Lemon Sandwich Cookies

This recipe comes to us from Rose Levy Beranbaum, renowned baker and author.

  • Prep Time 0 min
  • Total Time 0 min
  • Servings 24

2
tablespoons lemon zest, lightly packed
2/3
cup (4.75 ounces) granulated sugar
1/4
teaspoon salt
13
tablespoons (6.5 ounces) cold butter
2-2/3 cups (11.25 ounces) Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour, lightly spooned into the cup and leveled off
1
large egg (about 3 tablespoons) lightly beaten
1
teaspoon vanilla
your favorite jam or jelly, or lemon buttercream frosting (see below)

  • 1 <b>Food Processor Method</b> Process the lemon zest with the sugar and salt until the zest is very fine. Cut the butter into several pieces and add it with the motor running. Process until smooth and creamy, Add the egg and vanilla and process until incorporated, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the flour and pulse in just until incorporated. The mixture will hold together if pinched.
  • 2 <b>Electric Mixer Method</b> For the best texture use superfine granulated sugar. Soften the butter and chop the lemon zest until very fine. In a mixing bowl cream together the sugar and butter until fluffy. Add the lemon zest, egg, and vanilla extract and beat until blended. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. On low speed, gradually add it to the butter mixture and mix until incorporated and the dough just begins to come away from the sides of the bowl.
  • 3 <b>For Both Methods</b> Scrape the mixture onto a large sheet of plastic wrap and use the wrap to press down on the dough, kneading it until it is smooth. Divide the dough into four pieces, wrap each one with plastic wrap, and press to form flat discs. Refrigerate for 2 hours up to 2 days placed in a zip-seal bag, to firm and give the dough a chance to absorb the moisture evenly to make rolling easier.
  • 4 Place 2 oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • 5 Remove the dough from the refrigerator and set it on a lightly floured surface. Lightly flour the dough and cover it with plastic wrap. (I like to use Wondra® flour for dusting.) Allow the dough to soften for about 10 minutes or until supple enough to roll. Roll the dough to 1/8 inch thick, moving it from time to time and adding more flour if necessary to keep it from sticking.
  • 6 Cut out 2-1/4 inch cookies. preferably using a scalloped cutter. Use a 3/4 inch round cutter or pastry tube to cut out the centers of half of them. (If using a plastic cutter, or parchment-lined cookied sheet, it’s best to do this after placing the cookies on the cookie sheet.) Set the cookies, about 1/2 inch apart, on the cookie sheets. Knead together the scraps and reroll them, chilling them first if necessary.
  • 7 Bake the cookies for 8 to 12 minutes or just until they begin to brown lightly. For even baking, rotate the cookie sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking.
  • 8 Use a small offset spatula or pancake turner to transfer the cookies to cooling racks. When cool, spread the bottom sides of the cookie halves without the cutouts with 1 teaspoon of lemon buttercream or your favorite jam or jelly, and set the second set of cookies with the cutouts on top, bottom side down to create the sandwiches.
  • 9 <b>Lemon Neoclassic Buttercream</b> Makes: 1 cup/about 8 ounces 2 large egg yolks 1/4 cup superfine sugar 2 tablespoons light corn syrup 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened—65 to 75°F 1 tablespoon lemon zest, finely chopped, loosely packed 2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 10 In a medium bowl, with a handheld mixer, beat the yolks on high speed until light in color.
  • 11 Have ready a 1-cup heatproof glass measure, coated lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
  • 12 In a small saucepan, preferably nonstick, using a silicone spatula, stir together the sugar and corn syrup until all the sugar is moistened. Heat over medium-high, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves and the syrup begins to bubble around the edges. Stop stirring completely and continue cooking for a few minutes until the syrup comes to a rolling boil. (The entire surface will be covered with large bubbles.) Immediately transfer the syrup to the glass measure to stop the cooking.
  • 13 Beat the syrup into the yolks in a steady stream. Don’t allow the syrup to fall on the beaters or they will spin it onto the sides of the bowl. Continue beating on high speed for 5 minutes. Allow it to cool completely. To speed cooling, place the buttercream in an ice water bath or the refrigerator, stirring occasionally. When the outside of the bowl feels cool, on high speed, beat in the butter by the tablespoon. The buttercream will not thicken until almost all of the butter has been added. On low speed, add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla. Raise the speed to high and beat until smooth and creamy. It may separate at first but come together on beating.
  • 14 Place the buttercream in an airtight bowl. Use it at once or set it aside for up to 4 hours. If keeping it longer than 4 hours, refrigerate it. Bring it to room temperature and rebeat to restore the texture.

Expert Tips

Nonstick or lined with parchment cookie sheets, a 2-1/4 inch scalloped cookie cutter and a 3/4—inch cutter (you can use a large pastry tube).

Finely chop the zest after zesting.

The sugar syrup must be boiling all over before pouring it into the eggs for it to thicken properly.

The egg/syrup mixture must be completely cool to the touch before adding the butter.