These Lemon Crinkle Cookies are bursting with fresh lemon flavor and so meltingly tender you'd never guess they were made from cake mix! Tart, tangy, sweet and deliciously fluffy, these cookies are so easy to make and even easier to devour! Recipe can be scaled up or down by using the slider if you hover your mouse over the number of Servings.
½cupUnsalted Butter– softened to room temperature (1 stick)
1(8 ounce) brick Cream Cheese – softened to room temperature
1large Egg – at room temperature
2TBSFreshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
2tspFreshly Grated Lemon Zest
½tspEACH: Vanilla Extract & Lemon Extract
1cupPowdered Sugar - DIVIDED
Prepare cookie dough: In a large bowl or a stand mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes. Add the softened cream cheese and continue to beat until well incorporated, about 1 minute. Add the egg, lemon juice, zest and both extracts. Beat well until combined and fluffy, about 1 minute. Sift the cake mix into the bowl. Beat on low or stir until just combined. Don’t beat too much or your cookie dough will become tough. The dough should be sticky.
Chill: Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Place it in the refrigerator for 1 ½ hours (or overnight), or in the freezer for 45 minutes. The dough should be completely chilled.
Preheat oven: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Pour ¾ cup powdered sugar into a shallow bowl and pour the granulated sugar onto a plate.
Portion cookies: Use your hands, or a cookie scoop, to scoop out the dough. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls (roughly 1 ½ tablespoon each).
Coat in sugars: Place each ball into the granulated sugar and roll to very lightly coat. Transfer to the powdered sugar and roll it around so it’s heavily coated; this is what gives the cookies their cracked appearance. Arrange the cookie balls 2-inches apart on the prepared cookie sheet. (SEE NOTES)
Bake: Bake the cookies for 11-13 minutes, or until just barely browned on the bottom only (they should be overall pale in color and they will look soft in the middle). Remove from oven and let the cookies cool on the pan for 8 minutes. Immediately transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
Serve: Dust the tops of cookies with remaining powdered sugar or dip the tops of the cookies gently in powdered sugar for a snow-capped cookie effect. Enjoy!
Cake mix: Use a moist-style cake mix for best results. Make sure you SIFT the cake mix into the bowl. Sifting the cake mix will result in cookies that taste more homemade.
Chilling dough: Chilling the dough makes it much easier to work with! Plus, it prevents the cookies from flattening out too much! And, if you want the classic crinkle appearance, the dough must be cold before baking! If you are in a hurry, split the dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Chilling the dough in smaller portions will help the process go faster!
Rolling dough: Cookie dough will be sticky. To prevent it from sticking, coat your hands lightly with powdered sugar.
Portioning dough: You should be able to fit 12 cookie dough balls on a cookie sheet. I do not recommend baking more than one sheet at a time. The dough needs to be cold when it goes into the oven in order to crack. I recommend portioning half the dough, rolling it in sugar and then baking. You can portion out the remaining dough while the first batch bakes, but do NOT roll it in powdered sugar until ready to bake. Store the portioned dough in the refrigerator.
Baking: Do NOT overbake the cookies. The edges and tops should not be browned at all.
Storage: Even though these cookies contain cream cheese, you do not need to refrigerate them! Store lemon cookies in an airtight container at room temperature. Cookies will stay soft and fresh for up to 5 days.
Freezer: Allow baked cookies to cool completely on wire rack. Place cookies on a cool cookie sheet. Transfer them to the freezer and flash freeze for 30 minutes. Once frozen, stack the cookies in a freezer-safe resealable bag or container. Store in freezer for up to 3 months. To serve, remove cookies from freezer at least 2 hours before enjoying.
Glaze: Instead of rolling the cookies in powdered sugar before baking, you can finish them with a lemon glaze! In a medium bowl whisk ¾ cup powdered sugar with 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice. Either drizzle over baked and cooled cookies or dip cookie tops into the glaze. Allow glazed cookies to sit for an hour so glaze can harden.
Nutritional information is an approximation based upon 24 cookies. Exact information will depend upon the brands of ingredients and precise measurements used.