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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Lemon Cornmeal Sandwich Cookies

Lemon Cornmeal Sandwich Cookies |
There's just something about those hints of green appearing in the trees and poking through the ground that puts me in a light mood. Birds gossping in the yard as they rifle around for loose bits to build their nests. Warmer mornings and the promise (threat) of shedded layers. Scooting the chocolate to the back shelf and reaching for those sunny lemons instead. That means Spring must really be here!

Don't get me wrong, I don't shun chocolate once Spring finally chases away the snow, but there is something about the change that just makes me crave lemons (or coconut - but that's a whole 'nother story).  So, when Dixie Crystals challenged the Sunday Supper crew to make some Springtime Sweets featuring their sugar, I immediately saw yellow.

Although I would have liked nothing better than to make a batch of my favorite Lemon Bars (or my other favorite Lavender Lemon Bars) or whip up a Lemon Meringue Pie, I steered myself in another direction. I was in the mood for cookies. Some sort of cookie that could be set out with the desserts at Easter and not passed over for the pies, tarts, and meringues that surrounded it.

Lemon Cornmeal Sandwich Cookies |
I do believe that I succeeded.

These are rustic and humble - but entirely beautiful at the same time. Stacked high on a cake-stand perch, I dare say they may disappear first. The cookie itself has a sandy, shortbread-like texture from the addition of cornmeal, and it sandwiches a sweet and lightly tangy cream center.

Lemon Cornmeal Sandwich Cookies
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Lemon Cornmeal Sandwich Cookies |
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 12-14 minutes
Keywords: bake dessert vegetarian soy-free nut-free cornmeal cream cheese lemons Easter cookie American spring

Ingredients (1 dozen sandwich cookies)
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour + extra for flattening dough
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 6 ounces (3/4 cup / 12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
for the filling:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup powedered sugar
  • 4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350° F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or foil. Whisk together the cornmeal, salt, and flour in a small bowl and set aside.

Beat the butter, sugar, and lemon zest with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add lemon juice and egg yolks, then beat again until combined. Turn mixer to low and add in the flour mixture a little bit at a time, until it is all incorporated. Mixture will be crumbly like a shortbread dough.

Scoop the dough out in packed 1-tablespoon portions and form into balls. Set on prepared sheets.

Put a 1/4 cup or so of flour onto a small plate. Dip the bottom of a glass or measuring cup (that measures ~2-inches across) into the flour, then gently press down on the dough balls to flatten into 2-inch disks.

Slide into preheated oven and bake for 12-14 minutes; the cookies should be lightly golden on the edges, but still soft in the center. Let cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

While the cookies are cooling, beat together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and lemon juice for the filling, until smooth. Flip one cooled cookie over and place about a tablespoon of the frosting on it. Set another cookie, bottom side in on top of that, and gently press to form a sandwich. Set on a plate or tray. Once all the sandwiches have been made, refrigerate an hour or so, so that the filling firms up.

-adapted from Real Simple
Lemon Cornmeal Sandwich Cookies |

This post is sponsored by Dixie Crystals. All opinions are my own.