Lemon Sparkler Cookies

We're just days away from Christmas! Are you ready? I've not wrapped a single present yet, but I have been making scores of cookies. These Lemon Sparklers have been a crowd favorite with their crunchy exterior and cake-like interior. The dough is rolled in coarse sugar and as they bake, they puff and crackle in the oven. They glitter like jewels and look extra-pretty stacked on a serving plate.

The dough whips up in a jiffy, but you'll need to chill it for at least 30 minutes before rolling the dough into balls. It will be easier to handle, and you should be able to roll it between between your palms easily. Portion the dough with heaping tablespoons to create walnut-sized balls, or use a cookie scoop to make the cookies uniform.

Coarse sugar is the magic ingredient that makes these cookies sparkle. If you don't have sanding sugar, you can roll the balls in confectioners' sugar and end up with Lemon Crinkles.

See? These are quite pretty too!

You'll need to take a little extra care when transferring the  rolled cookies to the oven because they'll want to slide around on the baking sheet. The sugar coating makes the dough balls un-sticky and they will easily roll around on the pan.

These are packed with a triple dose of citrus flavor: lemon juice, lemon zest and lemon extract. You'd think these cookies would be lip-puckering with all that lemon, but they're not! They are sweet, delicious and highly fragrant.

Lemon Sparklers
Yields about 2 dozen

1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 (250g) cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon extract
1/4 teaspoon lemon yellow food color (optional)
2 1/2 cups (352g) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon fine lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (100g) coarse sanding sugar

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and mix again. Scrape down the bowl and mix in the lemon juice and extract. Add the food color, if using.

In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, lemon zest and salt. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and mix on medium-low speed until well-combined. Cover and refrigerate the cookie dough in the mixing bowl for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the coarse sugar in a bowl.

Portion the cookies by the heaping tablespoon (or cookie scoop) and roll each piece into a walnut-sized ball between your palms. Roll each ball in the coarse sugar. Place on the prepared cookie sheets about 2-inches apart. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cookies are puffed, crackled and light golden around the edges.

Let the cookies stand on the cookie sheet for five minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Note: Swap the coarse sugar for powdered sugar, and bake as directed for lemon crinkle cookies.

link Lemon Sparkler Cookies By Published: Lemon Sparkler Cookies Recipe


  1. These are so pretty & look so soft!

  2. YUM! These cookies look delicious! I love lemon cookies ♥

  3. Dear Heather: What color is the cookie if I don't use the food coloring? Thank you for your help!

  4. Can you freeze the dough?

  5. Yay!! I can't wait to make these!!! Thanks & have an amazing holiday!!!

  6. I made a batch of lemon sparklers today, and they are wonderful! Tasty and beautiful. Thank you for the recipe!

  7. These were lovely! I made them pretty much as directed (just reduced the sugar by about 20%), rolling them in powdered sugar instead of sanding sugar, and I thought they were almost perfect. The only things I would change for the next batch would be to add even a little more lemon flavor-- maybe a full tablespoon of extract or some extra zest-- and reduce the baking time just a hair, because mine were cooked through at around 13 minutes in my fairly accurate oven, and I prefer my cookies a little on the softer side. Thanks so much for the recipe!


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