By Chef Linda
Holiday cookies are often full of chocolate or heavy with nuts and decorative ingredients (not that there's anything wrong with that!) you need something to cut through. These Frosted Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies do just that. Light and lemony, tender and tart, these cookies provide a little sunshine to the dark days of winter. Fresh lemon juice and zest are sprightly alternatives to heavier ingredients and the addition of cream cheese (vegan, of course!) adds just enough tenderness to make this totally addictive. Watch out, Santa, there may not be any left when you get down the chimney.
Use gluten-free flour mix for a gluten-free version. Use cream cheese made without nuts for a nut-free version.
Frosted Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies
4 ounces (1 stick) vegan butter or coconut oil (softened)
4 ounces vegan cream cheese (I used Kite Hill brand, almond-based)
1 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons non-dairy milk
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest
Colored sugar, sprinkles, or non-pareils (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Lay wax paper under cookie racks to catch drips of icing.
Place vegan butter and cream cheese in a large mixing bowl. Use an electric mixer to beat together until blended. Add the sugar and beat a couple of minutes, until light and fluffy. Beat in non-dairy milk, lemon extract, vanilla, and lemon zest.
Add the flour and sprinkle baking powder on top. Without over-mixing, beat until flour is incorporated and a thick dough is formed.
Using a small portion scoop or teaspoon, drop the cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheets. Flatten slightly with the bottom of a glass or measuring cup. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until bottoms are lightly browned.
Remove from oven and transfer to racks to cool.
To make the lemon icing, mix together in a small bowl the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Stir until well blended. Use a spoon to ice the entire cookie, or drizzle icing over several cookies at a time. Decorate with colored sugar, sprinkles, or non-pareils, if desired. Store covered, in layers separated by parchment or wax paper for up to a week.