Whole Wheat Citrus Cookies

glazed-citrus-cookieWinter, and especially “historically epic” snow storms that are a total bust, requires citrus. And cookies. Or maybe the best of both worlds: citrus cookies.

Now a glazed lemon cookie is hardly revolutionary. There are already 62 million recipes (no, really!) out there in the wide, wide world. But a couple of things make these cookies a bit unique: first, I made them with whole wheat flour. And that doesn’t mean that I added a ¼ cup of whole wheat flour to a mostly-white-flour cookie: these are 100% whole wheat and yet neither dense, nor bitter, nor affectedly hipster. Secondly, I used a mix of citrus flavors. Also not rocket science, but I found a mix of red grapefruit & Meyer lemon to be a much more compelling (and delicious) cookie than straight-up lemon. Lastly? There’s some funky glaze action going on up there. While you’ve got your classic – Meyer lemon juice, zest & confectionery sugar – you’ve also got your slightly-bitter-but-delicious Red Rio grapefruit version, and your somewhat-wacky-and-savory-but-awesome Meyer lemon, fresh bay & coarse sea salt version. Take that, Martha!

If you have your own favorite lemon cookie recipe, but you like the idea of an herb-inflected slightly savory glaze, run with it. There are as many lemon cookie recipes as there are people who bake, apparently. I will say that this particular recipe worked very well with whole wheat flour: crisp and light on the outside, chewy on the inside, with a nice light texture that can be difficult to achieve with whole grain flours. And, I like these cookies just fine with no glaze at all: not overly sweet, they are still satisfying and punchily citrusy, the perfect mate to an afternoon cup of tea. But the fun thing about your basic liquid + confectionery sugar glaze is that it’s so easy to customize: make it thin & runny, make it thick like frosting. Add zest or not. Add juice or milk or heavy cream or booze(!). Use herbs, or spices, or top with flaky sea salt. Glaze once, or twice, or three times. Go nuts! I’ve given you some basic starting points below (which will create small amounts of glaze; just enough for a few cookies): taste and adjust and experiment to your heart’s content. Before you know it, winter will be over! Or, at the very least, you’ll convince yourself that you need another box of lemons.

Adapted from Glazed Lemon Cookies by Martha.

glazed-citrus-cookieWhole Wheat Citrus Cookies



  • 9 oz (2 cups) whole white wheat flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ sea salt
  • zest of 2 medium Meyer lemons
  • zest of 1 large red grapefruit
  • 6 oz (a generous ¾ cup) granulated sugar (I used raw)
  • 4 oz (1 stick, ½ cup) butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tbsp Meyer lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon extract


Basic Citrus Glaze

  • 1 – 2 tsp finely grated citrus zest, packed
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed citrus juice
  • ¼ cup confectionery sugar

In a small bowl, combine ingredients and whisk rapidly with a fork. Adjust thickness and/or sweetness by adding more juice or sugar, as desired.

Meyer Lemon Bay Glaze

  • a generous pinch of coarse sea salt (or Meyer lemon salt)
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • zest from 1 medium Meyer lemon
  • 1 tbsp Meyer lemon juice
  • ¼ cup confectionery sugar

To the bowl of a mortar & pestle, add the salt, bay, and lemon zest. Grind thoroughly until the bay leaf is in tiny pieces (tinier than mine above; I was impatient and losing the light). Add lemon juice and sugar. Mix well. Taste and adjust sweetness or thickness by adding more juice or sugar, as desired.


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or Silpat.
  2. In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside. Add the sugar, lemon and grapefruit zest to the bowl of a food processor. Process until wet and well combined, about 1 minute.
  3. In large bowl (or stand mixer), cream together butter & zested sugar. Add egg, lemon juice, and lemon extract. Mix to combine. Add flour in three batches, mixing on low speed until each batch is incorporated.
  4. Drop by level tablespoonful onto prepared baking sheets with 2 inches in between cookies. Bake in the preheated oven, turning once halfway through baking time, until cookies are golden brown at the edges, about 15 minutes. Cool on sheet for 2 to 3 minutes, then remove to cool completely on wire racks before applying any glaze.

Yields about 3 dozen, 2 ½-inch cookies.


  1.  Whole wheat flour works perfectly here: the nuttiness of the whole wheat and the molasses flavor of raw sugar eliminate the need for vanilla and allow you to punch up the citrus flavor with lemon extract. The structure of the cookie does not suffer, as these are light and crisp, with a chewy center.
  2. Any combination of citrus flavors can work here: I think lemon-lime would be a nice, classic interpretation, or tangerine-Meyer lemon. As I say above, I tried it with a single citrus (Meyer) and didn’t find the cookies nearly as interesting or delicious.
  3. Out of citrus season, this would be a great use for any citrus sugar you have kicking around.


At room temperature, lightly covered with a clean tea towel, for up to 5 days.




  1. Peggy

    Its supposed to be a bit chilly tomorrow so I foresee some baking taking place added to the fact that I have a lemon and lime which desperately need using! 🙂

  2. These look delicious! I just made {yet another!} citrus dessert, a Meyer lemon olive oil cake, and it is begging for a good glaze on top. Thanks for the basic glaze recipe. I am thinking of doing a thyme + marmalade glaze with your ratio. Guess that’s kind of good that you didn’t actually get a huge amount of snow a couple days ago. Here in CO, we were “promised” partly cloudy skies with a slight risk of rain. Well, we received about 8″ of snow and super chilly temps! If only our weather-casters could deliver as much as a good cookie recipe could! 😉

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