Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Citrus Butter Cookies

These Citrus Butter Cookies were the Beginning Foods winner at this year's Stafford County Fair. (Good job, Lainey!) The judges raved about them. So I added them to my list for the bridal shower cookie trays. 

They use not 1 - not 2 - but 3 citrus fruits. Lemon, lime and orange zest and juice help give tartness to the sweet treat.

Earlier this month, my friend, Gayla, sent me an article from Midwest Living on the cookie contest at the Iowa State Fair. (Click here for a link to the magazine article.) It was interesting for a couple of reasons.

Gayla and I used to judge foods at the Kansas State Fair. I always judged the special contests - like the Spam contest (yep, that's really a thing) and the Hershey's chocolate cake contest. So she knew I'd like the story about the behind-the-scenes action at the Iowa State Fair.

She may not have known it, but it also interested me because my son-in-law's parents - Alan & Christy - have been urging us to come to the Iowa State Fair for several years now. It's never worked out in a farming schedule, but we hope to at some point. Alan just retired from Iowa State Extension and also was in extension in Kansas earlier in his career. So their involvement and love of all things "fair" (and 4-H) runs just as deep as ours - maybe even deeper.

There were 590 cookies entered in multiple categories at the Iowa fair. Those are weeded down to 65 of the best. And, ultimately, three overall winners were chosen. That particular year, it was a Mojito Bar that walked away with the champion ribbon. 

The writer and judge writes about feeling queasy by mid-morning - even just taking a bite of each cookie she judged. I can relate. I remember at the end of some more sweet-focused contests at the Kansas State Fair, I was ready for cheese curds or something salty.

Ironically, Randy & I are currently in Iowa, but we missed the 2021 Iowa State Fair (August 12-22) by a few days. We arrived for the National Master Farm Homemakers Guild convention in Des Moines on Sunday. As state president of the Kansas Master Farm Homemakers Guild, I am our state's voting delegate to the convention. Today (August 31), we're supposed to have High Tea at the Governor's Mansion, Terrace Hill (among a full day of other activities).

I wonder if they'll serve cookies ...

If you try Citrus Butter Cookies in your kitchen, let me know what you think.

 Citrus Butter Cookies
From The Pioneer Woman (via the Stafford County Fair)
2 c. (4 Sticks) Salted Butter, Softened
1 1/2 c. Sugar
2 whole Large Eggs, Separated
4 c. All-purpose Flour
3 tbsp. Orange, Lemon, And Lime Zest (approx 1 Tablespoon Each)
2 tbsp. Orange, Lemon, And/or Lime Juice (2 Tablespoons Total)
3 c. Powdered Sugar
2 tbsp. Whole Milk
2 tbsp. Orange, Lemon, And Lime Zest
Juice Of 1/2 Lime
Juice Of 1/2 Lemon
Dash Of Salt
Extra Zest, For Decorating

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream butter and sugar until combined. Add egg yolks and mix until combined (set whites aside for the icing.) Add the zest and the flour and mix until just combined, then add juice and mix until combined.

Scoop out heaping teaspoons of dough, then roll them into balls between your hands. Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 13 minutes. Remove from the oven and keep on the cookie sheet for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the pan with a spatula and allow to cool completely before icing.

To make the icing, combine 1 egg white with the rest of the icing ingredients. (See notes below.) Whisk thoroughly until combined, adding either more powdered sugar or more juice until it reaches a pourable but still thick consistency.

Drizzle the icing across the cookies in several lines, then do it again in the other direction. (I used an old-fashioned decorator tube.) Sprinkle with extra zest before the icing sets.


  • I used a cookie scoop to form uniform balls.
  • I had trouble sprinkling the zest for decorating the iced cookies. So I combined it with a tiny bit of granulated sugar so that I could more evenly distribute the zest.  
  • I did halve the recipe since I was making many varieties of cookies for the bridal shower. 
  • I used 2 tbsp. of melted butter in my frosting instead of whole milk. I like the flavor that butter adds to icing. 
  • I did NOT use the egg whites in the icing. The Pioneer Woman says if you prefer not to use raw egg whites, you could substitute meringue powder. I used neither the powder or the raw whites.



  1. Yum! Think I'll try today! Love that you share recipes you try! I use several from you!

    1. I'm glad! I don't share them unless we like them.

  2. They look delicious, as do all the cookies on the table.

    1. Thanks, Helen. The shower - and the goodies - turned out well.