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Lemon Curd Cookies

These buttery shortbread cookies are filled with lemon curd, baked, and then drizzled with a vanilla-almond glaze. Lemon Curd Cookies have perfectly crisp edges with a soft and tangy center -- a lemon lover's dream treat!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword lemon curd cookies
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Chilling Time 1 day 1 hour
Total Time 1 day 1 hour 33 minutes
Servings 35 -37 cookies
Calories 155kcal

Equipment

  • Candy Thermometer for making the lemon curd

Ingredients

Lemon Curd

  • 1 and 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
  • 3-4 large lemons (~3 tablespoons zest and 1/2 cup juice)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt

Cookies

  • 1 cup (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract, optional (Note 1)
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 cups + 2 tablespoons white all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup prepared lemon curd (Note 2)
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar, for rolling the cookies in

Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3-4 tablespoons heavy whipping cream (or 2 tablespoons whole milk)
  • 1 drop pure almond extract (add more or omit to personal preference)
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt

Instructions

  • LEMON CURD: Make the lemon curd at least one day in advance. To make the lemon curd: combine 1 and 1/2 cups sugar and lemon zest (zest of 3 lemons, about 3 tablespoons) in a food processor. Pulse 15-20 times and then pour into a medium-sized bowl. Add the room-temperature butter to that bowl and using a hand mixer, beat until light and creamy-- about 3-4 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Add in the salt and 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice. Beat to combine.
  • LEMON CURD CONT.: Pour the mixture into a medium-sized saucepan and place over low heat. Stir constantly for about 10 minutes or until thickened. The curd must reach 170 degrees on a candy thermometer. (If it doesn't reach this heat, it won't properly set up). Pour curd through a fine-mesh sieve and use a spatula to press it through the sieve into an airtight container. Place plastic wrap right on top of the curd (so the plastic wrap is touching the lemon curd; this keeps the lemon curd from developing a film) and cover the container with a lid. Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight before using. Lemon curd will stay fresh for 5-7 days in the fridge.
  • COOKIES: In a large bowl, add the room-temperature butter and sugar. Beat at medium speed until smooth and creamy, scraping the sides as needed. Add the almond, vanilla extract, cornstarch, and salt and mix until combined. Add flour to the bowl. Beat together at low speed, scraping bowl as needed, until all ingredients are combined. Do not over-mix the dough.
  • CHILL COOKIES: Shape the cookies into small balls -- the size of 1 tablespoon (use a tablespoon measuring spoon to form and measure balls) and then roll the cookie dough balls in the 1/2 cup granulated sugar until generously coated. Next, gently indent the center of each cookie dough ball with your finger. Place these cookies 2 inches apart on a Silpat or parchment-paper-lined baking sheet. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour (or freeze for 30 minutes). Remove from the fridge and add completely chilled and thickened lemon curd to fill (but not overfill) the centers of all the cookies. Return the cookies to the fridge for 10 more minutes.
  • BAKE: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes or until very lightly browned and the tops are no longer glossy. Slightly underbake for soft and delicious shortbread cookies.
  • COOL COOKIES: Remove cookies to a wire rack and allow them to cool completely. Meanwhile, prepare the glaze by whisking all the ingredients together in a bowl until smooth. (Add heavy whipping cream or milk until you've reached your desired consistency; I like the glaze on the thicker side, but you may want to add a bit more cream or milk.)
  • GLAZE: Drizzle the glaze over the cookies (either drizzle with a spoon or transfer the glaze to a plastic bag and cut off the tip to pipe). Allow the glaze to set. Cookies are best enjoyed within 3-4 days; store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Notes

Note 1: Almond extract: You can leave out the almond extract entirely if desired. If you do, add an additional 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract in its place. Almond extracts do differ greatly based on brand, so if you have a strong almond extract you may want to add only 1/4 teaspoon.
Note 2: Lemon curd: The lemon curd needs to chill at least 8 hours before using in these cookies. This recipe makes more than you'll use in these cookies. Check out my post on Lemon Curd for ideas on how to use the leftover lemon curd.

Nutrition

Serving: 37cookies | Calories: 155kcal | Carbohydrates: 19.6g | Protein: 1.5g | Fat: 8.1g | Cholesterol: 40.1mg | Sodium: 9.1mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 13.9g