Merry Meyer Lemon Cookies

This holiday season is flying by way too fast.

I wish I had time to bake all the cookies I did last year. Instead, I’m prioritizing my crowd favorites. Meyer lemon and pistachio shortbread cookies have become my most-requested cookie the past couple years. Our Meyer lemon tree is dripping with fruit, begging to be included in holiday baking.
I first started baking these according to my friend Coley’s recipe, which makes a delicate sandwich cookie kissed with cardamom. They’re so sophisticated they outshine all the others in the tin. I’m sorry Coley, but each year I get lazier with this recipe. They now look much less elegant, but your lovely Meyer lemon and pistachio shortbread is still under there. This year I jazzed them up with hibiscus, which has become a gimmick around here. I couldn’t help myself. It was supposed to be a red, white, and green thing. They turned out more Lisa Frank. My favorite way to bake cookies goes like this: I spend one day mixing all the dough. I let it chill in the fridge until I’m ready to bake, and that might be several days later. There’s proof this improves the flavor of your cookies. When I’m ready to bake, I heat up the oven and bake dozen after dozen, allowing them to cool on every surface in my kitchen and dining room. A house filled with fresh-baked cookies is my happy place. Rolling and cutting out dough really slows down the process for me, so I adapted this as a “slice-and-bake” cookie. I roll the dough into two logs wrapped in plastic. You can place the logs in a cardboard paper towel roll, or wrapping paper rolls, or two glasses. This helps hold the round shape. They still get a little wonky, but having one flat side on every cookie looks too amateur even for me.Now all you have to do is slice them 1/4-inch thick and bake. Decorating is optional. Maybe they look better without the icing, but come on, let’s get festive. For the red (okay, pink) icing, it’s dried hibiscus steeped in hot water. For the white, it’s a little fresh Meyer lemon juice for flavor. The easiest way, especially if you have little elves helping, is to dip the tops of the cookies in the icing. Spread with a teaspoon or spatula if you prefer. Sprinkle on some finely chopped pistachios. Drizzle on the contrasting icing for fun. The icing dries well enough to be packed in tins between parchment or wax paper. Merry Meyer lemon cookies, for lazy bakers and happy cookie eaters. 

Merry Meyer Lemon Cookies
For the Cookies
  1. 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  2. 1/3 cup sugar
  3. 3/4 teaspoon salt
  4. 1 tablespoon Meyer lemon zest
  5. 1 teaspoon Meyer lemon juice
  6. 1 tablespoon very finely chopped dried hibiscus petals
  7. 1/3 cup shelled pistachios, very finely chopped
  8. 2 1/2 cups flour
For the Hibiscus Icing
  1. 1/3 cup dried hibiscus petals
  2. 1 (+/-) cup powdered sugar
  3. 2 teaspoons corn syrup
For the Meyer Lemon icing
  1. 1 cup (+/-) powdered sugar
  2. 2 teaspoons corn syrup
  3. 1 tablespoon (+/-) fresh Meyer lemon juice
  1. 1/3 cup shelled pistachios, very finely chopped
Make the Cookie Dough
  1. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the salt, Meyer lemon zest, and Meyer lemon juice, then beat until incorporated. Add pistachios and dried hibiscus. Blend, then slowly add the flour and mix on low speed until just incorporated.
  2. Divide dough in half. Place each half on a sheet of plastic wrap. Roll each into a log, about 9 inches long and 1 1/2 inches thick. Tie the ends. Place each log inside a paper towel roll, wrapping paper roll (cut in half if needed) or inside two drinking glasses. Chill in the fridge overnight or up to a few days.
Bake the Cookies
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line two sheet pans with parchment.
  2. Slice dough 1/4-inch thick. Place on parchment, leaving at least a half inch between each cookie.
  3. Bake cookies for about 15-20 minutes, rotating pans halfway. Once they're lightly golden, remove and transfer to racks to cool.
Make the icing and decorate
  1. Hibiscus Icing.
  2. Place the hibiscus petals in a measuring cup. Pour boiling water over just to cover. Allow to cool completely.
  3. Once cooled, mix one tablespoon of the steeped hibiscus tea, strained, into the powdered sugar, along with corn syrup. Mix until smooth. Add more hibiscus tea to thin it, or powdered sugar to thicken, according to your preference and icing technique.
  4. Meyer Lemon icing.
  5. Mix the lemon juice, powdered sugar, and corn syrup in a bowl until smooth. Add more lemon juice to thin it, or more powdered sugar to thicken it, according to your preference or icing technique.
  6. Either spread on top of each cookie with a spoon or dip the cookie tops in the icing.
  7. Sprinkle on pistachios immediately before the icing sets.
  8. Use a spoon to drizzle contrasting icing over the tops if you like.
  9. Allow the cookies to cool on racks completely and make sure the icing is dry before packing in tins between wax paper or parchment.
Suwannee Rose

10 Comments Merry Meyer Lemon Cookies

  1. Juliet December 15, 2019 at 3:23 pm

    OMG Meyer lemon and cardamom! And a shortbread cookie? Amazing! I love your way of mixing one day and cooking another, divides the labor AND improves the flavor-brilliant! Cheers, Juliet

  2. Evangelia December 15, 2019 at 3:26 pm

    They look delicious! Love the idea of the glasses put together for the dough. I agree sometimes there is so much dough when baking and simply putting it in the fridge is an excellent option. Happy Holiday!

    1. suwanneerose December 16, 2019 at 4:28 pm

      Thank you, Evangelia! I promise I’m saving some of these lemons for you.

  3. Misti December 15, 2019 at 9:28 pm

    Ah, perfect! Our lemon tree produced for the first time this year and I have been wondering what to make! I’ll be making these later this week!

    1. suwanneerose December 16, 2019 at 4:27 pm

      Woohoo! First crop of lemons, what a wonderful gardener’s Christmas gift. I’m honored you’re using them on these cookies, Misti.

      1. Angela December 16, 2019 at 7:04 pm

        I’m going to make these tomorrow. But, I was wondering if you have tried using fresh calyxes. My hibiscus plants are loaded and ready to pick (again). I’m sure they’ll work for the frosting, but do you think it would be too much added moisture in the cookie dough?

        1. suwanneerose December 17, 2019 at 8:44 am

          I would have preferred to use fresh calyxes, but I was afraid of the same thing. Shortbread dough has to be so dry. You might be able to get away with a small amount.. or even dried in the oven prior? You’re right, no doubt they’ll work for frosting. Let me know how it goes!

  4. Coley December 19, 2019 at 9:54 am

    Between you and me, I also no longer have the patience to roll and cut out perfect circles and individually fill them with cream. Cheers to laziness and perfectly imperfect Meyer lemon cookies!!

    1. suwanneerose December 19, 2019 at 11:54 am

      Well thanks for that. I’m trying out those dreamy toffee chocolate chip cookies you just posted. Let’s see how I trash them up! Cheers!

Comments are closed.