Just to forewarn all y’all… this post is really completely unrelated to hunting. Anyway… I’ve always been a huge fan of baking. I’m not always the best at it, but I thoroughly enjoy pulling out the KitchenAid and making a mess of flour and sugar. Since my move to Northern California, I’ve discovered that my mom absolutely can’t get enough of Holiday Baking Championship, Nailed It, Cake Wars or any of the plethora of these baking competition shows on satellite and the streaming services. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that, more than my fair share of times, I’ve been pulled in wondering if Contestant A will remember chill their cake layers before applying their buttercream frosting or if the the pâte à choux in Contestant B’s croque-en-bouche will be too doughy… WHO THE HELL AM I TURNING INTO?!
Suffice to say, I was feeling inspired to do some holiday baking and add my own little twist. I combed through several recipes online and combined the different pieces I liked as well as adding my own little twist. So, in honor of the Christmas holiday, I hope y’all enjoy my recipe for some melt-in-your-mouth Lemon Vanilla MTN OPS Sugar Cookies with an Egg Yolk Glaze and Lemon Vanilla Buttercream Frosting. Damn, these really sound good. I need to go get another one before I continue writing…
… okay, I’m back. Here’s what you’ll need to get started:
3/4 Cup Shortening
3/4 Cup Sugar
1 Teaspoon Grated Lemon Zest
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla
2 Tablespoons Heavy Cream
1 3/4 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 Heaping Scoop (Appx 1/4 Cup) MTN OPS Vanilla Magnum
1 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
Glaze (Per Color)
1 Whole Egg Yolk
1 Teaspoon Water
4 Cups Powdered Sugar
1 Cup Softened Butter (Salted Sweet Cream)
2 Tablespoons Vanilla
Juice from 1/2 Lemon
2 Tablespoons Heavy Cream
You’re gonna start by mixing together the shortening, sugar, lemon zest and vanilla… be super thorough about it until it’s nice and creamy. Add in your egg and heavy cream and flip up the mixer a bit higher to make the mixture nice and fluffy.
Next, you want to sift the dry ingredients together into a separate bowl. Some people think this is overkill, but I’m anal retentive and weirdly enjoy the process of sifting. I was an idiot and forgot to to include my MTN OPS Magnum and had to add later… don’t be like me. Slowly blend the dry ingredients into the rest of the mixture a little bit at a time, making sure it all gets smoothly incorporated.
Divide the dough up into reasonably sized batches… search yourself and decide what that means to you. Flatten it between a couple sheets of wax paper and drop it into the fridge for an hour to chill (or in the freezer for twenty minutes if you’re in a hurry). While the dough is chilling, grab a beverage and go chill yourself. I went and set up my Christmas tree. ‘Tis the season.
Once both you and the dough have sufficiently chilled, lightly flour your prep surface and roll out the dough. Don’t forget to sprinkle a bit on top of your dough as well to keep your roller from sticking… extra points for sprinkling with flair. Also, at this point, you’ll want to make sure you start pre-heating your oven to 375°.
Cut out your cookie shapes, making sure to give the cookie cutter a nice little twist to separate the cookies from the rest of the dough. Trust me, it makes it quite a bit easier to peel away. I’d also recommend using a thin solid metal spatula to pick up the cut cookies. Drop the cookies on to a greased up cookie tray. Use real butter… none of this spray on non-stick crap.
Now for the egg yolk glaze… This part is optional, but it’s super simple and I find that it gives the cookies a nice, mild contrast to the sweetness of the cookie and buttercream frosting. Also, it gives you a chance to add some extra color to your cookies if you so choose. All you need to do is separate out an egg yolk into a small bowl and mix with the water. At this point, you can add a couple drops of food coloring if you want to give your glaze a bit of color. I chose to just keep mine a translucent yellow… mostly because I was lazy. Use a soft brush “paint” the cookies with the glaze mixture.
After glazing the cookies, bake at 375° for approximately six minutes. I know it doesn’t seem like long, but that’s all it takes. While the cookies bake you can start on the buttercream frosting below. But, make sure you don’t get too distracted and accidentally let the cookies start to brown. You’ll have plenty of time as the cookies need to cool fully before you add the frosting. When the cookie finish baking, pull them out and give them a minute before transferring over to a cooling rack.
Now for my favorite part… the frosting. After you try this, you’ll never return to store bought frosting again. This buttercream frosting is crazy simple and you can add whatever flavors you want to it.
Let me guess… you forgot to leave out the butter at the start of this, didn’t you? Well, no need to despair. There’s quite a few ways to quickly soften butter. Just make sure you don’t try to use cold hard butter or melted butter… it' just won’t turn out right.
Add the softened butter, vanilla, lemon juice and heavy cream and mix until it’s fully combined and creamy. I like a lot of vanilla and lemon flavor, so I tend to be a bit more generous. However, I’d recommend that you start light here and add more to taste towards the end.
Start adding the powdered sugar in slow batches, making sure it gets fully incorporated. I’m sure everyone has their own method for keeping it down, but I’m just going to warn you… prepare for a big powdered sugar mess on your counter.
At this point, you’re going to need to taste the frosting (a tedious chore, I know) to see if the flavor is where you like it. To be safe, I’d recommend tasting it several times over. At this point, you can add more vanilla or lemon juice as you feel moved. Just make sure it gets fully mixed in. Make sure to taste the frosting several more times.
Once the frosting looks fluffy and smooth and tastes just how you like it, you can add the coloring. If you want to do multiple colors, you’ll need to divide up the frosting into different bowls and mix in a drop or two at a time by hand. If you’re going for a single color, feel free to just incorporate directly into the mixer. Just remember that a few drops goes a long way.
At this point, you can decorate! Scoop the frosting into a piping bag (make sure the decorative tip goes in first) or just slather the frosting on with a knife. I went with the piping bag because I’m a fancy SOB and I’ve never tried it before. After decorating to your full satisfaction, let the cookies sit for a bit, so the frosting sets, then plate them on some super fancy glass thing that you found in the cupboard… or, hell, just throw them on a paper towel and leave ‘em on the counter. Trust me… they won’t last very long.
PREP TIME: 2 Hours
COOK TIME: 6 Minutes
SERVINGS: 15-30 (Depending on Cookie Size)
Thoroughly cream shortening, sugar, lemon zest and vanilla. Add in egg and heavy cream and beat until light and fluffy.
Sift all the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl and gradually incorporate into the cream mixture.
Divide the dough and slightly flatten between two sheets of wax paper. Refrigerate for an hour (or freeze for twenty minutes).
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface and cut out your cookies, transferring them to a greased cookie sheet.
Combine the egg yolk, water and food coloring (if desired) and brush the mixture on to the cookies.
Bake at 375 degrees for approximately six minutes. Do not let the cookies brown. Once done, remove cookies from oven and let cool completely.
Add softened butter, heavy cream, lemon juice and vanilla and combine.
Slowly add powdered sugar in batches making sure it’s completely incorporated then adjust your mixer to a slightly higher setting until the frosting appears fluffy.
Taste the frosting and mix in additional vanilla or lemon juice as taste dictates.
Gradually mix in food coloring if desired.
Slather on the frosting or scoop into a piping bag to decorate.