The perfect bright and cheery healthier cookies for spring! This soft lemon cookie recipe is vegan and gluten-free, turned into a sandwich filled with rich lemon icing that soaks into the cookies for a taste that tantalizes your taste buds!
Last Christmas as we walked through holiday festivities stores opened their doors to serve cookies and hot chocolate. My youngest had a major obsession with yellow lemon cookies with green sugar sprinkles on top that he spotted right away. Ever since then lemon cookies are his new cookie obsession second to chocolate chip cookies.
These healthier cookies can be served with the icing on top of one cookie or turned into sandwich cookies. And they are a delicious treat to serve on a holiday cookie tray or packed in school lunches, and for an after-dinner dessert treat! These are so good that at least once a week my kids request, “Mom, can we make that soft lemon cookie recipe with the icing inside?”! All the ingredients are natural (except for the powdered sugar icing) and they are low fat. Better yet, serve them with a tasty glass of lavender lemonade or turmeric lemonade to wash the goodness down!
Lemon Cookies: Texture
This soft lemon cookie recipe is made vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free has a soft “sink your teeth into” “melt in your mouth” texture rather than a crispy texture. They are filled with zesty and sweet lemon icing that is easy to make, because sandwich cookies are the best! (It is like saying you “only had one cookie”, when really, we all know its two😊.)
The royal icing can be made more runny (which falls off the edges) or thicker like fondant or the inside of an Oreo cookie by simply adding more or less water with confectioners’ sugar. After about 30 minutes the icing hardens to a creamy consistency.
Gluten-Free Vegan Cookies: Ingredients
These cookies are made with gluten-free flour, tapioca flour, lemon zest, lemon extract, baking powder, salt, maple syrup and vegan butter.
How to make this soft lemon cookie recipe
First let the butter set to room temperature. In a large bowl mix the ingredients to form a dough. Wrap the dough in plastic and set in the refrigerator for about 1 hour to harden.
Sticky dough: When the dough is refrigerated it brings the flavors together, but the dough will be slightly sticky where it is tricky to roll out. Therefore, place parchment paper on the counter and generously add tapioca flour. Place the dough down and add a dash more tapioca flour to the top of the dough and rolling pin. Roll the dough out to ¼ thick. At this point the tapioca flour will have been mostly absorbed leaving the dough manageable to cut out.
Using a circular cookie cutter (1.5 to 2-inch round, I used 1.5), cut out the dough and carefully transfer to a lined baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. As you cut out the cookies from the dough you will have leftover batter, so just rolling out again flouring the surface if needed with tapioca flour. Continue doing this until all of the dough is used.
While the first batch of cookies is baking in the oven, make the icing. Add confectioners’ sugar with 1-2 tablespoons of water, lemon zest and lemon extract.
Icing Results based off water used
1 tablespoon water – thick icing like fondant. Roll into balls with hands and flatten then place on cookie.
1 ½ tablespoons water – slightly thin yet still thick enough to using in a piping bag to disperse. May need to spread and flatten with hands. This is the amount used in these cookies pictured.
2 tablespoons water – runny and will melt on sides of the cookies and harden. The moisture blends into the cookie still making it tasty.
If you prefer an icing recipe that is all natural without refined sugar to fill the cookies, I suggest the one used in my lemon yogurt cake that is made with maple syrup, tapioca flour and coconut oil.
How long do these cookies last
These gluten-free cookies will last for 5 days on the counter in a sealed container. They are best served right away and do slowly get more dry as each day passes.
More gluten-free cookie recipes to make!
Soft Lemon Filled Cookie Recipe (Vegan and Gluten-Free)
For The Soft Lemon Cookies
For The Lemon Icing
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1-2 tablespoons warm water
- ½ teaspoon lemon extract
- ½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
- Preheat the oven 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, combine the maple syrup, butter, lemon zest, and lemon extract. Stir in the gluten-free flour, tapioca flour, baking powder, and salt until it forms a dough. Wrap the dough in parchment paper or wax paper and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Lay parchment paper on the counter and sprinkle generously with tapioca flour. Place the dough on top and sprinkle lightly the rolling pin and dough with tapioca flour. Roll the dough to about ¼ inch thick. Using a 1.5-inch round cookie cutter, cut the dough into rounds. Repeat with remaining edges until all of the dough is complete (will be about 36 cookies). Divide the cookies between the 2 prepared baking sheets and bake for 8 minutes. Let cool for 3 minutes on the pan, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
To Make The Lemon Icing
- Once the cookies have cooled, in a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the sugar, 1 tablespoon of water, lemon extract, and zest on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add up to 1 more tablespoon of water if needed, ½ tablespoon at a time. Pipe or spread the icing over the inside of each cookie. Flip one cookie over the other to form a sandwich.