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Savannah Smiles Recipe

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This copycat for Savannah Smiles is a must-try! The sugar dusted lemon cookies are bite sized, melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness that taste almost identical to the discontinued girl scout cookie.

We’re obsessed with Girl Scout cookies. Be sure to try our homemade Thin Mints and Samoa Cookies!

white plate stacked with a pile of lemon cookies with sliced lemon on the side

Recipe Features

  • Quick and Easy: These come together in minutes and are out of the oven in 10.
  • Freezer Friendly: Make the dough and keep it in the freezer for a quick sweet fix.

Lemon shortbread cookies are my all-time favorite Girl Scout cookie. I would buy box upon box of the Savannah Smiles and was absolutely devastated when I found out they were discontinued. It became my mission to recreate the recipe so I could make them at home, and boy am I glad I did. These are beyond simple to make and one batch makes over 50 cookies!

In case you aren’t familiar, Savannah Smiles, or the Girl Scout lemon cookies recipe, was a shortbread based cookie that was filled with lemon flavor. Shaped into a half circle, or smile, and rolled in powdered sugar after baking. It is dreamy for any citrus lover. This lemon shortbread recipe checks all of those boxes making it the ULTIMATE copycat.

cookie dough being pressed down by two fingers

Lemon Shortbread Ingredients

The secret to these lemon shortbread cookies is fresh lemon! You need to use both the zest and the juice to help get that bold citrus flavor. Let’s breakdown some of the other ingredients before we dive in:

  • Butter: Let your butter sit at room temperature for around 20 to 30 minutes before starting. This will help soften it just enough to mix well with the other ingredients.
  • Powdered Sugar: Yes, you read that correct. Powdered sugar replaces granulated for these cookies. This helps give you that melt-in-your-mouth cookie texture.
  • Extracts: Vanilla extract and possibly lemon, depending how strong of a lemon flavor you want in your cookie.
  • Lemon: Zest and juice. This is where the citrus flavor comes from. Don’t skip either of these ingredients.
  • All-Purpose Flour and salt: The structure of your cookie along with a helpful flavor aid.
cookie dough flattened and cut in half

How to Make Girl Scout Savannah Smiles

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line two baking trays with parchment or silicone baking mats and set aside.
  3. Combine the butter and 1/2 cup powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer, or a large mixing bowl.
  4. Beat with the paddle attachment, or a hand mixer, for 1 to 2 minutes at medium speed, or until fully combined.
  5. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the lemon juice, zest, and extracts.
  6. Mix for an additional 30 seconds to combine.
  7. Scrape the sides of the bowl and stir in the flour.
  8. Mix until the dough forms.
  9. Spoon 1 tablespoon of dough, roll into a circle, and flatten with your fingers to 1/2 inch thick round.
  10. Cut in half to create the “smile” shape.
  11. Place on your baking tray and continue with the remaining dough.
  12. Bake for 10 minutes, or until lightly browned on the bottom of the cookie.
  13. Cool the lemon shortbread biscuits 10 minutes then roll in remaining powdered sugar.
two lemon Savannah Smiles on a plate with lemon slices and a teal napkin
How long do these cookies last?

Keep your lemon shortbread cookies recipe stored in an airtight container for up to one month. Although, we eat them all within a few days. You can also keep these in the freezer for up to two months.

Can you make this recipe ahead of time?

Yes. The dough can be made up to three days in advance. Form the dough into a disc, wrap tightly in plastic, and keep stored in the refrigerator until ready to bake. Once ready, let the dough sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Follow the baking directions from there.

If your dough is too wet:

If you find that your dough is too sticky, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of additional flour.

My dough is too dry:

If the dough is not holding together well, try adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.

How do you get more lemon flavor?

Want an even bolder lemon flavor? Add 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract.

stack of lemon cookies on a white plate with lemon slices

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Copycat Savannah Smiles Cookie

Copycat Savannah Smiles Cookie

Yield: 50
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

This copycat for Savannah Smiles is a must-try! The sugar dusted lemon cookies are bite sized, melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness that taste almost identical to the discontinued girl scout cookie.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup plus 1/4 cup powdered sugar, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1-1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Optional, 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line two baking trays with parchment or silicone baking mats and set aside.
  3. Combine the butter and 1/2 cup powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer, or a large mixing bowl.
  4. Beat with the paddle attachment, or a hand mixer, for 1 to 2 minutes at medium speed, or until fully combined.
  5. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the lemon juice, zest, and extracts.
  6. Mix for an additional 30 seconds to combine.
  7. Scrape the sides of the bowl and stir in the flour.
  8. Mix until the dough forms.
  9. Spoon 1 tablespoon of dough, roll into a circle, and flatten with your fingers to 1/2 inch thick round.
  10. Cut in half to create the “smile” shape.
  11. Place on your baking tray and continue with the remaining dough.
  12. Bake for 10 minutes, or until lightly browned on the bottom of the cookie.
  13. Cool the lemon shortbread biscuits 10 minutes then roll in remaining powdered sugar.

Notes

Keep your lemon shortbread cookies recipe stored in an airtight container for up to one month. Although, we eat them all within a few days. You can also keep these in the freezer for up to two months.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 156Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 150mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 2g
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