Lemony Slice-and-Bakes

The December issue of Bon Appetit Magazine is a treasure chest of wonderful holiday recipes.  I plan to try most of them before the season ends and my first choice is these lovely little Lemony Slice-and-Bakes.  If I could make only one Christmas cookie it would be some variation of shortbread.  The addition of egg yolks in this recipe produces a shortbread that has a rich flavor and finer texture than recipes that are flour, sugar and butter only, and the addition of lemon zest is a snappy contrast to the sweetness of the frosting.   A few weeks ago I bought a little bottle of gold sanding sugar at Williams-Sonoma and think it is the perfect decoration for these elegant yet simple cookies.


5.0 from 3 reviews
Lemony Slice and Bakes
  • 2-1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • ICING:
  • 1-1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (or more) fresh lemon juice
  • Sanding sugar (optional)
  1. Whisk flour and salt in a medium bowl.
  2. Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed beat butter, sugar, lemon zest and vanilla in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg yolks, beat just to blend. Reduce speed to low, add flour mixture and beat, occasionally scraping down sides, just to blend.
  3. Divide dough in half; roll each half into a 10" long log about 1-3/4" in diameter. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm about 1 hour. Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat. Unwrap dough log. Using a sharp, lightly floured knife, cut log into ¼" thick rounds. Transfer to prepared sheet, spacing 1" apart.
  5. Bake until cookies are firm and golden brown around edges, 16-18 minutes. Let cool for 1 minute, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely. Repeat with remaining log using cooled baking sheet and new parchment paper.
  6. ICING:
  7. Whisk sugar and 2 tablespoons juice in a small bowl, adding more juice by ½ teaspoonfuls if too thick. Spread or drizzle icing over cookies. Decorate as desired. Let stand until icing sets, about 20 minutes.
Cookies can be made 3 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature. Logs of cookie dough can be frozen for up to 3 months.


The recipe suggests that, in order to keep a nice cylindrical shape to the logs they should be put into cardboard paper towel tubes to chill or freeze.  Bad idea.  The dough is easy to shape and slice. Who thinks up these kinds of directions????   If you love shortbread and like the idea of a great cookie that can be made ahead and baked as needed I hope you will give this recipe a try. My family gives it a big thumbs up.


  1. [email protected] says

    Oh my gosh do these look good. I can not wait to make them this weekend. Thank you for the great receipt.

  2. Pondside says

    As always, the world ‘lemon’ in a recipe title drew me in. These look very good. I’ve never heard of gold sanding sugar, but it is very pretty.

  3. Lynn says

    Cathy, these sound great. I think I’ll take this recipe with me to my son’s for Christmas and make them with my granddaughter, Mariah, she loves to bake and I love that she loves it!!

  4. says

    We used to call them refrigerator cookies and I love having them in my fridge;. This is one recipe I have never seen before; they look fabulous. Anything lemon and I’m hooked. I have never heard of sansding sugar, but love the name.

  5. says

    Cathy, your cookies look great and I wish I had one right now! This is my favorite type of Christmas cookie and the gold sanding sugar looks great on them! Love your “inner peace” on FB; lol!!!

  6. says

    These are amazing and I love ANYthing with lemon. I will make these to go with all the other cookies I’ve made for gift giving. I don’t have the golden sanding sugar…maybe I can get it at a bakery or such.
    Thanks for the wonderful recipe.
    xo bj
    bj recently posted..Comforts of HomeMy Profile

  7. says

    You temptress. I went over to view the Bon Apetit issue, online, and wanted to make everything. I didn’t renew my BA subscription, only because I need to trim down paper clutter– and, it seems, you can get the magazine online for free. Wink, wink. These are beautiful cookies. I MUST bake this weekend! I haven’t even gotten started.
    Foodiewife recently posted..Pumpkin Bundt Cake (Only 2-Ingredients)My Profile

  8. says

    Bonjour Cathy,
    ANother winner Cathy. Thank you for posting all these delicious recipes. Definitely going to be trying this one out soon.
    Are you ready for Christmas. Hope you and your family have a wonderful time together!

  9. says

    I was positive I hadn’t seen these the first time you posted them, or I KNOW I would have complimented you on them. The gold sanding sugar is the perfect touch of festive bling!!
    You know how I am about anything lemon, so I am definitely making these…soon! Thanks so much for posting a link to them in your recent look back at the past.
    Rettabug recently posted..End of Summer TablescapesMy Profile

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