Limoncello Cookies

THESE COOKIES GRABBED MY ATTENTION when I saw them posted at In Sock Monkey Slippers‘ website.  They are beautiful to behold, elegant to serve, and exquisite to eat.

Limoncello Cookies are simply sugar cookies that you dip in a Limoncello-infused icing, and then top with candied lemon rounds. The rounds are a cinch to make — just simmer some lemon slices in sugar and water until they become soft and sensuous.

You might like to serve these beauties at tea-time. Alternatively, you could transport them to your bedroom under the cloak of night, and ravage them with wild abandon. They make terrific bed-mates, for they neither snore nor steal the covers.

To start, take 2-3 lemons, and slice them into 24 1/8-inch-thick rounds. I used a mandoline to make perfectly-even slices, but a sharp knife will work as well. Remove the seeds.

Tip: Make extra rounds! Candied lemon slices are so delicious you’ll want to eat them out of hand.

Bring 2 cups of water and 2 cups of sugar to a boil in a medium sauce pan. Add the lemon slices, reduce the heat, and simmer until perfectly tender — about 20 minutes. (Sock Monkey says 30 minutes, but when I tried that timing, the slices disintegrated.)

Using a slotted spatula, transfer the lemons to a wire rack to cool.

To make the cookies, whisk together 1 1/4 cups of flour with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Set aside.

Using a standing or hand-held mixer, cream together 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter and 1/2 cup sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy.

Then add 1 large, beaten egg…

And 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract…

And the grated zest of one lemon.

At medium-low speed, gradually beat in the flour mixture just until incorporated.

With the aid of a pale-blue spatula, scrape the cookie dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap, and wrap it up. Chill the dough in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Now brace yourself for the next step:

Lick the blue spatula.

Cut the thoroughly chilled dough in half. Return one half of the dough to the fridge. On a lightly-floured surface, roll the other half into a circle, approximately 1/8-inch thick.

Punch out rounds of dough with a 2-inch-diameter biscuit cutter.

Transfer the rounds to a parchment-lined cookie sheet…

And bake them at 350°F until their edges start to turn brown — about 15 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.

To make the intoxicating icing, grab a medium-size bowl, and whisk together 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, 1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice, and 4 tablespoons Limoncello.

Note: Limoncello is an Italian lemon liqueur. You can find it at any liquor store, including the one that provides you with those miniature bottles of gin you like to keep in your purse.

Another note: If you live in an alcohol-free home (in which case I’ll assume you don’t have pure vanilla extract in your cabinet, because it’s booze-content is even higher than that of Limoncello), feel free to substitute lemon juice. Or, just make your icing with confectioners’ sugar and milk.

Dip the top of each cookie into the luscious icing. (Yes, I know my hand looks dirty in the photo above. But it’s only a shadow. Honest!)

Let the cookies drain on a wire rack. Or, to avoid the mess you see pictured above, set them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Place a candied lemon atop each cookie, and then let them rest for at least 20 minutes. This will give the icing a chance to firm up and lose its stickiness.
Now, Sock Monkey likes to arrange 3 yellow candy “pearls” on her Limoncello cookies. I tried this too, with white pearls, but found they were a pain to apply. Furthermore, I don’t think they are absolutely necessary, except for the sake of photography. Probably you can skip this precious adornment.

But please don’t skip-out on these cookies! They are deliciously zingy. But they are neither too tart nor too sweet.  After I made a batch the other day, I promptly ate 12 of them.


And here’s a copy-and-paste version of the above:

Limoncello Cookies
Inspired by a recipe from In Sock Monkey Slippers
For the candied lemon wheels:
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
2-3 lemons, sliced into 24 1/8-inch-thick rounds
For the sugar cookie dough:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg, beaten
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
The grated zest of 1 lemon
For the icing:
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
4 tablespoons Limoncello
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Optional garnish:
Yellow or white candy “pearls” — 3 for each cookie

The candied lemon slices — Put the water and sugar in a medium saucepan, give them a quick stir, and then bring the mixture to a boil over a medium flame. Add the lemon slices, lower the heat, and let simmer quietly until perfectly tender — 20-25 minutes. Using a slotted spatula, transfer the slices to a wire rack to cool.

