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Shannon's Who-Cares-About-Chocolate Lemon Crunch Sugar Cookies

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Our latest Chow Bella showdown: a traditional holiday cookie exchange. From now through Christmas, we present Chow Bella's 12 Days of Christmas Cookies. Today: 11. Shannon Armour's Who-Cares-About-Chocolate Lemon Crunch Sugar Cookies.

I don't make cookies. Ever. I make cakes, mini cupcakes, cheesecakes, even tiny chicken pots pies but I do not make cookies.  My mom makes some of the most beautiful Christmas cookies I have ever seen, and no matter how hard I try, I just can't seem to reach the same level of perfection as that woman; so I gave up on cookies a long time ago. I mean what's the point when you can just email your awesome mom a list of which particular cookies you would like to see on the table at Christmas? 

With that said, my first instinct for the Chow Bella cookie exchange was to call my mom and have her whip up a batch of my very favorite Martha Stewart chocolate chip cookies. In fact, I did exactly that but was met with a, "Seriously Shannon, you're 32 years old. Can't you make your own cookies?". 
Not exactly the response I was looking for.  
So I was on my own and after scouring my favorite food porn sites and finding everything chocolate, I decided that lemon sugar cookies were going to be the cookies for me -- like literally, for me. I love lemon everything and no one EVER makes lemon cookies. Ever. So I took a stab at this lovely recipe from Valerie at food blog Une Gamine dans la Cuisine and they actually turned out pretty great. Chewy in middle, crispy on the edges. Perfect lemon cookies. 
Lemon Crunch Sugar Cookies
(adapted slightly from Une Gamine dans la Cuisine)

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour 
1 teaspoon of baking soda 
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1 cup ( 2 sticks ) of butter, softened to room temperature 
1 1/2 cups white sugar 
1 egg 
1/2 teaspoon of pure almond extract 
1 1/2 teaspoons PURE lemon extract (it's important to spend the extra couple dollars to get the pure stuff. The artificial stuff will make your cookies taste like skittles but not in a good way) 
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
zest of 1 lemon 
1/2 cup raw sugar for rolling cookies
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper (if you use the Martha Stewart paper, be sure the fold the edges under or else the paper might curl into your cookies. You have been warned)
In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside. 

Rub together (use your hands) the zest and granulated sugar until the sugar is a pale yellow color. This helps to infuse all of the oils in the zest into the sugar and gives your cookies an even more lemony flavor. Using a mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until smooth and very fluffy (about 3-5 minutes). 
Beat in egg, almond extract, lemon extract, and lemon juice

Gradually blend in the dry ingredients and mix until just moistened. 
Roll rounded tablespoons of dough into balls, and roll in sugar. Place on lined cookie sheets about 1 1/2 inches apart. 

Bake 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until lightly golden and set. 

Let stand on cookie sheet two minutes before removing to cool on wire racks. As soon as the cookies have cooled, store them in an airtight container to keep them nice and soft. Toss a piece of bread in with them to keep them even softer. 
Makes about 18-20 cookies
Chow Bella's 12 Days of Christmas Cookies -- so far:
Check back tomorrow for our next cookie. Have a cookie exchange recipe to share? Leave it in the comments.
Follow Chow Bella on Facebook and Twitter.

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