Iced Lemon Jumbles

My interest in cookies began many decades ago as I explored the unusual pastry recipes that were developed during the 17th and 18th centuries. Those early bakers didn’t have all the modern conveniences we now think of as commonplace.  Instead, they used their ingenuity to explore shapes and textures.

smaller jumbles file

These Iced Lemon Jumbles are a modern adaptation of just such a recipe. Nancy Baggett is my favorite pastry chef and author.  In her classic, The All-American Cookie Book, she explains the evolution of the ‘jumble’.  First, what is a “jumble“?

They are crisp, definitely buttery sugar cookies and in this case, dipped in a lemon-y, sugar glaze. Because of the evolution of cookies, their ‘ring’ shapes, and how cooks changed the methodology over the years, have gone from rings with holes in the middle, to solid rounds, and now back to the original shapes.   But instead of using the rolling pin to create the round shape, the ‘jumble’ is now shaped from ropes of dough, rolled by hand and looped to make the classic shape.  The dough is easy to work with and gives the jumble a fantastic, handmade finish!  Perfect for the home cook that loves making something a bit different.  And, they are a great project to do with your kids!

2 3/4 Cups all-purpose white flour
1 teas. cream of tartar
1/2 teas. baking soda
1/2 teas. salt 1 Cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened
Scant 1 Cup sugar
1 large egg
Generous 1 Tbl. finely grated lemon zest
1 Tbl. fresh lemon juice 1 teas. almond extract

1 1/2 Cups powdered sugar
1 Tbl. unsalted butter, very warm but not melted
1-2 Tbls. fresh lemon juice, room temp or slightly warm
1/2 teas. corn syrup 2 drops almond extract
1-2 drops yellow food coloring (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly spray several baking sheets with cooking spray and fit with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, thoroughly stir together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In another large bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat together the butter, sugar, egg, lemon zest, lemon juice and almond extract until light and well blended. Beat or stir in the flour mixture until evenly incorporated.

smaller making the ringGather up the dough and shape it into a ball. Cut it into quarters. Shape each quarter into a flat disk. Score each disk into quarters, then cut into 12 wedges. Roll each wedge between your palms and a work surface to form an evenly thick 4 1/2 – 5 inch-long rope.  Bring the ends of each rope together and press firmly to create a ring. Place on the baking sheet spacing about 1 1/2 inches apart.

Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, in the middle third of the oven for 8 – 12 minutes, or until just faintly browned at the edges. Reverse the tray half-way through the baking.

Using a spatula, immediately move the cookies to a wire baking rack to cool completely.


In a small bowl, stir together the powdered sugar, butter, 2-3 teaspoons lemon juice, corn syrup, almond extract and food coloring (if using). Mix until smooth and well blended.  If needed thin the mixture with very small amounts of lemon juice to get the perfect glaze consistency.

Place waxed paper under wire racks to catch any drips. Dip the tops of each jumble in the glaze and set on the wire racks to dry.  It takes about 1 hour for the glaze to set completely!

Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 2 months.

ENJOY! Another wonderful ‘sweet’ experience from WOW! Cookies!

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