photo by Anthony Palatta
When I first made these cookies, my partner Anthony (the photographer) took one bite, turned to me with a moan of satisfaction, and said in a grave voice: "You could sell these."
These lemon cream sandwich cookies are not only every lemon lover's dream, but also extremely simple to make--and I've found a way to make them even simpler.
The recipe comes from Everyday Food Magazine. (Note: Some readers have expressed confusion about how to find recipes. Just click on the word "recipe" above, and you'll find it. Also, if I don't include a recipe on this site, please know it's because it's only available in print and I haven't obtained permission to reprint it here.)
Begin by creaming butter with confectioner's sugar, lemon zest, and salt. Using confectioner's sugar rather than regular granulated in cookies, I find, produces a more delicate cookie, which also brings out the flavor of the butter. Almost like shortbread.
At this point, I begin to diverge from the recipe by adding a drop or two of concentrated lemon oil, a product I've found at Whole Foods, which really brings out the lemon flavor of baked goods. Lemon oil is much more powerful and not to be confused with lemon extract, which you could also use. Start with about 1/4 teaspoon for this recipe and see how you like the taste.
My other innovation for this recipe is rather than going to the bother of rolling out the dough and cutting out shapes, I roll the dough into a log and cover it with sprinkles, then slice off circles with a shiny sugar border. The first time I tried this with yellow sprinkles, only to find that the yellow sprinkles blend in with the dough. For this latest version, I used purple sprinkles (the complimentary color to yellow), which are pretty, but don't have much to do with lemon. Maybe next time I'll do a mix of green and yellow.
The cookies bake at 350. Mine were done about 5 minutes faster than the recipe said, so take note, and don't leave those cookies unguarded in the oven! The filling couldn't be easier: confectioner's sugar, lemon zest, and cream cheese. The recipe calls for 1 to 1 1/2 cups of sugar, but I found I needed 1 3/4 to 2 cups. Add the sugar slowly.
There's no info about storing the cookies, but I've found they freeze just fine (even filled). If you want to keep them on hand, and crispy, store them in the fridge, up to a week. The longer they sit at room temperature, the softer the cookies get, which may be a plus in your world.
As for the taste, imagine a flaky buttery-lemony cookie, with a subtle crunch, paired with a rich, creamy, citrusy filling. You might want to make these cookies small, as it's impossible to eat just one.