Hot cross lemon cookies

For a simple 'hot cross' bake, try Angela Nilsen's buttery biscuits with cranberries and a lemony tang
By Angela Nilsen
Hot cross lemon cookies
  • Rating:
  • Serves: Makes about 20
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Prep Time: 35 minutes plus cooling and optional chilling
  • Effort: easy


For the cookies

  • 140 g butter, softened
  • 50 g golden caster sugar
  • 50 g light muscovado sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 lemon, finely grated zest only - to give 11/2 tsp zest, reserving the juice
  • 200 g plain flour
  • 50 g dried cranberries, roughly chopped
  • icing sugar, for dusting

For the crosses

  • 85 g icing sugar
  • about 2 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • edible yellow food colouring

Tips and Suggestions

If you don't have dried cranberries, try currants instead.

At other times of the year, drizzle the icing over the top instead of piping crosses. Flavour with orange instead of lemon.


1. Preheat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Line 2 baking sheets with baking parchment.

2. For the cookies: beat the butter, caster and muscovado sugars together with a wooden spoon until light and creamy. Beat in the egg yolks and lemon zest, then mix in the flour half at a time. Stir in the cranberries and work together with your hands to form a ball of dough. If it feels a bit soft, chill for about 15 minutes.

3. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of about 5mm. Cut out cookies using a 7cm round plain cutter. Re-roll any trimmings and cut out more cookies. Lay them on the baking sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes until pale golden. Remove and cool on the sheet.

4. For the crosses: make the icing while the cookies are cooling. Sift the icing sugar into a small bowl then stir in the lemon juice gradually, adding enough to make a thickish icing for piping. Colour it pale yellow with a little yellow food colouring. Spoon the icing into a small paper piping bag fitted with a small writing nozzle and pipe crosses over each cookie. Leave to set. Stored in an airtight tin, they will keep fresh for several days.

Rate This Recipe