Deliciousness made with all-natural flavoring—triple lemon! Melt-in-your-mouth Lemon Gooey Butter Cookies at their finest and from scratch. What could be better? Our recipe was reverse engineered from standard recipes for Gooey Butter Cookies calling for boxed yellow cake mix. The result is simply a sublime buttery, light and tender-crumbed cookie sweetened just right and full of lemon flavor including an enchanting tang from cream cheese. You just can’t have one! Included is a scrumptious and irresistible gluten free variation. Everyone loves these classic cookies inspired by the cream cheese variant of Gooey Butter Cake hailing from the 1930s in the USA Midwest—St. Louis!
A New American Cookie Classic:
Lemon Gooey Butter Cookies—Made from Scratch!
My friends, as I promised in my last post for Gooey Butter Cookies, today I am sharing an incredible variation for this special cookie—Lemon Gooey Butter Cookies! As I stated previously, if you have never experienced Gooey Butter Cake, or a Gooey Butter Cookie made from scratch, you simply haven’t lived.
Lemon Gooey Butter Cookies taste just like a delectable lemony pastry cookie from the finest patisserie in town. In fact, the all-natural flavor comes from freshly squeezed lemon juice, fresh lemon zest and pure lemon oil for that extra kick. That’s right, triple lemon!
These cookies have a tender and light crumb that is contrasted with a super-thin soft and yet crackly sugar crust that forms during baking after rolling the dough in confectioners’ sugar. Once bitten into, these easy to make cookies take on an irresistible buttery and lemon cheesecake-like texture, almost fudgy like a brownie, and then melts in your mouth. Seductive, I tell you!
It bears repeating, for any fabulous from-scratch recipe for Gooey Butter Cookies, that each comes with a very stern warning, straight up and upfront:
WARNING: DO NOT eat the cookie dough or there will not be enough to bake cookies!
Seriously. You just might want to grab a spoon and sneak a trip over to the living room and camp out on the sofa and binge watch TV whilst cozying up with the mixing bowl full of this incredibly wicked cookie dough. It is a cookie dough like no other. You have been warned.
Once I tasted the cookie dough for our Lemon Gooey Butter Cookies, the taste reminded me of a recipe found in the iconic Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book that I remember baking with my Grandma Gigi at Christmastime—Lemon Cheese Press Cookies made with 2 sticks of butter and 3 ounces of cream cheese. Mmm. Such fond baking memories.
It was a big deal to help my grandmother bake when I was only 7 years old. I was completely enchanted with baking from a very early age and even developed my first original recipe in the first grade (using a boxed cake mix!) and submitted it to my elementary school’s newspaper. It was a project assigned to my entire first grade class by our lovely and beautiful teacher, Miss Jacobs. There is more to the story and I really should share it here on the blog as part of the On Baking series I started when I first began blogging. Also, I should try to track down that edition of the school newspaper! It would be hilarious to read that recipe today.
Gooey Butter Cookies after rolling in confectioners’ sugar and just before baking.
Honestly, the gluten free variation of our Lemon Gooey Butter Cookies is phenomenally good. In fact, you simply cannot tell that they are gluten free! And there is an important reason why this is so. It all starts with the right gluten free flour blend—in this case, King Arthur Flour® Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour—and the perfect amount of guar gum. Yes, I prefer guar gum to xanthan gum for my gluten free baking for allergy reasons in addition to many other reasons. But, I will leave that for a future post on gluten free baking and ingredients.
King Arthur Flour® Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour
So, let’s briefly talk gluten free flour.
Why does Wicked Good Kitchen highly recommend King Arthur Flour® Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour?
By blending white rice and whole-grain brown rice flours with pure starches, such as tapioca and potato, while avoiding corn, dairy, nut, sorghum (grass) and soy products as well as gums and leavening agents, gluten free bakers and both the food allergic and celiac communities have a safe and well-tested gluten free flour that performs exceedingly well on a multi-purpose level.
Quite simply, King Arthur Flour® Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour blend provides greater flexibility than other brands by allowing bakers and recipe developers to create recipes where the amounts of guar or xanthan gum and leavening agents, like baking powder, baking soda, cream of tartar and yeast, can be added accordingly for a wide range of applications in baking recipes from breads, cakes and cookies to savory dishes.
The good news is that King Arthur Flour® Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour blend, is readily available among gluten free flours at Whole Foods Market® and most grocery stores.
Plus, since I am severely allergic to corn and any corn-derived food additives, I am safe from allergic reactions using KAF GF flour. Sadly, I can no longer work with gluten free flours that contain cornstarch.
For my gluten free readers, all I can say is thank the Lord above that King Arthur Flour® makes an exceptional Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour blend and that Kraft Philadelphia Cream Cheese is gluten free or there would be no incredibly scrumptious Gluten-Free Gooey Butter Cookies and all the variations, like these Lemon Gooey Butter Cookies, made from scratch!
Although I am enthusiastic about King Arthur Flour® products, I am not a compensated blogger, recipe developer or spokesperson for the company. I just love their products and catalog!
CHEFMASTER® Natural Gel Based Food Coloring – Yellow
As mentioned in other blog posts, for food color used in baking and buttercream making, I highly recommend CHEFMASTER® 100% natural and organic gel based food colorings and purchase mine from The Baker’s Kitchen online. Kosher certified powdered food coloring is also a very good option.
When The Big Lug sampled the gluten free version of my recipe for Gooey Butter Cookies, he could not believe that they were gluten free. That is saying quite a lot because he is quite the cookie connoisseur!
