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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. —Phoenix Helix
Serves 24-48 cookies
- 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
- 3 ounces cream cheese
- 1/2 stick butter
- 1 tablespoon lemon extract
- 2-1/2 cups powdered sugar (approximately)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- 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.
- Scoop in teaspoonfuls onto silpat-lined cookie sheet.
- Bake 10-12 minutes.
- 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.
- Wait until the cookies are cool to frost them.