Sum – {Lemon Meltaways}

Uncomfortably plastered to the walls of the hallway, I located two old group members amid a sea of unfamiliar faces. Designated as a random group by our TA months previously, the three of us weren’t particularly close, but I knew them and was happy to be able to identify them so readily. In a large class, it’s easy to stay anonymous for the entire semester, but, luckily, that it didn’t happen to me.

With open stances and frequent glances, the pair wordlessly welcomed me over. As the gap between us closed, generic before-exam pleasantries fell lazily from my lips and resonated in my ears. The three of us, I soon discovered, were remarkably calm, coming to a consensus over our preparedness for the impending exam. Our studying methods were discussed and our opinions on the provided practice exam were shared. Truth be told, we were secretly feeling quite confident and proud of the effort we’d put into studying, but as had been the case many times before, we were all sure we were going to do poorly anyway.

That’s just how the class is.

But we were all smiling and happy anyway. Regardless of how well we did on the exam, the course would finally be over when we turned them in, and we were all relieved for that, at the very least. Courses such as this one, “weeders,” were designed to be difficult and to keep people from easily obtaining their degrees. The fact that we were even remotely sure that we wouldn’t fail the course overall was enough because it was clear that there were so many other unfortunate students who would.

Right now I’m hoping for a 2.5/4.0. I know it’s not great. It will be the lowest grade I’ve ever received. But honestly? I’ll be genuinely happy with it. This has been a rough semester for me in terms of classwork and homework, especially when compared to those of freshman year. Fortunately, however, the difficulty has helped me learn to be less stressed about my courses and grades because I’m realizing that grades… Well, they aren’t everything. Of course they’re important, but as long as I’m doing my best with the provided material, struggling isn’t such an awful thing. Even though this particular course was hard for me (and a lot of other people), it was one of my favorites because it was a challenge and I didn’t know anything about the material.

Which is good. That’s why I’m in college. I’m here to struggle. I’m here to learn. I’m here to work hard.

…Also to do a little baking on the side.

So, to anyone taking finals, good luck! To anyone who’s completed them, or recently graduated (hi, P) congratulations!

Lemon Meltaways adapted from Martha Stewart
These tart cookies are one of my favorite kinds to make during the holidays! Mrs. Stewart recommends rolling the dough into a log then slicing and baking, but I like to roll out the dough and slice out even-sized cookies. Makes about 10 dozen.
Printable Recipe

1 3/4 c + 2 Tbls (265g) flour
2 Tbls (14g) cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
12 Tbls (170g) butter, room temp
1 2/3 c confectioners’ sugar, (260g) divided
Grated zest of 2 lemons
Freshly squeezed lemon juice from 2 lemons
1 Tbls pure vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch and salt. Set aside.

In another bowl, cream the butter and 1 c (157g) sugar until fluffy. Add zest, juice, and vanilla, then beat until fluffy.

Sift half of the dry ingredients over the butter and mix until combined. Sift over the second half and mix until just combined.

Divide the prepared dough into 2 or 3 parts and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 1 to 2 hours until thoroughly chilled. Meanwhile, line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

After chilling, roll out one portion of the dough to a thickness of 1/4″ – 1/8″ on a lightly-floured surface. Using a small cutter (about 1″), cut out as many rounds as possible and transfer to the lined sheets. Re-roll scraps and place cut-outs in the freezer for at least 1 hour before baking.

Preheat oven to 350F (165C) and place remaining 2/3 c (103g) sugar in a large plastic bag. Bake cookies, spaced 1″ apart, until just barely golden, 10-15 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool slightly, 8-10 minutes, then drop the cookies into the sugar-filled bag and shake to coat.

Store baked cookies in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.


  1. says

    I remember i my junior year of college when I was worried I would fail my first class. I was mortified when I saw I had gotten a "D" in the course but then ultimately relieved when I relaized it meant I was done with that class forever! Congrats on surviving your semester – that is an accomplishment in itself! These lemon meltaways look delicious, I love citrus cookies, so I'm sure

  2. says

    im in my finals, im in my first year of university and ive passed all of my classes,yay!, i have to more finals next week, and i had three this week (A-, and two B's) and summer brake starts next week too so im pretty happy with this school year

  3. says

    Hi Kaitlin!<br />So glad that you&#39;re done for the semester; I finish tomorrow. I too have had classes that difficult but you have to be satisfied with your accomplishments and know that you&#39;re done no matter what.<br />The lemon meltaways look delicious! I actually just bookmarked a recipe for lime melataways just yesterday to try over break, but I&#39;m sure that these would be even

  4. says

    How did you know!? These are my favorite cookies of. all. time. I&#39;m making them, for sure. Congrats on finishing the semester! The struggle, the hard work… that&#39;s what it&#39;s about, not just in college, but always. It&#39;s where meaning comes from. Lovely post.

  5. says

    These are my favorite cookies. They used to sell them in the bakery at our local grocery store when I was little, but stopped for some reason. Definitely going to be making these soon. =]

  6. says

    I made these from Martha once but they weren&#39;t nearly as beautiful as yours! Maybe it&#39;s the beautiful photographs?<br />Good job on finishing up the semester, I hope the next one isn&#39;t so harsh!

  7. Anonymous says

    This recipe is really supposed to yield ten dozen cookies? I got three. Hopefully that doesn&#39;t mean I messed these up. I used a heart-shaped cookie cutter about 2in wide at its widest point.

  8. says

    oh gee, it&#39;s been a while since I wrote university exams. I&#39;m so glad that&#39;s over with! I love the twang of lemon in these meltaways. Great looking recipe!

  9. Cakes By Julia says

    today is my first day of winter vacation, i decided i would make some. let me just say, this is love disguised as a cookie. Soooo delicious! A+

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