Makes about 18 cookies
Processing the lemon zest with the sugar helps distribute the lemon flavor.
Process together in a food processor about 15 seconds:
2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
Beat with an electric mixer
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
Lemon sugar from above
Add and mix:
1 large egg
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Whisk together, then add and beat to incorporate:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill until firm. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough out on a lightly floured counter to 1/4 inch thickness and cut with your favorite Ann Clark cookie cutters, then transfer cookies onto cookie sheets that have been lined with parchment paper or silicone liners. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, until very lightly browned around the edges. Let cookies cool slightly on cookie sheets, then transfer to a wire rake to cool completely. Decorate, if desired, before serving.
Melt 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, mix with 3 cups confectioners' sugar, 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice and a pinch of salt to smooth.