Monday, April 26, 2010

Lemon Tart Thumbprint Cookies

Outside the sun is shining and my garden is blooming with daffodils and tulips. A spring day, such as this, calls out for something light and sweet. These delicate and delicious cookies, with their beautiful sunny-yellow centers, taste like miniature lemon tarts.

The secret ingredient that gives these cookies their bright, citrus flavor is lemon curd. Once a speciality item, it is now commonly found in most supermarkets in the jelly and jam section. The thing that is so wonderful about lemon curd is that a tiny bit packs a flavorful punch! In this recipe, I've used it both in the dough and as a filling to give this cookie a delightfully bold lemon flavor that will linger on your palette. If you like these sweet gems, you might enjoy substituting lime curd, lime zest and juice for the lemon for a slightly different taste experience. Also, when the two flavors are arranged together on a plate, they'll make an attractive presentation of spring colors for your next get-together.

Lemon Tart Thumbprint Cookies
(Makes 30 cookies)

1 cup almond flour (or finely ground blanched almonds)
¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
Zest and juice from 1 lemon (strain juice of pulp)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
¾ cup Splenda granular (not baking blend)
2 tablespoons lemon curd
1 large egg
2 teaspoons lemon extract
2½ tablespoons lemon curd for filling

1. Preheat oven to 375-degrees. If desired, line cookie sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

2. In a small mixing bowl, sift together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, lemon zest and salt; set aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and mascarpone cheese with a handheld or standing mixer until light and fluffy. Add Splenda and beat on medium speed until combined. Add egg, lemon extract and the 2 tablespoons lemon curd and beat on high speed until well incorporated and thickened slightly, about 2 minutes. Add lemon juice and continue beating until just combined.

4. With a wooden spoon, fold in dry ingredients until a soft dough forms. Drop by rounded teaspoon approximately 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheet. Use your thumb to press a slight indentation into the center of each cookie and fill with ¼ teaspoon lemon curd. (If necessary, dip your thumb into flour to prevent dough from sticking.) Bake until set, about 8-10 minutes. Cookies will not brown much, except around edges, so watch carefully and do not overbake. Immediately remove from cookie sheet onto wire rack to cool.

Nutritional Information per cookie: 64.8 calories, 5.6 g carbohydrates, 4 g total fat, 1.4 g saturated fat, 0.5 g fiber, 77.8 mg sodium, 1.4 g protein.

Original recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2010

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