This was a quick and easy recipe I made to use up lemons from my mom's lemon tree and to bring over to my parents' last Sunday. The dough comes together quickly but chilling is key to make for easier handling and cutting. (I chilled it overnight.) The filling may not seem like very much but it really is enough for the amount of cookies the dough makes. I ended up with 14 small-ish sandwich cookies (or 28 individual cookies) and just enough filling to sandwich them together.
I baked them until the edges were golden but if I had to do it over again, I would actually bake them a trifle longer so they could become more crisp. The cookies themselves were good butter cookies but for sandwich cookies, I like them with a bit more snap to complement the softness of the lemon cream filling. Overall, a nice "tea" cookie to serve at an afternoon tea or a light lunch or just a simple but tasty offering for dessert.
Lemon Butter Cookies
¼ pound (1 stick) soft unsalted butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon pure almond extract
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
Lemon Butter Cream Frosting
3 tablespoons soft unsalted butter
½ cup powdered sugar, sifted
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
- Mix the dough: Put the butter, granulated sugar and salt in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until the mixture looks smooth and blended together, about 1 minute. Mix in the egg yolk, lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla and almond extract until they are blended into the mixture. Decrease the speed to low and add the flour, mixing just until it is incorporated and a smooth dough forms. The dough forms large smooth clumps.
- Form the cookie log: Put the dough on a piece of plastic wrap and form it into a log about 10 inches long with flat rather than tapered ends. Roll up the dough in the plastic wrap and roll it back and forth on the counter until the log is smooth and about 1 ¼ inches in diameter. Chill the log of the dough until firm, about 2 hours or overnight.
- Bake the cookies: Position 2 oven racks in the middle and upper third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Unwrap the cold dough log and use a large knife to cut it into ¼” thick rounds. Place the cookies 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake about 15 minutes just until the edges are light brown. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then use a thin metal spatula to transfer them to a wire rack to cool.
- Make the frosting and fill the cookies: Put the butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest in a small bowl and stir with a large spoon until smooth.
- Turn half of the cooled cookies bottoms side up. Spread a thin layer of frosting on the bottom of these cookies. Press a plain cookie, bottom side down, onto each frosted cookie.
The cookie sandwiches can be wrapped in plastic and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.