I want to tell everyone that someone at Gourmet is a genius. Last year, they published The Gourmet Cookie Book, a compilation of the best cookie recipes they created each year from 1941 – 2009.
Obviously I wanted it, Gourmet. Do you think I have the power to turn down a compilation of the best cookie recipes from 68 years of your magazine’s existence? Nope. I do not. Seriously, whoever has the power to do these kinds of things should declare them geniuses.
My decision to dive into the Christmas-cookie-baking world was a blind one. My ever-hungry eyes that were doing the recipe scanning paid little attention to my skill level. I say that because I decided to bake the Glittering Lemon Sandwich Cookies, the 2008 Gourmet cookie recipe, because…well…they are just so darn pretty. If there were cookies growing on the trees in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, it would be these little glittery balls of lemon happiness. That’s how cute and nifty these guys look.Mine did not turn out quite as cute as Gourmet’s picture, but I’m not torn up about it. I’m actually blaming it on my inability to find sanding sugars. I had to use pearl sugar instead. They were absolutely delicious – the perfect combination of tart lemon and sweet sugar. The texture was just as enjoyable with a great crunch to the cookie followed by the creaminess of the filling.
Glittering Lemon Sandwich Cookies
From The Gourmet Cookie Book: The Single Best Recipe from Each Year 1941-2009
If you want to make a Christmas cookie than wows its recipients, this is it. Anyone who sees it will think, like me, “what a pretty cookie…” It’s a natural reaction.
Make the filling at least two hours ahead and freeze it in a heavy-duty zip-lock bag. This makes it much easier to work with. Once the sandwiched cookies are assembled, they need to be refrigerated.
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tbs grated lemon zest
1 tbs fresh lemon juice
2 tbs light corn syrup
½ stick unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
⅔ cup cornstarch
¼ tsp salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tbs grated lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla
different colored sanding sugars
Combine all filling ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium speed until combined well. Transfer to your zip-lock bag and put in the freezer.
Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Whisk together flour, cornstarch, and salt in medium mixing bowl.
In electric mixer, combine butter and confectioners’ sugar until fluffy. Add lemon zest and vanilla to combine. Add flour mixture and continue to beat until a soft dough forms.
Preheat the oven to 350°. Put your sanding sugars in small bowls – ramekins works perfectly. Using a teaspoon, scoop out a flattened amount of the dough and roll into a ball with your hands. Drop it into a bowl of the sugar and roll to cover. If you need to reshape, roll the sugared ball between your palms again. Put the ball on the baking sheet and press to flatten the bottom, so it looks like half of a sphere. Repeat until done.
The cookies should bake about 12 minutes. It may be hard to tell when they are done because of the sanding sugars, so check regularly. You want the bottoms of the cookies to be a pale golden color.
When cookies have cooled, you can assemble the sandwiches. Take the filling out of the freezer and snip off a corner of your bag. Turn over half the cookies, and squeeze a ½ teaspoon of the filling onto the flat side. Sandwich with the other half.
Picnic tip: A small tin is the perfect way to take your cookies to a friend’s house as a gift. If you’re going to an outdoor picnic and worried about ingredients melting, pack the cookies in a small baggie and place them in your insulated cooler.