This recipe from, Cindy E. of Des Moines, won first place in our 2019 Iowa State Fair Unique Cookie Contest!
1-1/2 Cups sugar
3/4 Cup butter, softened
4 oz cream cheese, softened
2-1/2 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
zest of two lemons, fresh
3 Cups all-purpose flour
2 Cups powered sugar
2 tsp fresh lemon juice (or to taste)
Cayenne Powder to taste
food coloring (optional)
Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Cut butter into cubes. Cream butter for about 2 minutes using an electric mixer. Add cream cheese and beat for another minute. Add sugar and beat until mixture is light and fluffy, about another 2 minutes. Add egg, lemon juice, vanilla, and zest mixing after each addition before adding the next. Stir until all ingredients are incorporated.
Add flour to the dough, one cup at a time, mixing until flour is just incorporated. Do not over-mix, or dough will be stiff. Divide the dough into two balls, wrap in plastic wrap or waxed paper, and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Roll chilled dough from the first batch to a thickness of 1/4″, and cut with desired cookie cutters. Place cut-out cookies in the freezer for 10-15 minutes.
Transfer cookies from freezer to preheated oven, and bake for 12 minutes. Remove from oven, and allow cookies to cool on the pan for 15 minutes before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cookies are entirely cooled, frost* them.
Repeat with remaining dough.
*To make the frosting:
Thin the powdered sugar with lemon juice and water to reach your desired tartness and consistency. Gently add cayenne, a little bit at a time, and taste test as you go achieve the desired heat.
If you want to outline / pipe the edges of your cookies, the frosting should be thick, the consistency of sour cream. To fill the middle of the cookie, you want the frosting to be the consistency of honey.
Spread on completely-cooled cookies.