It’s a bit hard to say what makes lemon poppyseed such a good combination in baked goods. Zesty lemon flavors are always good, of course, but the poppyseeds don’t contribute much in the way of flavor. They do, however, add a hint of additional texture to a cake or muffin and that crunch is a nice break from otherwise soft pastries. Perhaps it’s the subconscious idea that the teeny tiny amount of opiates in the seeds will make you feel good (and fail a drug test, if what I’ve seen on Seinfeld is true!). In reality, it’s probably a combination of some of these things: a bit of crunch from the seeds, a bright acidity from the lemon and the sweetness of the dough that surrounds them.Anyway, the combination is a good one and that’s all you really need to know before baking these lemon poppyseed cookies. The lemon flavor in the cookies comes from fresh lemon zest. It’s fairly subtle at first, but really pops once you add a lemon juice and confectioners’ sugar glaze to the top of the finished cookies. The cookies are soft and a little bit cakelike, rather than crispy. They remind me a little bit of scones or teacakes and go great with iced tea.
These are drop cookies that come together very quickly. There isn’t a whole lot of juice called for in the recipe, and one lemon is really all you need. You’ll get a better flavor with fresh zest than with lemon extract, so it’s worth picking up a fresh lemon if you don’t have one on hand. You can also try these cookies with lemon, orange or other citrus fruits for a little variety.
Frosted Lemon Poppyseed Cookies
1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp lemon zest
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp poppyseeds
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy. Beat in egg.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Add to wet ingredients and mix until just combined, then stir in poppyseeds. Drop by 1-inch balls onto prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 9-11 minutes, until cookies are set and just begin to brown at the edges (the bottoms may be lightly browned, but not the top of the cookies)
Cool for 1-2 minutes on the baking sheet, then remove to a wire rack to cool before glazing.
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
2-3 tbsp lemon juice
Whisk together juice and sugar until icing is a smooth, pourable consistency. Add additional juice if yours is too thick to drizzle easily or additional sugar if it is too thick.
Drizzle over cookies. Cookies should not be hot, but it is ok if they are not completely at room temperature before frosting.
Cookies must be cooled to room temperature before being stored.
Makes 2 dozen.