Citrus fruits are in season and I could not be happier. I am lucky enough to have a lemon tree in the backyard and I am putting lemons in everything these days, including desserts. Today’s project celebrates their bright colors and zesty flavors with shiny citrus slice cookies. Here is how to make them:

Citrus Slice Cookies
 

makes 12 to 24 cookies, depending on size
Ingredients
  • For each flavor (I am making 3 batches):
  • ½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 tsp citrus zest (lemon, lime, orange or grapefruit)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • For royal icing (this makes enough icing for all 3 batches of cookies):
  • One 2lbs bag of confectioner sugar
  • ⅓ cup meringue powder
  • ¾ cup water

Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add egg and mix on low speed until combined. Add citrus zest and vanilla extract and continue mixing until blended. Add flour and mix until combined. Roll out dough to ⅛ thick and cut your cookies using plain circle cutters. Use the appropriate size for each citrus flavor (i.e. smallest for lime and largest for oranges).
  2. Bake cookies for 7 minutes or until the edges start to brown.
  3. To make royal icing, combine all 3 ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix on low speed for a minute then crank up to high speed and mix for 7 to 14 minutes, depending on size. Divide the icing in 4 and add food coloring to 3 of them (yellow, green and orange).

 

Let’s first work on our dough. I am making these cookies in 3 flavors: limes, lemons and oranges. To do that, zest all 3 fruits with a microplane. Zest enough to have about 3 tbsp of each flavor:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. I am making 3 batches of this cookie recipe. One for each flavor. If that’s too many cookies for you, divide your dough in thirds before adding each zest and 1/3 of the flour.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together at medium speed until light and fluffy:

Add eggs and mix on low speed until combined. Add citrus zest and vanilla extract and continue mixing until blended:

Add flour and mix until combined:

Roll out dough between two pieces of plastic wrap to 1/8″ thick:

Refrigerate your dough for at least 1 hour.

I am using circle cookie cutters in 3 sizes. One for each flavor (i.e. smallest for lime and largest for oranges):

Bake cookies for 7 to 14 minutes, depending on size.

To recreate the shiny appeal of citrus slices, we will use a very simple technique that combines royal icing with colorful sanding sugars.

Start by outlining each cookie by a thick circle or royal icing (#2 tip) in the right color for each cookie flavor/size. This will be our rind. Let it set:

Using a #1 tip, pipe a thin circle of white icing on the inside of the previous circle. This will be our pith. Then criss cross the center of the cookie to look like the segments of the fruit. Citrus fruit generally have 8 to 10 segments (yes, I googled it):

Feel free to add seeds to some of the cookies by dotting some segments with icing:

Before moving on to the next step, have your set-up ready. Pour your sanding sugar into a bowl:

 Fill segments with colorful icing. While the icing is still wet, sprinkle sanding sugar of the same color all over each segment. The sugar will stick to the icing and give it a shiny texture:

I tried piping/dusting segments one at a time or all at once. It really didn’t make a difference.

That’s it! Enjoy!