2 teaspoons (about 8 grams) baking powder
1 (8-ounce/226-gram) package cream cheese, such as Philadelphia, softened
½ cup (1 stick/113 grams) unsalted butter, softened
1½ cups (300 grams) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons (12 grams) freshly grated lemon zest, from 2 large lemons
1½ tablespoons (22.5 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon (a few drops) lemon oil, such as Boyajian -Omit for gluten-free variation.
1/8 teaspoon natural yellow gel based food coloring, such as CHEFMASTER
1 teaspoon (5 grams) kosher salt, or ¾ teaspoon regular table salt
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk (mine weighed 71 grams w/o shells)
1 cup (120 grams) confectioners’ sugar, sifted, for rolling & dusting cookies
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder until well blended. Set aside.
Using an electric stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, or handheld electric mixer, cream
together cream cheese and butter until well blended, creamy and smooth. Beat in sugar, lemon zest and juice, vanilla, lemon oil, food coloring and salt; mix until well combined, light and fluffy, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula when necessary. Add egg and egg yolk and beat in well until creamy and light, about 1 to 2 minutes on medium speed.
On low speed, gradually add flour mixture and mix until just fully incorporated. Dough will be very sticky. Cover work bowl and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
Meanwhile, arrange oven rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 325ºF (165ºC). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Place confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl; set aside.
Measure enough dough to roll into generous 1-inch balls, using a 1 1/3-inch spring-loaded cookie scoop (or by measuring a generous tablespoon of dough with a measuring spoon) making sure each scoopful is in equal amounts. This is important for evenly baked cookies.
Roll dough between palms of hands to achieve a small rounded ball and then roll in confectioners’ sugar to lightly coat. Place dough balls on prepared baking sheets at least 2 inches apart.
Bake in preheated oven until cookies have spread into round cookie shapes and are puffed and crackly, about 14 minutes. Do not overbake. The cookies will still be soft in the centers. If they start to brown around the edges, they have baked too long. The underside of the cookies should be only very lightly browned.
Transfer to wire rack and allow cookies to cool completely on baking sheet. Once completely cooled, carefully remove cookies from baking sheet using a thin metal cookie spatula and transfer to an airtight container. Repeat with remaining dough on prepared cookie sheets.
If desired, chill the cookies in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Before serving, dust cookies with additional confectioners’ sugar. Serve cookies chilled or at room temperature.