January lasted a full year, February flew past in a blink, and here we are in March. March which seems like it should be exciting and I suppose, in a way it is because the temps are creeping up ever so slightly. Yet this morning I woke up to snow flurries on my weather app and I’m past ready to say, “Boy, bye” to all of that mess. No matter how much I will it to be, it’s simply not time yet for spring peas, asparagus, rhubarb, or strawberries. For now, these little lemon meltaway cookies will have to be my dose of culinary sunshine until the real thing shows up for good.

To be quite honest, I was inspired to make these by the Girl Scout cookie Savannah Smiles. They weren’t around in the old days when I was peddling the cookies myself, and I doubt 8-year old me would have been down for a lemon cookie anyway. Now though, I have to say that they are pretty darn good, second only to Samoas (of course). I wanted to find a way to enjoy them all year long and I’m so glad to have this recipe.

Not only are these simple, they are fun to make. I find slice and bake cookies so satisfying to make, and these have the added enjoyment of coating them in powdered sugar. The resulting cookies are sweet tart little bites with a perfect buttery crumb that melts in your mouth, hence the name.


  • 1 ¾ cup plus 2 tbsp. (235 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp. (15 grams) cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 12 tbsp. (170 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cup (150 grams) confectioners’ sugar, divided
  • Zest of 1 large or 2 small lemons
  • 2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract


  • 01

    In a small bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, and salt. Whisk to combine. Set aside.

  • 02

    In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine 1/3 cup of the confectioners’ sugar with the butter. Beat on medium-high speed until fluffy, 1-2 minutes. Add in the lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla, and mix until smooth and fluffy, 1-2 minutes more. Add in the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until incorporated.

  • 03

    Split the dough into two equal portions. Place each on a rectangle of parchment paper and form into a log about 1½-inches in diameter. Roll the paper tightly around the log and twist the ends. Freeze or refrigerate until very firm, at least 2 hours.

  • 04

    When you are ready to bake, heat the oven to 350˚ F. Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. Remove the parchment from the log of cookie dough. Use a sharp knife to slice into ¼-inch thick rounds. Place on the prepared baking sheets about 1 inch apart.

  • 05

    Bake until barely golden, about 15 minutes total, rotating the pans halfway through baking. While the cookies are baking, place the remaining 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar in a resealable bag.

  • 06

    When the cookies are finished baking, gently move to a wire rack and let cool until just barely warm, about 3-4 minutes. While still warm, place the cookies in the bag with the sugar and gently toss to coat. Repeat with the remaining dough as desired.