Saturday, March 12, 2011

Springtime is for Lemons!!

If you'll remember how much I love pumpkin in the fall, you should also know that I love the burst of flavor that lemons bring to Spring!! I can't wait to share some wonderful lemon recipes!!

Maybe it's because of the bright yellow color, the freshness of that burst of tart lemon, or that amazing bite versatile lemons give to any dish. Whatever the reason I really enjoy a yummy lemony treat!!

I thought I'd share this super simple recipe for Creamy Lemon Sandwich Cookies. I turned these babies into shamrocks and am giving them as gifts to some favorite Irish lovies this week.

*Prep Thought* This dough requires about an hour+ to chill, so plan accordingly.

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 Tbl finely grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
2 cups ap flour (spooned and leveled), plus a little more for rolling
2 Tbl granulated sugar, for sprinkling

Creamy Lemon Filling:
1 (4-ounce) pkg. cream cheese, room temperature
1 tablespoon(s) finely grated lemon zest
1 cup(s) (up to 1 1/2) confectioners' sugar

In a large bowl using an electric mixer on high speed, beat butter, confectioners' sugar, lemon zest, and salt until combined. With mixer on low, add flour (dough will still be stiff); finish mixing with a wooden spoon.

Turn dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap, pat into a disk about 1/2 inch thick. Wrap, and chill until firm, about 1 hour (and can be chilled up to 3 days).
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap dough; place on a lightly floured piece of parchment or waxed paper. With a lightly floured rolling pin, roll dough about 1/8 inch thick (if dough cracks, let it warm up slightly).

Cut out cookies with a 1 1/2-inch round cutter (re-roll scraps once, chilling of too soft), I scored a shamrock cutter for a mere 25 cents last year after St. Patty's Day...time to break it in!!
Place 1 inch apart on two baking sheets; sprinkle with granulated sugar (I actually skipped this step, but I recommend it. It makes for a pretty presentation and adds another delicious layer of flavor.) Bake until barely beginning to brown, 10 to 15 minutes; transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
To make filling: In a small bowl, mix cream cheese and zest until smooth. Gradually add 1 cup confectioners' sugar, mixing until smooth. Mix in remaining sugar as necessary to create a firm but spreadable filling.
To form sandwiches: Place about 1 teaspoon Creamy Lemon Filling between two cookies, sugared sides facing out; squeeze gently.

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