Browned Butter Cream Cheese Lemon Crinkle Cookies Recipe

I made my browned butter cream cheese lemon crinkle cookies recipe so many times to perfect it, and I reckon I've finally nailed it.

I originally just wanted to make lemon crinkle cookies from scratch (many recipes call for boxed lemon cake mix but I couldn't find any), but it evolved each time I made it. The final result was these rich, chewy browned butter cream cheese lemon crinkle cookies, enriched with nutty browned butter and full fat cream cheese. Yum.

I also made homemade candied lemon peel from scratch for these, which I'll show you how to do in this recipe. But although it is super easy, it does take a little while to make – so I've also provided the quantity of candied peel you'll need to use in the cookie batter if you'd prefer to skip the extra step and use store-bought candied peel.

You can also watch me make these on my YouTube channel:

Ready? Let's go.

(Makes about 35 cookies.)

Ingredients for Candied Lemon Peel:

2 large lemons
Water for boiling
150g caster sugar
150ml water

Ingredients for Cookies:

150g unsalted butter
150g full-fat cream cheese
1 egg
200g caster sugar
1 lemon (zest and juice)
Your candied lemon peel (85g if you'd prefer to use store-bought candied peel)
300g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
A small bowl of icing sugar for rolling

Ingredients for Lemon Icing (Optional):

150g icing sugar (I use the leftover icing from rolling the cookies)
2–3 tbsp lemon juice (reserved from the peeled lemons)
A drop of yellow food colouring


1. Start by making the candied lemon peel. Cut the lemons into quarters and slice off the peel. Juice the remaining fruit, discard the pulp and keep the juice aside to make the icing later.

2. Cut the peel into strips, and boil in a small pan of water for 15 minutes. Drain and discard the water, rinse the peel strips under fresh water, and boil them in a new pan of water for a further 15 minutes. Drain again. This will get rid of the harsher bitterness of the pith.

3. Bring the 150g sugar and 150ml water to a boil together until dissolved, and add your drained and blanched peel strips. Simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the white pith on the peel becomes translucent. Leave to cool completely in the syrup, then drain and discard the syrup (or keep to use for lemonade or another recipe), and place the peel strips on a wire rack to dry overnight. Or, you can pop them on a non-stick paper-lined baking sheet and dry them in the oven on its lowest setting for about an hour. Chop the dried peel into little pieces (it'll still be a bit sticky).

4. Next, make the cookies. Brown the butter by melting it in a small pan and bring to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally. Keep simmering until it turns golden brown and smells nutty, take off the heat, and leave to cool completely.

5. In a large bowl, stir the cream cheese and egg together, followed by the browned butter and sugar.

6. Stir in half of the flour, along with the baking powder and salt.

7. Stir in the lemon juice and zest, and the chopped candied peel, followed by the rest of the flour, so you have a very soft dough/stiff batter.

8. Take a small spoonful (about just under a tablespoonful) of the batter and roll it in the icing sugar, so you have a well-coated ball. Place on a baking tray lined with nonstick baking paper. Repeat until all the batter has been used up, placing each ball about 3–4cm apart to give the cookies room to spread.

8. Bake for 10–12 minutes, until just starting to brown at the edges but still pale on top. Leave to cool completely.

9. To make the icing, gradually stir the lemon juice into the icing sugar until you have a thick but drizzle-able icing – you may need a little more or a little less lemon juice. Stir in the food colouring, and drizzle or pipe over the cooled cookies.

10. Let the icing set for 5–10 minutes and serve.

Enjoy, and have fun.


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