it was growing up with a grapefruit tree, a lime tree, an orange tree, and a tangerine tree in our backyard, but either way, the fact remains that if there's a citrus option on any menu, I'm bound to be interested. So naturally when I found the below recipe for Lemon Yogurt cookies, I knew I had to make them, and soon.

This recipe comes from an article entitled 24 Cookie-Jar Favourites from the September 1977 issue of Better Home & Gardens, and all I have to say about that is that I am sure glad that the page Eleanor ripped out only included 6 of those favourites, because I do not have time for 24 recipes from the same damn magazine. Unlike most recipes in the box, though, you could fool yourself into thinking this one is 'healthy' because hey, at least it includes yogurt?

Plus, the tiny size of the cookies HAS to count for something when it comes to portion control, right?


Anyway, this is an easy recipe that comes together in a cinch-- it's practically a one-bowl recipe (if you're careful), and if you have a well-stocked pantry, you probably already have all the ingredients except the yogurt and nuts. The texture is fluffy and cakey without being too soft, and the cookies themselves have just a hint of lemon-- enough to brighten up an otherwise boring cookie, but not so much that it distracts from the flavour of warm homemade treats.

And, seriously, this should not have been such a lightbulb moment for me, but as it turns out you can make powdered sugar glaze with literally any liquid! It doesn't have to be milk+powdered sugar+food dye-- you can use yogurt! Or (probably) juice! Or honey! Or (maybe) applesauce! My eyes have been opened and now I feel that the possiblities are endless. But shhh: don't tell anyone. Let's keep it our little secret, and then when people are impressed with our frostings we can just nod knowingly and think about how awesome we are.

The verdict:

3 spoons out of five. They're easy, they're delicious, but they don't hold up well overnight, so you have to eat them fast (not a problem, exactly, because they are delicious). Honestly, though, I wanted the icing to have a bit more zing than it did, and so I added some lemon juice to make it happen but that threw off the texture so I added more powdered sugar and then it wasn't zingy anymore. You know what I mean.

The recipe:

Lemon Yogurt Cookies

the directions:

Preheat oven to 190C/375F and lightly grease two cookie sheets.
Cream sugars, butter, shortening, egg, and vanilla until light and fluffy.
Stir in flour, salt, and baking soda, blending well.
Scrape sides of bowl and stir in ½ c yogurt and ½ c almonds.
Drop from a heaped teaspoon in 10pence/quarter-sized dollops onto the cookie sheet, approximately two inches apart. (The size will look small, but they puff up a lot, so you won't want them bigger).
Bake 8-10 minutes until light golden-brown.
Let stand for 30 seconds before moving to a cooling rack.
Let cool completely before frosting.
While cookies are cooling, sift together the remaining yogurt and powdered sugar and stir until thickened.
Frost the cookies after they've cooled completely, and sprinkle with additional chopped and toasted almonds.

Yields 2 dozen cookies.

the ingredients:

½ c sugar
¼ c brown sugar, packed
¼ c butter
¼ c shortening
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 ¼ c flour
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
¾ c lemon yogurt, divided
¾ c almonds, toasted and chopped or flaked, divided
2 c powdered sugar, sifted