The sugar cookie dough — Whisk together the flour and salt in a small bowl. Set aside. Using a standing mixer (or a hand-held mixer), cream the butter and sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy. With the mixer still running at medium speed, add the beaten egg, vanilla, and lemon zest. On “low” speed, beat in the flour mixture just until incorporated. Wrap the dough in plastic, and chill for at least 2 hours.

When you are ready to bake, place the oven rack at the lower-middle position; preheat the oven to 350°F

Forming and baking the cookies — Cut the dough in half. Return half of the dough to the fridge. On a lightly-floured surface, roll the other half into a circle, approximately 1/8-thick. Punch out rounds of dough with a 2-inch-diameter biscuit cutter. Transfer the rounds to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until the edges of the cookies start to color — about 15 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.

The Limoncello icing — In a medium bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, Limoncello, and lemon juice. Whisk vigorously to avoid lumps. The mixture should be thick enough to coat the cookies, so add more confectioners’ sugar if necessary.

Assembling the cookies — Dip the top of each biscuit into the icing. Let drain on a parchment-lined baking sheet or wire rack. Top with a candied lemon slice, and, if you are using them, 3 candy “pearls.”

Think you’ll try these nifty treats? You can let me know by leaving a comment. As always, I love hearing from you.

Don’t miss anything at A Garden for the House…sign up for Kevin’s weekly email newsletter.

More mind-numbing posts:
My Dining Room
Fougasse aux Herbes de Provence
My Very Serious Brownies


  1. stephanie hamilton says:

    oh my dear sweet baby jeebus! unbelievable! this is certainly on my list for today. i don’t think i have ever made one of your recipes that didn’t turn out absolutely fantastic. will LOVE the cookbook! which will be out…..when?

  2. Louise Brouillette says:

    I’m swooning…I need a fainting couch! They look incredible, Kevin.

  3. Kevin – Those cookies look BEAUTIFUL….and irresistable! I’m going to try making the candied lemon slices first; do you have any storage recomendations for them?

  4. Hi Sandy – Good idea to make the candied lemon slices in advance. Refrigerated in an airtight container, they will stay fresh and wonderful for at least a week.

  5. Amazing! I echo what Stephanie, Louise, and Sandy said!

  6. badger gardener says:

    Wow, those are so pretty. Can’t wait to try this recipe.

  7. Jennifer says:

    These look fantastic. And you are particularly hilarious in this post too.

  8. Jennifer says:

    They apparently so caught my eye that I dreamt about eating one last night. Hah! It was tasty. Now I really have to try out the recipe.

  9. Brenda Johnson says:

    Oh how I loved these!!!! Buttery cookies, delicious glaze and I could eat the lemon slices by the dozen!!! A bit of effort to assemble it would seem (and I thank you for being up to the task Kevin!!!) but so worth it with the stunning visual appeal these have! Impressive to be sure!!!!! Thanks for sharing!!!

  10. How did you know what I keep in my purse? 🙂 Definitely going to make these. I love lemon!

  11. Yes, I have been caught nipping the vanilla. So does that make me an alcohol free home because there is no vanilla left? Oh the wine cabinet, yes, and the bottle on the counter. Not in my purse yet……

  12. Why oh why does your blog appear on Sundays, when I’m at my weakest??? Yes, I need to make these beauties, and since we have a function to attend this week that requires I bring a “sweet”, what could be more refreshing and summer-like? Thanks Kevin.

  13. I just have to imagine this recipe and I’m over the moon! I plan to spring this one on my garden club sometime.

  14. O. M. G. These look wonderful. I truly do love lemon (in fact, that was one of our “issues” if you can believe it, living in Costa Rica — they have no real lemons. It’s so weird.) so these look right up my alley. I just bought a bag of lemons at Trader Joe’s, so can make the candied lemons today (glad to hear you can make them ahead) and then tomorrow will get some limoncello and make the cookies. Thanks, as always, for delish-looking recipes.

