Girl Scout cookies come and go, and not every cookie recipe makes it to the cookie booths every spring. Lemon coolers are a retired Girl Scout cookie that many lemon-lovers have fond memories of. Unfortunately, memories are all that they have because these cookies aren’t offered in this year’s line-up. I liked the bright, lemony flavor of these cookies too and also appreciated the fact that they were a little different than the rest of the Girl Scout’s offerings. I wanted to try and give them the same treatment as some of my other favorite Girl Scout cookies and come up with a homemade version.
There was one big problem with this plan: my memory of the cookies – along with a photo of a Lemon Coolers box – were all I had to go on when creating the recipe. My memory was of a crisp, tender cookie that was lemony and coated with confectioners’ sugar. I remember it having a much lighter texture than, say, a shortbread cookie and I also recall that it was fairly sturdy, not crumbly. So, my interpretation is based on this template. I will admit that if you pulled out a 12 year old box of Girl Scout cookies to compare these to, they might not be twins, but they’re definitely going to satisfy a craving for a crisp lemon cookie and match the look of the originals.
I used cake flour with a very little bit of cornstarch mixed in to give these their light texture. They’re softer than shortbread, but still have a nice crispness to them when you take a bite. I used real butter, which the original cookies probably did not, but I opted to use lemon extract (lemon oil is also a very good choice) instead of fresh lemon zest because that is closer to the flavor I remember in the originals. To give them that lemon-slice shape, I formed the dough into a log, chilled it, then sliced it in half before cutting the individual cookies. This made it very easy to shape them all and ensured that they all came out to the same size.
These cookies turned out to be very close to what I was looking for in a faux Girl Scout Cookie. They are slightly sweet and have a nice lemony flavor to them. I baked them just until the edges turned golden, which make for a crisp-tender cookie, and generously dusted them with confectioners sugar while they were still slightly warm. They kept well for several days without loosing their taste or texture, but they were so light that they were easy to eat two at a time.
Homemade Girl Scout Cookies: Lemon Coolers
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tsp lemon extract or 1 tsp lemon oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups minus 1 tbsp cake flour
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 tbsp milk
additional confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Beat in lemon extract, vanilla extract. Sift in cake flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt, mixing with the mixer on low speed to keep the flour from flying. Add in 3 tbsp milk and beat until mixture just comes together. Dough should be slightly sticky, but not wet.
Shape dough into a large log about 1 1/2-in in diameter. Wrap in wax or parchment paper.
Chill dough in fridge for at least 1 1/2 hours.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Slice dough log down the middle to create two half-circle logs. Lay logs with the flat side down and cut slices of dough that are a bit under 1/4-inch thick (no more than 1/4-inch or they will turn out a bit softer). Transfer cookies to cookie sheet.
Bake for 9-12 minutes, until edges just begin to turn golden.
Cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
When cookies are cooling on the wire rack, generously dust with extra confectioners’ sugar.
Makes about 3 1/2- 4 dozen cookies