While peak citrus season is now past us, lemon sweets always feel right to me in early spring. Berries haven’t quite hit their stride (at least, not in NYC), but warmer weather calls for something fruity. Tangy, silky-smooth, and decadent, lemon curd is one of my all-time-favorite ways to get my citrus fix. Spread on a slice of marshmallow-y angel food cake, dolloped on a scone, or used as a tart or cupcake filling, it is pretty much always a good choice in my book.
These tender lemon-curd-filled thumbprints — their texture is somewhere in between a chocolate chip cookie and shortbread — are my latest experiment, and a winning one at that. Right now, they serve as an excellent antidote to April’s grey skies. On a sunny day, they’d make for a fantastic picnic treat. Either way, I don’t think you’ll have a problem making them disappear.
- 2 sticks (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup (132 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon finely-grated lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups (284 grams) all-purpose flour
- About 6 ounces lemon curd, store-bought or homemade
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two half-sheet pans with parchment paper.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, mix together the butter, sugar, salt, and lemon zest on medium-high heat until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl with a silicone spatula, then add the vanilla and mix until incorporated. Add the flour and mix on low until mixed in enough that it won't make a mess, then increase the speed to medium and mix until a ball of dough forms.
- Portion dough into roughly 1 1/4-inch balls using a #50 disher. Roll each piece of dough into a ball, then make an indentation in each cookie with your thumb, rotating your thumb to hollow it out into a round well, while cupping it in your other hand (this helps prevent the dough from cracking). Place 2 inches apart onto the parchment-lined pans. Fill the wells of each cookie with a dollop of lemon curd (about 1/2 teaspoon per cookie).
- Bake for 12-14 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. The cookies will spread and puff up, and should begin to color on their bottoms. Cool on the pans for 2-3 minutes, then carefully transfer to a cooling rack. (A thin cookie spatula makes easy work of this delicate task.)