  15. Lori G. says:

    I’ve never tried Limoncello for anything. So I may have to purchase a smallish bottle just for these. At the very least, I am trying the candied lemon circles. I wonder if that would work with limes?

  16. Kathleen says:

    I’m going to make up a few batches of the candied lemons and cookies to store in the freezer for this Summer. Gosh, 15 min in the oven while making your yummy limoncello icing and… heaven
    for my family, guests (and me 🙂
    Thank you!!

  17. These look delicious and so refreshing. I definitely plan to make them soon. This recipe will work well for me even though I must eat gluten,dairy and soy free. I will just substitute a gf sugar cookie recipe. And use lemon juice for the limoncello as I doubt it’s gluten free. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful sounding (and looking) recipe!

  18. Hey Kat — just so you know, there are definitely GF limoncello brands out there, so you don’t *have to* give up the limoncello! Just sayin’….. 😉

  19. Judy Hines says:

    Man, do these ever look scrumptious!

  20. I am definitely making these – they look wonderful!

  21. Lynda Failla says:

    Hi Kevin, Do you know what I love about your blog? Your interest in everything and your love of life. You make me happy!

  22. Valerie C. says:

    Another great one!

  23. Oink. Ha ha ha ha

  24. Beverly, zone 6, eastern PA says:

    Every photo is a winner in this installment. Love just looking, and feeling my mouth watering.

  25. Hi Kevin, Your cookies sound yummy!
    I love to buy locally and thought of this WVA Limoncello that is to die for!
    A friend shared it with me so I haven’t had any of their other products but they sound wonderful. Check them out here.

  26. I love lemon and I love cookies, but if I made these I fear the sock monkey (“Sockie”) that Grandma made for my now 15-year-old daughter would eat them all. He can be a bit rascally.

  27. Thank you, Kevin!
    Perfect recipe for summer with my lemon-loving children.

  28. Rachel Clark says:

    Love limoncello, lemons, and sugar cookies! All together may be well nigh irresistible, but I’m making them for a baby shower next weekend and will have couches ready for swooners.

  29. I can’t wait to try this recipe. I love making candied grapefruit peel in the winter which is so delicious. Thanks for this beauty!

  30. Carole Mathieu says:

    These make a spectacular presentation. As much a pain as the pearls are to put on the cookies, they truly do make the look. I’m going to try spreading a small dot of glaze in the center to hold them on. Am I correct in assuming that cooking the lemon slices will leave enough lemon-flavored simple syrup to make a couple of refreshing drinks for our garden tour?

  31. I’ll be going to my daughters house this coming Sunday for their annual backyard barbecue. How wonderful will these be sitting atop my sparkly new crystal three tier serving dish. Oh yes, I will make these, and file the recipe under “D” for DIVINE!
    Can’t wait for your cookbook release ~ any idea of a date?

  32. Dear Kevin – I am very concerned about making your recipe as I do not seem to have, nor can I find, a light blue spatula. Am I out of luck? Sincerely, Ted 😉

  33. Kevin-
    How do you store these, on the off chance that you don’t eat them all at once?

  34. Kevin, these cookies are delicious. I’ve eaten most of them myself. Mine did not come out as pretty as yours but I’ll keep practing.

  35. Susan L. Golden says:

    I’m trying to stick to my super low carb ‘live it’, in an attempt to lose 40 lbs before they are part of my life forever! HOWEVER, these cookies are making me question how much I really want to see my feet again! Lemon is my absolute downfall and these look amazing! Unfortunately, there isn’t a single ingredient I’m allowed to have…except the BUTTER! Please tell me this recipe is in your cookbook! If not, I am writing it down for the future anyway! You simply come up with the yummiest things!

  36. Your new picture is great, much better than hands and fingers. Makes you look human.

  37. lovely 🙂

Speak Your Mind