Sunday, June 17, 2012

Lemon Curd Cookies

In the land of desserts, one flavor has long been viewed as inferior in my mind (or that of my taste buds): lemon. From skittles and starbursts to cakes, the magnificently sour yet understated fruit has always been an afterthought in my stomach's desire. Recently, however, I've come to appreciate what the lemon has to offer (with some minor help from a lemon loving Brit). For my most recent bakeathon, I decided to balance the richness of my chocolate filled black and white cupcakes (recipe coming soon) with the zestiness of some ultra lemon cookies. Would the combined power of lemon batter and lemon curd come together to form a splendid dessert or would they prove younger me correct?

Lemon Curd Cookies
Adapted from Yummy Mummy (I check out the manliest blogs)
Servings: 12-15 cookies
Time: 2 1/2 hours (2 hours of which are refrigerating)

1 1/4 cups unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
Zest of 2 lemons
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
Lemon curd (recipe follows)
Powdered sugar for sprinkling

  1. Cream the butter until fluffy and pale using a stand mixer on medium-high speed.
  2. Beat in the sugar in 3 additions in 2 minute intervals.
  3. Mix in the egg yolk, vanilla and lemon zest.
  4. Sift the flour and salt together then add them to the butter/sugar mixture at low speed until just incorporated.
  5. Divide the dough into 4 equal disk shaped portions, wrap in saran wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours (or cheat and stick them in the freezer for like 30 minutes).
  6. Make your lemon curd (recipe below) since it's also going to need time in the fridge. 
  7. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  8. Let the dough sit at room temperature for 15 minutes then roll out to 1/8-1/4 inch thick.
  9. Cut into whatever cookie shapes your heart desires and place on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
  10. Plop a blob of lemon curd onto half of the pieces then cover with the other non-curded halves and seal well (the buttery dough should make this simple as long as curd isn't flowing out of it).
  11. Refrigerate for 5 minutes.
  12. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges start to brown.
  13. Let sit on the baking sheets for 5 minutes to crispen up the bottoms slightly.
  14. Place on wire racks to cool then sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.
The curd is far too awesome to be contained by some silly cookie dough.
The cookie itself is a buttery treat that isn't overly sweet. It's somewhat like a lemony sugar cookie and perfectly encapsulates the fantastic and powerful curd filling. The powdered sugar really completes the dessert as it adds the necessary sweetness to balance out the sour. 

Lemon Curd
Servings: Enough for at least 2 dozen cookies (about 1 cup)
Time: 25 minutes (plus an hour for cooling and setting)

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar (or 1/3 cup if you use sweeter Meyer lemons)
2 large egg yolks
2 large eggs
pinch of salt
6 tbsp unsalted butter, cubed

While I still think curd is the worst name for a food ever, I have to admit they're always delicious.
  1. Note: normally you make curds in a double boiler, but Mr. Lebovitz lives life on the edge (something most curd makers spend their curd filled days dreaming about) and does everything over direct heat. If you're not so adventurous, just set up a standard double boiler with a bowl over (but not touching) simmering water.
  2. Whisk the lemon juice, sugar, egg yolks, eggs and salt together in a medium saucepan.
  3. Add in the butter and whisk constantly over low heat until the butter is melted.
  4. Increase the heat to medium-low and continue whisking constantly until the mixture thickens and just starts to become jelly-like (look for jiggles). 
  5. Strain the curd then store it in the fridge for at least an hour so it can finish setting.
  6. Sit down after experiencing truly living life by not using a double boiler.
When your cookies look like eggs, you know you're on the right track.
Curds are a fantastic marvel of the culinary world. The sourness or tartness provided by them can liven up any cookie or cupcake (see Margarita Cupcakes and Blue Velvet Cupcakes).This lemon curd was extremely easy to make and wonderfully flavorful without being overpowering.

Since only half of the cookies had curd oozing out of them, it's safe to say I'm improving with my filling skills.
These cookies weren't what I typically think of when I drool over the thought of cookies, but they proved to be a fantastic treat that helped establish the worth of the common lemon. The competing sourness and sweetness played magnificently off of one another to give a surprisingly layered dessert in such a simple package. Plus, as always, adding fruit to cookies makes them instantly nutritious (yep, it's probably time I start that health food blog).

The powdered sugar adds the essential sweetness to the delightfully sour cookie.

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