This unofficial copycat of Ham and Goodys Lemon Cookies are inspired by the famous original from the Ham 'N Goody's sandwich shop and bakery located in Knoxville, TN. When you can't get your hands on the real thing, you will LOVE this version you can make right at home!
What is Ham and Goody's?
I realize that most of my readers reside outside of Knoxville, TN, so let me tell you all about this well-loved sandwich shop and bakery. Ham and Goody's (or Ham 'N Goody's, technically) was opened in 1978 by Emily and Leroy Shoemaker. Over the years it has grown and expanded with a larger menu and several locations in the area.
I've had many lovely lunches there, but the Ham and Goodys lemon cookies are what everyone talks about. They're kinda perfect with a sharp, fresh lemon flavor that is out of this world. If you're ever in Knoxville, I recommend you make it a point to stop in, even if the only thing you buy are the cookies.
While recreating an exact replica is never as 100% perfect as buying the real thing, developing copycat recipes is one of my favorite things to do when creating blog posts for you guys. What I have for you here is a soft yet sturdy lemony sugar cookie topped with a potent sweet lemon glaze. I used only fresh lemon juice and zest to flavor these cookies - nothing artificial - and I think it shows.
Ok, Just Tell Me If I Have To Chill The Dough
It's so funny how cookie recipes that call for a long chill time for the dough can send so many people running for the hills. I get it! It's such a pain to find a recipe that looks amazing only to find that it's gonna take half a day (or sometimes an overnight) to have the cookies in your hands.
But have no fear, this dough does not need chilling, so you can dig into this recipe and go straight through from mixing to rolling to cutting to baking without any long breaks in between (except for letting the warm cookies cool before glazing, of course)
Make Any Shape You Want
I used a 2-inch round cookie cutter to create about 30 cookies, but you can use any shape and size of cutter for your cookies. Dough consistency is extremely important when using cutters with more intricate shapes, because you don't want the cookies to spread too much in the oven and lose their shape.
Make sure your dough isn't sticky or difficult to work with when rolling it out and cutting (working in a tad extra flour before rolling can help).
Refrigerating the cut-out shapes before baking can also help prevent spreading in the oven. Give them a few hours at least.
Don't Stop Here! Give My Lemon Oatmeal Crumble Bars a Try!
Other Tips For Success
This copycat recipe for Ham and Goodys Lemon Cookies is simple and not too fussy, but here are some possible pitfalls and tips to help make your cookies the best they can be!
- Dough Consistency. If your dough is too sticky, you'll have a big mess when you try to roll it out and cut your cookie shapes. This all comes down to accuracy when measuring ingredients. Thankfully, these cookies are forgiving. If your dough is too sticky, work in a little extra flour (just use a teaspoon or so at a time) until the dough is slightly tacky but easy to work with. If the dough is chalky and dry, mix in a teaspoon or so of any kind of milk.
- Don't Cream Butter and Sugar too Much. When making a cake, you're probably used to recipes instructing you to cream the heck out of the butter and sugar. In cake recipes, you want to introduce a lot of air into the batter to encourage cakes to be light and airy. With these cookies, you don't want them to have a cake-like texture, so only cream the butter and sugar enough for it to be fully mixed together.
- Don't Overbake. If you wait until you have browned edges on the cookies, you may have left them in the oven just a touch too long. You want the cookies to be set, but not golden. Don't try to transfer them to a cooling rack straight out of the oven - they'll fall apart too easily. Instead, let them cool on the pan for 5 minutes and then use a thin metal spatula to scoop them up and transfer them to the rack.
How To Juice and Zest Lemons
Did you know there's a correct and not-so-correct way to zest a lemon or any kind of citrus? How about tips for getting the lemon to release extra juice? There sure is!
- Extra Juicy. Did you know that pressing your palm onto your lemons and firmly rolling against the . countertop will help release more juice? Try it!
- Don't Zest Too Deep. Use a light hand when zesting lemons. You only want to scrape off the bright yellow part of the skin. The white spongy stuff underneath - the pith - is very bitter and could add an unpleasant flavor to your cookies.
- Shop Smart. When selecting lemons, look for ones with a bright yellow color free from dark marks, green areas, or other discoloration. Don't be afraid to give them a squeeze, you want to find one that feels dense and that gives in slightly then pressed.
Fun Flavor Variations
This copycat recipe for Ham and Goodys Lemon Cookies are pretty perfect just as they are, but did you know you can swap out other citrus flavors for an entirely new experience?
Instead of using lemons, try using limes or oranges! Yum!
Storage and Freezing Instructions
How To Store Lemon Cookies: Once the glaze has fully hardened, store cookies in an airtight storage container at a cool room temperature. They will keep for 3-5 days for best quality.
Freezing Instructions: Once glaze has set, place into a zip-top freezer safe bag and freeze for up to 3 months. This time is for best quality only. When properly frozen, cookies will be safe to thaw and eat after this point.
Thawing Instructions: Remove desired number of cookies from freezer and let thaw on countertop. They will thaw quickly!
After freezing, the glaze won't be as pretty and shiny as it was when the cookies were fresh, but they'll still be delicious!
Can't get enough lemon? Try my Lemon Lime Snowdrop Cookies!Print
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Thank you so much for visiting my blog! Leave a comment below if you make this recipe and let me know what worked/didn't work for you!