Mother's Day

Mother Daughter Lemon Drops

February 15, 2011
0 Ratings
  • Serves 24-48 cookies
Author Notes

I have a mother who baked every day of my childhood & recited the mantra: “Baking is chemistry. You stick to the recipes.” However, if you ever cooked alongside her, you would see her changing things all the time, most commonly adding sour cream to everything. Challenge her & she’d say, “Well, that doesn’t count.” Apparently, if you don’t write down the changes, you haven’t officially changed anything. These lemon drops are the result of changes over generations, and I’m breaking the rules by writing them down. My mother is 83 years old & cooks with margarine – oleo, specifically. She was newly married when that product hit the shelves and she never looked back. I, however cook with butter, so that was my first change. I kept her sour cream addition – it makes these cookies more like little cakes. I amped up the lemon flavoring by combining fresh zest with extract. The final change came via my adult stepdaughter, who introduced me to the wonder of cream cheese frosting, which I started adding to all my recipes. OK, that’s an exaggeration; I don’t add it to soup. So, here’s the current incarnation of our family’s lemon drop cookies. However, in 10 more years, they’ll probably be a little different. Who knows what the grandchildren will change? By the way, I like small cookies & get 48 out of this recipe. My mother likes larger & gets 24. Either way, they’re delicious & they freeze beautifully. —Blissful Baker

What You'll Need
  • Cookie Dough
  • 1-1/2 sticks butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • zest of 1 large lemon
  • 2 teaspoons lemon extract
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2-3/4 cups flour
  • Frosting
  • 3 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1 tablespoon lemon extract
  • 2-1/2 cups powdered sugar (approximately)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix butter & sugar together at medium-high speed until light & fluffy. Turn the speed down to medium & add the egg, lemon zest & extract. Turn the speed down to low & add the sour cream, baking soda & flour. Blend until evenly mixed, but don’t overbeat.
  3. Scoop in teaspoonfuls onto silpat-lined cookie sheet.
  4. Bake 10-12 minutes.
  5. To make frosting, heat the cream cheese & butter together in the microwave for 20 seconds. Transfer to mixing bowl & blend until fluffy. Add lemon extract & blend again. Finally, add as much powdered sugar as necessary to reach a good frosting consistency.
  6. Wait until the cookies are cool to frost them.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • lapadia
  • Lizthechef
  • dymnyno
  • mrslarkin
  • TiggyBee

10 Reviews

lapadia March 17, 2011
These sound wonderful, I ? lemon anything! My mom is from the same generation as yours and come to think of it she used a lot of margarine, too!
Blissful B. March 17, 2011
Margarine had no flavor, but it sure gave everything a nice, fluffy texture. My mother-in-law is a Crisco fan. I love them both, but I'm happy butter is back in the forefront of baking, at least in my kitchen! Do let me know if you try the recipe.
Lizthechef February 15, 2011
Wonderful headnote - and another for my Meyer lemon recipe collection!
Blissful B. February 15, 2011
Ooooh. I bet it would be wonderful with Meyer lemons.
dymnyno February 15, 2011
I love your family cooking together. Will try the cookies too!
Blissful B. February 15, 2011
So many beautiful memories center around food, don't they? I look forward to hearing how you like these family faves.
mrslarkin February 15, 2011
What a great story! And recipe!
Blissful B. February 15, 2011
Thanks. Introductions are one of my favorite things about Food52 recipes. It was fun to share this one.
TiggyBee February 15, 2011
These are lovely!
Blissful B. February 15, 2011
Thank you!