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Norwegian Lemon Bonbons


I’m not much of a baker, mainly because I love savory food so much more than sweets. I’d choose macaroni and cheese as a treat over a piece of cake any day. But something about the holidays brings out the urge to bake cookies. Lots of cookies! In the past week I’ve made peanut butter cookies embedded with a chocolate kiss, hazelnut crinkle cookies, and Norwegian lemon bonbons. These buttery, crumbly, bite-sized cookies are a classic in my family. Every December my grandmother would send a tin stuffed with her famous Million Dollar Fudge and lemon bonbons, both of which vanished in a matter of minutes.

Why the cookies are called Norwegian lemon bonbons is a mystery, since lemons aren’t exactly a native fruit in Norway, but why they taste so good is more obvious: the recipe calls for two sticks of butter. My grandmother’s original cookie only has five ingredients: butter, powdered sugar, corn starch, flour, and pecans. I’ve since added salt and lemon zest to the equation. Either way these cookies taste best with a cup of tea in hand.

I hope you all have a very happy holiday! I’ll be back next week, hopefully with a couple of new cookbooks to review.


Norwegian Lemon Bonbons

Makes 4 dozen cookies

Since this cookie is almost all butter, splurge on a good one, such as Pelugra. As the cookies bake, your kitchen will fill with a decadent buttery, citrusy scent. It’s irresistible!

You’ll need:

1 cup butter (2 sticks), plus one tablespoon for the glaze

1 1/3 cup powdered sugar

3/4 cup cornstarch

1 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Zest of one lemon

1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped

Juice of 1/2 lemon


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Blend 1 cup of the butter, 1/3 cup of the powdered sugar, cornstarch, flour, sea salt, and lemon zest together. Cover and refrigerate for 1/2 hour. Place the chopped pecans in a shallow plate. Scoop out teaspoon-sized bits of dough, shape them into a ball, and then roll in pecans. Space the cookies 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake for 15 minutes, or until their bottoms are golden brown. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for two minutes before carefully moving them to racks.

To make the tart lemon glaze, beat together the remaining powdered sugar with 1 tablespoon of butter and the lemon juice. I like to drizzle the glaze over the cookies while they are on the racks (be sure to place a piece of parchment under the racks to catch any glaze that falls through). After the glaze soaks in, add additional layers. The cookies keep well for up to a week if stored in an airtight container.







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11 Responses to “Norwegian Lemon Bonbons”

  1. 1
    Dee/reddirtramblings Says:

    I love those crumbly cookies. We have a Mexican wedding cookies with similar ingredients, but I like the idea of the lemon zest. Love lemon. Merry Christmas, Willi~~Dee
    .-= Dee/reddirtramblings´s last blog ..On the occasion of the Winter Solstice =-.

  2. 2
    gardenmentor Says:

    Those sound delicious! I made a similar “not-mexican-wedding-cookie”. The surprise was a a malted milk ball in the middle & yes, they were a big hit.

    FYI: I have a pretty amazing pecan, rosemary, blue cheese cracker recipe that savory bakers/eaters adore. (Oh and grandma’s cheddar olive cookies…dang, I need to make a batch; it’s a Christmas tradition around here!) Want’m…you know where to find me Willi! :)
    .-= gardenmentor´s last blog ..Garden Coach on Why to Love December 22nd =-.

  3. 3
    Cole Says:

    These sound delicious! I’ve made enough cookies this season to feed an army, but will keep this recipe in mind for the future. Thanks for sharing!
    .-= Cole´s last blog ..roasted butternut squash soup with fried leeks =-.

  4. 4
    Lorene Says:

    Yeah Willi – Those look amazing. Enjoy the holiday BUT…you’ve totally got to get those grubbin’ sounding recipes from gardenmentor and pass them along to me! I’m mean really – pecan, rosemary and blue cheese cracker?!!? Heaven~
    .-= Lorene´s last blog ..Good to know… =-.

  5. 5
    Willi Says:

    Dee–I love, love Mexican Wedding Cookies! We gave them as favors at our wedding!

    Gardenmentor–I totally need those recipes! A cheesy buttery cracker is right up my alley.

    Cole–I can say from experience that these cookies taste good year round! They are most excellent for tea parties and comforting sick friends.

    Lorene–Merry Christmas. Don’t worry I’m making those crackers as soon as I get the recipe!

  6. 6
    Stephanie Says:

    Those are gorgeous. But how was lemon NOT in the original recipe, when it was part of the cookie’s name?
    BODA weight loss

  7. 7
    Lori Says:

    Your cookies look fantastic. I love the “Going… Going… Gone.” photo series.

    This year, I decided to bake edible gifts. I chose the Italian Christmas bread—Panettone, which I baked in a flower pot. I thought you might appreciate the combo.

    Merry Christmas, Willi. Thanks for another great year of ideas, info, and entertainment.


  8. 8
    Catalina Says:

    Ooooo yummy!
    Those look so good! :)
    .-= Catalina´s last blog ..Sweet Mini Cake =-.

  9. 9
    Hazel Says:

    Hey! I just wanted to let you know that I linked your name to one your ehow articles on garden tools on my blog


  10. 10
    Willi Says:

    Stephanie–Ah, yes. Good question. The original cookies didn’t have any lemon, but the glaze has lemon juice in it!

    Lori–Panettone in a flower pot? What a cool idea. I had no idea that you could use a pot as a pan. How does that work?

    Catalina–That little mini cake your mom baked is so cute. What a sweet gift.

    Hazel–Thanks for the link love.

  11. 11
    Linda Says:

    I made these cookies following the recipe exactly as printed.
    It was a huge failure. The balls went flat and the cookies were as hard as cement. But not all is lost. I found the same recipe on other sites and the powdered sugar was 1/3 cup….NOT 1 1/3. All other recipes by the same name did roll the dough into balls but they were pressed with a round drinking glass before baking. The sea salt did not appear in the other recipes so its up to the baker if they want to add it or not. Round or flat they should turn out yummy!! Back to the kitchen to make another attempt.

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