Guys, I have to say…I’m appalled. Literally, so sad. Why, you may be wondering? Let me tell you. The other day, I was drafting a new recipe and couldn’t quite remember the ratios of sugar to lemon to butter, for my go-to lemon curd recipe. Instead of digging through my binder of illegible hand-written notes, I figured I would just reference my own blog. Because, OF COURSE, with my internal age being 87 years old, I would have written at least once about a curd-y recipe, right? As I searched and searched, I started to come to the realization that I, the oldest 25 year old soul there is, am a fraud. An internally gray-haired blogger, without a perfectly sweet, yet perfectly tart lemon curd recipe on her website. A shame, I tell you, a shame.
Well friends, clearly, this needs to stop today. Therefore, we are continuing our cookie filled month with these little guys: Lemon Sugar Cookie Cups. These are perfect bite-sized treats that can either be eaten daintily with one pinky up, or by using a method that’s a bit more up my alley…by the handful. That’s how perfect they are. Plus, they’re filled with lemon curd. Come on people, lemon curd.
First, we’ll get started with the curd. Despite it’s fanciness, lemon curd is so simple to make. And, even better, it takes very few ingredients. In fact, you’ll likely have most of the things you need to make this entire recipe, already in your cabinet.
Two key points to make on curd before we get started: be patient, and don’t scramble your eggs! I’ll explain. You’re going to start by creaming together your butter and sugar until smooth, in a glass or heat-safe bowl. Then, you’ll be adding your eggs (both of the yolk variety and whole variety), one at a time. This allows them to incorporate fully. Lastly, you’ll throw in your lemon juice. Here’s where the tips come in. You’ll want to cook your curd in a double boiler. Instead of forcing your eggs to touch the heat directly on the bottom of a pan, you’ll be allowing them to cook slowly above the heat. But, because you’re not cooking them directly, this will take a bit more time. Get comfy at the stove, for once your ingredients are all incorporated and over the double boiler, you’ll need to stir continuously until the curd thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. It’ll happen…it just might take 10-15 minutes to do so. BE PATIENT. LEMON CURD IS WORTH IT.
Once it’s thickened, stir the lemon zest into the curd. Then, cover the surface directly with cling wrap to avoid getting a skin, and set in the refrigerator to cool completely.
On to the cookies! Again, super simple. Your sugar cookies will start with a basic mix of dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, cornstarch and salt. Once those are combined, set that bowl aside and start filling a separate bowl with your butter and sugar. Using either a stand mixer or hand mixer, cream those together until they are nice and smooth. Add one egg at a time, to ensure that each incorporates well. The vanilla can go in with the last egg.
Now, turn your dough out onto a piece of parchment paper, wrap it up and let it chill out. We’ve talked a lot about the value of cold butter in baking, here and here, so I’ll just quickly remind you…warm butter = flat and sad cookies, while cold butter = happy and puffy cookies.
After at least two hours in the fridge, your dough will be ready to be cupified. I swear, I heard Ree say that once… Anyway, scoop out half tablespoons of dough and place them in the cavities of a well greased mini muffin tin. Use your thumb to make a small indent in the middle of the dough balls.
Bake these in a 325 degree oven until they are slightly brown, about 7-8 minutes. Here’s the important part! Use the back of a spoon or any small rounded surface to press into the cookies while they are still warm. This will make the little tub for our curd to hang out in. After that, I baked mine for about another three minutes, until the cookies browned a bit more. Before they cooled completely, I used the spoon one more time to deepen the holes a final time.
Wait until they are cooled, remove them carefully from their pans, and fill em’ up as much as you can! Seriously, no skimping! You can do this with a spoon, but I found the easiest method was using a piping bag.
And, there you have it folks. My version of a sincere apology, in the form of a cookie. A light, sweet but tangy, crunchy but soft, cookie. Fully equipped with a simple curd that can and should be used on the reg. Spread this stuff on toast, dip fruit in it, eat it by the spoonful, be a happier person because of it.
Next week, we’re making a cookie that will have you seeing double!
Until then, stay tuned and stay hungry!
- 6 TBS butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 2/3 cup lemon juice
- 1 tsp. grated lemon zest
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 1 egg + 1 yolk, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 3 cups flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Cream butter and sugar together until smooth, in a heat safe bowl.
- Add in eggs, one at a time. Beat with a hand mixer for 1 minute.
- Add the lemon juice.
- Create a double boiler using a medium saucepan filled partially filled with water. Cook the egg mixture over the pot, stirring constantly. This will take about 10-15 minutes. The curd will be finished when it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Cover the curd directly with plastic wrap and allow to cool in the refrigerator.
- Cream butter on medium speed until smooth.
- Add eggs and vanilla, beat until fluffy and light in color
- In separate bowl, whisk dries together
- Dry to wet in batches.
- Cover dough tightly, refrigerate for 3 hours
- Remove from refrigerator. Let sit for 15 minutes.
- Divide dough into ½ tablespoons portions in mini muffin tins
- Bake at 325 for 7-8 minutes.
- Use spoon to make indent in cookie cups while still in pan and warm.
- Continue to cookies for another 3-4 minutes, until golden brown. You may need to remake the indent in the centers.
- Once completely cooled, remove cookies from tin. Fill each with lemon curd.