April showers bring May flowers! The blooming flowers and the bright yellow lemons falling from the trees inspire us and thumbprint cookies filled with fresh lemon curd create just the right mood.Rally the kids inside just long enough to get their thumb imprints for these cookies. Happy Spring!
Thumbprint Cookie Recipe
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup golden brown sugar
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 egg yolk (reserve the white for meringue topping, if desired)
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Lemon Curd Filling Ingredients*
- 2 large eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- Juice and zest of 2 large lemons
Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, whisk the flour to aerate and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar, butter, egg yolks, and vanilla on medium speed until combined. Add the flour and mix until a dough forms. Use a small spoon, cookie scoop, or your hands to pinch off a piece, roll it into a ball about the diameter of a quarter, and place it on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Use your thumb or a small circular cap to push an imprint into the center of the cookie dough ball. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden. Let cool for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove parchment paper to a work surface. You made need to repeat the thumb impression if the dough has risen in the center. Be careful if the cookies are still hot. Let cool completely before filling.
To make the filling:
Fill the bottom of a double boiler (see Sugar Mommas Notes) with 1 to 2 inches of water and bring to a rolling boil. Place the whole eggs and yolks into the top of the double boiler off the heat. Beat gently with a fork or whisk until the whites and yolks are thoroughly mixed. Place the top of the double boiler back in place over medium-low heat. Stir constantly, watching the eggs carefully so that they don’t start to curdle (see Sugar Mommas Notes). Add the butter, sugar, lemon juice, and zest.
Cook over gently boiling water, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until the mixture is the consistency of mayonnaise. This takes 10 minutes or so, and you do need to let it sit for a minute or two without stirring or it won’t thicken. You can see it thicken around the rim of the double boiler. Remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Pour filling into a glass bowl and place a piece of plastic wrap across the surface (so a skin doesn’t form) and refrigerate for 1 hour to overnight. Fill the tart shells with the filling and serve.
Sugar Mommas Notes: If your eggs scramble a little in the double boiler, do not fret. Use a spatula to push the filling through a fine-mesh strainer before serving to remove any little bits of egg so that it has a smooth consistency. If you don’t have a double boiler, you may use a metal bowl nestled in a pot of boiling water (the water should remain at least 2 inches below the bottom of the bowl).
Carpool Crunch: Buy readymade lemon curd at the market and go to town.
Modern Variation: Use the leftover egg whites to make a meringue topping (recipe follows), or use whipped topping.
Place the two reserved egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip on medium speed until egg whites are frothy. Slowly add in ½ cup granulated sugar. Continue to whip until soft peaks form.
*Lemon Curd filling recipe is from Sugar, Sugar: Every Recipe has a Story, Lemon Starlets (Catherine Watson), pages 108-110.