Light and cakey cookies similar to the classic NYC style Black and White cookies with a lemon twist! This recipe for Lemon Amerikaner uses quark to make them extra light and fluffy.
These Lemon Amerikaner are light and refreshing cookies that are like lemon cake in cookie form!
These cookies are inspired by a German cookie called an Amerikaner (American). My guess is that they were modeled after the classic black and white cookies in NYC but who knows which came first. Either way I love these giant cakey cookies!
In Germany they are traditionally a vanilla flavored cookie with a vanilla icing. But, I couldn’t resist giving these somewhat simple cookies a little flavor boost! It is after all still citrus season 🍋
These cookies are classically made with the addition of vanilla pudding powder (weird I know) or here in the US, with sour cream. For this recipe, I love using lemon quark instead (Wünder Creamery is the best European Quark that I have found)! It has wonderful lemon flavor and makes these cookies so moist and cloudlike!
Tips for making Lemon Amerikaner Cookies
- Make sure the eggs, butter, and quark are at room temperature.
- Cream butter, zest, vanilla extract, eggs and sugar together for at least 3-4 min on medium high speed until light and fluffy!
- When zesting the lemons, stop once you can see the white of the lemon. The white part is called the pith and is very bitter so you don’t want it in the cookies.
- Make sure to smooth the cookies after you have scooped them, otherwise they won’t bake up nice and soft (if needed, wet your finger to prevent the dough from sticking).
- After the cookies have been baked and cooled, do your best to keep them in an airtight container – a re-sealable plastic bag is best; if not, your cookies may dry out. I like to let the cookies cool completely and then transfer them to an airtight container if you can’t ice them right away. Once the icing is dry, place the cookies back in an airtight container.
- Unless you are certain the icing is fully dried, do not stack the cookies when storing them.
Ingredients for Amerikaner
- All Purpose Flour: Any all purpose flour will work for these! I have not yet tried any other flours with this recipe.
- Sugar: This recipe uses granulated sugar in the dough as well as powdered sugar in the icing.
- Quark: These cookies use quark instead of sour cream which make these cookies even lighter and fluffier. It also increases the protein and lowers the fat content of the cookies!
- Butter: The butter is the main source of fat for these cookies.
- Eggs: I use regular store bought large eggs.
- Baking soda & Baking powder: These act together to leaven the cookies. Just make sure that they aren’t expired
- Lemon Zest & Juice: These cookies use lots of lemon to make sure the flavor really pops. There is the zest of 2 lemons in the cookies and the juice of 1-2 lemons in the icing.
- Vanilla Extract & Salt: Both of these items add flavor to the cookies. You won’t taste either one specifically but they help to balance out the lemon and sweetness.
- Milk: Milk helps to thicken and make the icing a bit creamier. Non dairy milk will also work here!
- Meringue Powder: Meringue powder helps the icing for these cookies to thicken and harden – otherwise it would end up being more of a softer glaze. It can be difficult to find but you can usually find it in the cake decorating/sprinkles area of the grocery store.
How to make the Cookies?
- Preheat the oven to 375 F and arrange the two racks in the up and lower third of your oven.
- Prepare two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
- Add softened butter, sugar, lemon zest, salt, vanilla, and eggs to the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder.
- Once the wet ingredients are fully combined, scrape down the sides of the bowl and add in 1/4 of the dry mixture. Mix on low until just incorporated.
- Then add in 1/3 of the quark and continue mixing until fully mixed in. Scrape the bowl and continue alternating the dry ingredients and the quark until you have used both of them up!
- Using a 1/4 cup muffin scoop, scoop the cookies onto the prepared baking sheets. Do not scoop more than 5 or 6 onto a half size baking sheet as the cookies will grow quite a bit.
- Flatten the cookies to 1/4″ thick but try to maintain their circular shape. Bake the cookies for 11 to 12 min, rotating after 8 minutes to ensure even browning.
- Remove the baking sheets from the oven and place on wire racks to cool for 5 min. Then transfer the cookies to cooling racks to cool completely before icing them.
Icing the Lemon Amerikaner:
- To make the icing, whisk together the powdered sugar and meringue powder in a medium bowl.
- Add in the milk followed by the juice of 1 lemon. Whisk together until you have a smooth but thick icing. Add more lemon juice as needed but make sure to keep a thick consistency otherwise it will run off the edge of the cookies.
- To ice the cookies, flip them over so the flat side is face up. Using a spoon, scoop about 1-2 Tbsp. of icing onto the flat side of the cookie and moving in a circular motion, spread the icing all over the cookie with the back of the spoon.
- Allow the icing to harden and then place the cookies (unstacked) in an airtight container for storage.
- Stand Mixer
- 230 grams butter room temp
- 250 grams granulated sugar
- 2 lemons zested
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 eggs room temp
- 8 oz lemon quark
- 560 grams ap flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 456 grams powdered sugar
- 40 grams meringue powder
- 4 tsp milk
- 2 lemons juiced
- Preheat the oven to 375 F (350 F if convection)
Creaming Wet Ingredients
- Cream together the butter, sugar, vanilla extract, lemon zest, eggs and salt in a mixing bowl with the paddle attachment for about 3-4 minutes on medium speed.
Adding in the Dry Ingredients & Quark
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
- Add in the dry ingredient mix and the quark alternating between the two. So, start with approx. 1/4 of the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Then add 1/3 of the quark and mix again. Continue this process until you have used up all of the dry mixture and the quark – make sure to scrape down the bowl and paddle frequently. Start and end with the dry mixture and there should be a total of 3 additions of quark.
Scooping and Baking
- Scoop the dough using a muffin scoop or a 1/4 cup cookie scoop. *Note if you want this recipe to make 2 dozen, scoop cookies that are approximately 54 grams each.
- Place onto the baking lined baking sheet, make sure to give them quite a bit of space. I usually fit about 5 or 6 on a half size baking sheet.
- Gently flatten the cookies until they are between 1/4" and 1/2" thick. I find it can be helpful to dip my fingers in water to prevent the dough from sticking. Then, with damp fingers, smooth out the edges of each cookie. This helps to prevent the "texture" from browning too quickly.
- Bake the cookies for 11 to 12 min. If not convection, rotate the cookies after about 8 min to make sure they brown evenly. These cookies should stay relatively pale in color.
- Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 min, then transfer the cookies to cooling racks and allow them to cool completely.
- After the cookies have cooled fully (about 15-20 min). They are ready to be iced!
- Whisk together the powdered sugar, meringue powder, and milk. Then slowly add in the lemon juice (you might not need it all). This icing should be relatively thick as you don't want it running off the edges of the cookies.
- Using a spoon, spread a heaping tablespoon of icing onto the BOTTOM/ FLAT SIDE of each cookie. Place each cookie icing side up on a cooling rack and allow the icing to set and harden.