Lemon Seven-layer Cookies

Lemon Seven-layer Cookies

When it comes to cookies I generally love simple recipes, the mix-everything-in-one-bowl kind of deal. But every once in a while, it's nice to make a fancy cookie, one that makes people go "Wow! You made bakery cookies!" Which is how my friends responded when I gave them my test batches, even though the first couple of times they came out kind of wonky. 

lemon 7 layer cookies

Now I love the traditional seven-layer or rainbow cookies, with their intense almond flavor and dark chocolate coating. They always make me think of Christmas and the holidays and look so cute and festive on a cookie platter. With the layers of jam and chocolate, I thought that these cookies would be great in a citrus flavor, perfect for a summer or spring party.

lemon 7 layer cookies
lemon 7 layer cookies

These cookies can seem kind of complicated, but the batter itself is actually pretty easy to make. It's really just the assembly that takes a bit of time, but most of it's just chilling in the fridge. Now cutting the cookies can be a pain, the hard chocolate layer with the soft cake and jam, it just wants to crumble and the jam squishes everywhere. After a couple tries, I found a serrated knife is a must and chilling the cake after applying the chocolate layers really helps. Luckily the recipe also makes a ton of cookies, so all your hard work will be rewarded with dozens of cute treats!

lemon 7 layer cookies

Lemon Seven-layer Cookies

Makes about 8 dozen

Prep time: 9 hours | Cook time: 15 min


4 large eggs, separated

1 cup (198g) white sugar + 2 tbsp (26g), divided

1 cup + 2 tbsp (254g) unsalted butter, softened

2 tbsp (12g) lemon zest, about 2 medium lemons zested

3 tbsp (35g) lemon juice

2 tbsp (25g) water

1-1/2 tsp (7g) vanilla extract

2-1/4 cups (254g) all purpose flour

1/2 tsp (3g) salt

3/4 cup (217g) seedless raspberry jam

9oz  (255g) white chocolate


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line three 9"x13" baking pans with parchment paper.

  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour and salt and set aside.

  3. In a mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and one cup of sugar on medium-high speed until a very pale yellow.

  4. Scrape down the bowl and add the egg yolks, mixing until well combined. Add in the lemon juice, zest, water, and vanilla extract and mix well.

  5. Scrape down the bowl, add in the flour and salt and mix on low until just combined.

  6. In a clean bowl, whip the egg whites until soft peaks form. Sprinkle in the remaining two tbsp of sugar and continue to whip until stiff peaks form.

  7. With a rubber spatula, fold in about one third of the egg whites into the batter, then fold in the rest.

  8. Divide the batter evenly among the three prepared pans and spread into a smooth layer to the edges of each pan. Bake for about 10-12 minutes, rotating the pans around halfway through, until the edges are just beginning to brown and cakes have risen slightly. Allow the cakes to cool completely in the pan.

  9. Assemble the layers: Spread half of the jam over one of the layers. Unmold a second layer, peel off the parchment and lay on top of the first layer. Spread the remaining jam over the second layer. Unmold the third layer, peel off the parchment and lay on top of the second layer. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and place an empty pan on top. Fill the pan with heavy canned goods to weigh it down and refrigerate for at least eight hours or overnight.

  10. Remove the cans and plastic wrap. Unmold the cake by placing a cutting board or baking sheet on top of the cake and flipping it over. Peel off the parchment paper. Trim the edges of the cake to create an even rectangle.

  11. Over a double boiler, melt half of the white chocolate and quickly spread into a smooth layer over the top of the cake. Allow the chocolate to set, cover with waxed or parchment paper and flip the cake over. Melt the rest of the chocolate and spread over the cake.

  12. Chill for about 30 min until firm. With a long serrated knife, cut the cake crosswise into seven 1-1/2" strips then cut each strip into 1/2" slices. These cookies also work well with blueberry or strawberry jam!

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