Okay, I know the holidays are over and you are probably thinking about New Year’s resolutions and one of them, undoubtedly is to eat healthier, which probably means fewer sweets and cookies, and I’m so sorry for steering you in the wrong direction, but you have to understand (and pardon this horribly run-on sentence!) – these cookies are worth it! And just look at them – aren’t they aglow with a party spirit that would just be perfect for say, a New Year’s soiree?
I won’t lie to you – these took quite a bit of time, and quite a bit of cursing, and me vowing that no-way-no-how were these cookies ever worth the effort I was putting into them. What with having to tweak the recipe that suggested I use two (that’s 2!!!) cups of confectioner’s sugar for ½ cup of butter (can you say painfully sweet?) – I had to modify it, of course. And if you doubt one part of the recipe, you start questioning the rest of it. What if these cookies were inedible? Bland? What if the whole recipe is botched?
And later, when the dough refused to cooperate, I started doubting the recipe even more. The dough was most temperamental – giving me a four degree window in which is was pliable and also hard enough for the cookie cut-outs to be transferred to the baking sheet without losing their shape.
And finally, the mere fact that I got not 24 cookies as the recipe suggests but 48 instead – made me wonder if any of this was worth the time I was putting into it – and I was too far along to abandon the project – which turned out to be lucky for me. Because it was worth the trouble.
Because, when I bit into my first cookie, my knees grew weak, my heart beat faster, and I had to take a deep breath. These might be my most favorite cookies ever. And yes, without a doubt, they were worth the effort and the time! A resounding yes across the board.
I brought them to work, where they were dubbed as “lemon crack” after which, they quickly vanished. And I had a little competition from Crumbs cupcakes which we had in the pantry today. My cookies – almost all gone (that with the office being practically empty) and Crumbs – all but two cupcakes remained when I left for the day.
The bottom line is this – if the picture above doesn’t entice you to make them, I don’t know what will. But I can tell you they are stunning, amazing, delicious and worth every minute of your time. And pretty too! Don’t they look festive and dressed up? Like they’re ready for a party? And wouldn’t a lemon-cream cookie be a perfect complement to your New Year’s champagne? And doesn’t anything lemon-flavored just kind of makes you want to smile and feel giddy? Because if it does, like it does for me, what better way to ring in a New Year than with a joyous grin on your face? It might just set the mood for a 2009 and we can certainly use a celebratory year, no?
Lemon-Cream Sandwich Cookies
Adapted from Citizen Cake via
Bon Appetit, January 2009
1 ½ tablespoons finely grated lemon peel
1/8 tsp salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
½ to 1 cup (packed) powdered sugar (taste after adding ½ cup to see if it’s sweet enough for you)
½ cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1 tbsp finely grated lemon peel
3 ¾ cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ½ cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
Using the back of a spoon, mash lemon peel and salt to past in medium bowl. Add butter.
Using electric mixer, beat until fluffy. Add sugar in 4 batches, beating after each addition until blended.
Boil lemon juice and lemon peel in small saucepan until mixture is reduced to 2 tablespoons, about 4 minutes. Pour into small bowl and cool. Sift flour, salt and baking soda into medium bowl.
Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until fluffy. Add sugar; beat until blended. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, then beat in yolks. Beat in lemon juice mixture. Add dry ingredients and stir to blend well. Cover dough and chill until firm, at least 4 hours and up to 1 day.
Preheat oven to 375oF. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out 1/3 of dough on lightly floured surface to scant 3/8 inch thickness. Using 2-inch round cutter, cut out cookies. Transfer cookies to prepared baking sheets. Bake cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until golden at edges, about 12 minutes. Let cookies cool 5 minutes. Transfer to racks and cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.
Before adding the filling to the cookies, remove it from the refrigerator and let it warm up a tiny bit so it’s “squeezable”. Place a small mound of filling on the flat side of 1 cookie. Top with another cookie and pat from the center, squeezing the sides gently (the cookies are tough enough to handle light pressure) to spread the filling out to the sides. Repeat with more cookies. If you want more filling, by all means add more, but I prefer my cookies to have less than more filling – about Oreo amount is more than enough for me.
Do ahead: can be made 2 days ahead. Store airtight in refrigerator or freeze for longer storage (though, I doubt that these will not be consumed within mere days).
1. The recipe told me I would get about 24 cookies. Instead, I got about 40.
2. The actual recipe suggested 2 cups of powdered sugar – which I thought sounded too much, and after about ½ to ¾ cups, I thought the filling was plenty sweet. Personally, I think the 2 cups is a total overkill.
3. After taking the dough out of the fridge, give it a little time to warm up, however, this dough is very temperamental. Too cold – and it rips and comes apart; too warm – and it’s so pliable you can’t get your circles to stay as circles. Thus, periodically just throw the dough in the freezer for a few minutes. You can even do that while you are rolling out/cutting a batch.