Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease 2 baking sheets lightly.
Combine 3 tablespoons white sugar and 1 tablespoon lemon juice together in a small bowl.
Beat sugar and butter with an electric mixer in a large bowl until smooth. Beat egg yolks, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, and vanilla extract into butter mixture. Add flour, half-and-half, and baking soda; stir until dough is just combined.
Roll dough into walnut-size balls, coating each in the lemon sugar mixture and allowing excess to drip off. Place 2 inches apart onto prepared baking sheets.
Bake in the preheated oven until edges are golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minute before removing to a wire rack to cool completely, about 20 minutes more.
Use lemon extract in the dough in place of the juice for a stronger flavor.
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