During the holiday season, I shared with you that my husband is quite the cookie connoisseur and his favorite cookie in the universe is my recipe for Honey-Nut Rugelach. Well, there is a good reason for that—the scrumptious cream cheese pastry. So, when he tasted my recipe for Gooey Butter Cookies, he met yet another favorite cookie. Right away, he asked me to make these Lemon Gooey Butter Cookies!
As mentioned above, to make the most irresistible Lemon Gooey Butter Cookies, I went for “triple action” for bursting lemony citrus flavor—freshly squeezed lemon juice, fresh lemon zest and pure lemon oil by Boyajian®. I purchase Boyajian® pure citrus oils from my local Sur la Table.
Why do I call for lemon oil in this recipe? Because extracts and flavorings cannot even come close to the flavor intensity of citrus oils that are all-natural, 100% pure and cold-pressed from the rind of the fruit. To fully appreciate the flavoring effectiveness of pure citrus oils, consider the fact that it takes 44 oranges, 66 lemons or 80 limes to fill a 1-ounce bottle of oil. Because of that, only a small amount need be used in baking or buttercream recipes. Generally, start with 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon until the desired flavor is achieved. What you will have with today’s recipe is exceptionally flavored Lemon Gooey Butter Cookies. Truly irresistible, I tell you!
IMPORTANT FOOD ALLERGY NOTE: Omit pure lemon oil to make Gluten-Free Lemon Gooey Butter Cookies as Boyajian® Citrus Oil Collection is processed on equipment shared with peanut oil, soy and wheat.
Boyajian® Citrus Oil Collection – Pure Lemon Oil, Pure Lime Oil and Pure Orange Oil.
As for the confectioners’ or powdered sugar called for in the recipe, I found a fabulous corn-free confectioners’ sugar. This is excellent news for those who are allergic to corn, a major food allergen, because most powdered sugars contain cornstarch. It is also convenient to keep on hand when I am short on time and don’t have my own powdered sugar made from scratch, using a blender, with pure cane sugar and tapioca flour.
Organic Powdered Sugar, 365 Everyday Value® brand by Whole Foods Market®.
Here at Wicked Good Kitchen, we hope that our recipe for Lemon Gooey Butter Cookies becomes a new favorite and tradition for your family. They are phenomenally scrumptious!
Below are Pinterest-friendly sized images to pin at Pinterest!
- 2¼ cups (270 grams) organic all-purpose flour, such as King Arthur Flour®
- 2 teaspoons (about 8 grams) baking powder
- 1 (8-ounce/226-gram) package cream cheese, such as Philadelphia®, softened
- ½ cup (1 stick/113 grams) unsalted butter, softened
- 1½ cups (300 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons (12 grams) freshly grated lemon zest, from 2 large lemons
- 1½ tablespoons (22.5 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon (a few drops) lemon oil, such as Boyajian® -Omit for gluten-free variation.
- 1/8 teaspoon natural yellow gel based food coloring, such as CHEFMASTER®
- 1 teaspoon (5 grams) kosher salt, or ¾ teaspoon regular table salt
- 1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk (mine weighed 71 grams w/o shells)
- 1 cup (120 grams) confectioners’ sugar, sifted, for rolling & dusting cookies
Tips:Only use completely cooled cookie sheets lined with a fresh sheet of parchment paper before baking each batch. Avoid crowding the cookies on baking sheets by spacing apart at least by 2 inches. How to Measure All-Purpose Flour for this Recipe: This tip is provided for bakers who do not own a kitchen scale and will be measuring flour by volume rather than by weight. First, aerate flour by stirring it in the container. Then, simply spoon flour into measuring cup and level off the top with the straight edge of a metal icing spatula. (The straight edge of a knife from a flatware set can be used as well.) This should yield about 120 grams per 1 cup of flour. Use a sheet of wax paper as a liner on your work surface to measure flour so that the excess can easily be funneled back into flour bag or container. How to Measure King Arthur Flour® Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour for this Recipe: There is no need to aerate the flour. Simply spoon flour into measuring cup and level off the top with the straight edge of a metal icing spatula. (The straight edge of a knife from a flatware set can be used as well.) This should yield about 160 grams per 1 cup of gluten free flour. Use a sheet of wax paper as a liner on your work surface to measure flour so that the excess can easily be funneled back into flour bag or container. These tender cookies taste fabulous when served either at room temperature or chilled from the fridge. Cookies will keep for up to 1 week covered in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Total time above does not include time for refrigerating dough before baking. Substitutions: To substitute pure lemon extract for pure lemon oil, the general rule is that 1 part natural flavoring oil is roughly equivalent to 4 parts pure extract (since it contains water and alcohol as well as perhaps other additives). Therefore, 4 times the amount of pure lemon extract is needed to substitute for the pure lemon oil called for in this recipe at about 1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract. If extra-lemony flavor is desired, consider adding a bit more to taste. Keeping within 1/2 to 1 teaspoon pure lemon extract when adding to the cookie dough would be ideal. Variation: For Gluten-Free Lemon Gooey Butter Cookies: Substitute 2¼ cups (360 grams) King Arthur Flour® Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour and 1¼ teaspoons (3.5 grams) guar gum, such as by Now Foods, for the regular all-purpose wheat flour called for in the recipe. Whisk together until well blended and then continue with recipe by whisking in the baking powder. Also, omit pure lemon oil. See Important Food Allergy Note below. IMPORTANT FOOD ALLERGY NOTE: Omit pure lemon oil to make Gluten-Free Lemon Gooey Butter Cookies as Boyajian® Citrus Oil Collection is processed on equipment shared with peanut oil, soy and wheat. Original Recipe Source: WickedGoodKitchen.com Copyright © Wicked Good Kitchen. All content and images are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words. Alternatively, link back to this post for the recipe.