If you live near the tropics as I do, you look forward to Winter. We have none of that freezing temperatures, grey landscape, 'havent-seen-sunshine-in-days' kind of weather. Winter is about gentle sunshine that prompts happier moods and wider smiles. It is about weather that tempts you to organise lunch in the garden, if you have that luxury. It is about searching for that one odd sweater in the deep recesses of your cupboard because that one sweater represents your entire winter clothing. It is about gardens being filled with flowers of all colours. It is about markets bursting with fresh produce. Yes, we get strawberries around this time of the year! But, not just strawberries, every fruit and vegetable looks healthier, fresher and plumper than it does all year round.
So, when I saw a mound of huge, plump, yellow lemons, I knew I had to make something with them. It's a winter thing! As winter turns to summer, in India, these huge, yellow lemons will shrink and disappear from the markets to be replaced by tiny, green limes. So, Winter is the time to enjoy this citrus!
My mother is a big fan of lemon and all things citrusy. She's been after me for something lemony.. 'how 'bout making a lemon meringue pie, lemon sponge pudding or even, lemon curd tartlets??', she's told me pointedly, time and again, when asked for suggestions on what to bake.
Way back in the summer, I had spotted these lemon bar cookie cups on 'Barbara Bakes' - that brilliant treasure trove of impressive yet doable recipes!! I had bookmarked it then and finally got around to making them.
Barbara gives a brilliant resource for making the lemon curd. If you have never made lemon curd before, I recommend that you turn to this recipe. It yields a beautiful, silky smooth lemon curd, and more importantly, without any fuss.
For the cookies, I used Rachel Allen's basic shortbread cookie recipe. And to bring it all together, I turned to Barbara's brilliant technique of using mini-muffin tins to make these thumprint cookies. If you are as hopeless as me in getting the dough into mini circles and then, making an indent in it, this technique is a God-send!
I had made the lemon curd a day before, so baking the cookies and assembling the whole thing took me a little more than an hour. Although I wish the lemon curd would have yielded a more yellow, sunnier colour!
The lemon curd is lemony and fresh, with enough sweetness to help cut through the obvious tartness and tangy enough, to remind you who is the star of the show!! The petite size is just right for this cookie. This is lemon curd not chocolate, so there is only that much you can have at one go!!
If you love lemons, you will love these cookies. I am not a big fan of lemons and even, I loved these cookies. And, it definitely got Ma's seal of approval!!
Food blogs are right now engulfed by cookie madness. These cookies are a good addition to a cookie platter packed with overtly sweet jam-filled or chocolate/caramel cookies.
If you are lucky enough to live near the tropics, these cookies will match your mood. And if you haven't seen the Sun for a few days, these little drops of sunshine will perk up your day!!
Lemon Curd Thumbprint CookiesMakes approximately 24 cookies
Adapted from the recipe given here, On Finecooking.com. You can see a pictorial step-by-step on the website.
- 3 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature and softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer, about 2 min.
- Slowly add the egg and yolk. Beat for 1 min.
- Mix in the lemon juice. The mixture will look curdled, but it will smooth out as it cooks.
- In a medium, heavy-based saucepan, cook the mixture over low heat until it looks smooth. (The curdled appearance disappears as the butter in the mixture melts.)
- Increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 15 minutes. It should leave a path on the back of a spoon. Don't let the mixture boil.
- Remove the curd from the heat; stir in the lemon zest.
- Transfer the curd to a bowl. Press plastic wrap on the surface of the lemon curd to keep a skin from forming and chill the curd in the refrigerator. The curd will thicken further as it cools.
Adapted from this recipe by Rachel Allen
- 100 gms unsalted butter, room temperature and softened
- 150 gms plain flour
- 50 gms caster sugar
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease the mini-muffin tins.
- Sieve the flour into a large bowl and, using your fingertips, rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and bring the whole mixture together to form a stiff dough.
- Refrigerate the dough for atleast half an hour.
- Drop one small ball of cookie dough into each cup of the greased mini-muffin tin.
- Using the end of a thick-handled wooden spoon make a small, deep well in the center of each cookie.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes till the cookies are lightly browned.
- Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool.
- Once cooled, remove from the tin. Spoon little dollops of lemon curd into the indentations made in each cookie.
- You can see the entire process on how to shape and fill the cookies, here: http://www.barbarabakes.com/2012/11/jam-filled-pecan-snowball-cookies/