These Lemon Curd Cookies are phenomenal! They start with a shortbread like thumbprint cookie and are filled with fresh lemon curd, then baked to perfection. Tart and sweet, they truly have it all. These are one of my favorite Christmas cookies to make for the Holiday season and for Spring baking too.
These Lemon filled cookies are over the top and one of my favorite cookies to date. They require a little extra time and effort with the homemade lemon curd, but it's worth it. You can also buy store-bought if you're in a time crunch.
They really bring a special look to the Christmas cookie platter! If you're looking for more original cookie recipes, try these Blueberry Lemon Cookies, Butterscotch and Chocolate Chip Cookies and White Chocolate Raspberry Cookies too.
Why You'll Love This Recipe:
- These lemon thumbprints are so fancy and really easy to make.
- The tart flavors are incredible and a nice variation from the typical sweet Christmas cookies.
- Both the lemon curd and the thumbprint cookie dough require simple ingredients.
- No chilling time required with the thumbprint dough. If you're in a hurry, grab some store bought lemon curd and have these cookies prepped and baked in less than an hour.
Lemon juice, lemon zest, eggs, sugar and butter: Come together to form the most delicious homemade lemon curd in just one pot.
Flour: The base of the thumbprint cookies and helps with a bit of rising. Baking powder and soda aren't used in this recipe and we rely mainly on the all purpose flour to provide shape and stability.
Butter: Adds fat to the cookies to avoid cracking and provides a savory taste to balance out the sugar.
Granulated Sugar: For sweetness and to cream with the butter to create an airy texture in our cookies.
Egg: Used in the lemon curd to create texture and thickness & in the cookies to help bind the ingredients together for baking.
*Full recipe ingredients and quantities can be found in the recipe card below.
Substitutions and Variations:
Feel free to buy store bought lemon curd to save an hour and a half of time.
Want more thumbprint varieties than lemon curd filling? Double the dough recipe and fill some of the cookies with different jams, like Cherry, Apricot or Strawberry Thumbprints.
How to Make Lemon Curd Cookies:
Step 1: Make the homemade lemon curd: Into a medium sized pot, whisk together 2 eggs, lemon juice, lemon zest and ⅓ cup sugar to combine. Add in butter. Place on the stovetop over low heat. Continue to whisk the whole time while cooking for 5 minutes. (If using storebought lemon curd, skip to Step 5).
Step 2: After 5 minutes, increase the heat to medium low and continue to whisk until the lemon curd thickens and the temperature reaches 170-175 degrees. It should be the consistency of pudding. This can take between 5-10 minutes depending on the heat. Turn off the heat.
Step 3: Strain the lemon curd through a fine mesh strainer and allow it to cool for a few minutes.
Step 4: Transfer to a sealed container or jar. Store in the fridge for at least an hour before using.
Step 5: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large cookie sheet or 2 half sheets with parchment paper or silpat mats. Whisk together the dry ingredients, flour and salt, and set aside.
Step 6: In a stand mixer or large bowl with hand mixer, mix together the 8 tablespoons of softened unsalted butter and ½ cup sugar on medium low speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Step 7: Add in the egg yolk and vanilla and blend until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Step 8: Pour in the dry ingredients and blend on low until combined into a dough ball.
Step 9: Roll the dough into 1 tablespoon size balls. Dunk each ball into the powdered sugar and roll around to cover. Push your thumb down into the top surface of each cookie to create a holding spot for the filling. Note: If the sides are pushed down at all, build them up so the lemon curd doesn't leak out.
Step 10: Remove the lemon curd from the fridge and fill each thumbprint, almost full, of lemon curd. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes.
Step 11: Allow the lemon curd cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Sprinkle over additional powdered sugar, if desired. Serve and enjoy!
- The lemon curd makes about 1 cup. You will have enough for another batch of cookies, or to keep in the fridge for other recipes.
- When making the homemade lemon curd, it's highly recommended to use a thermometer to make sure the curd reaches the right temperature and has a pudding like texture. Whisk the lemon curd the entire time it cooks.
- The homemade lemon curd needs at least an hour in the fridge to set up.
- Make sure to use softened butter for the dough.
Lemon curd should be removed from the heat when the temperature reaches between 170 and 175 degrees. The consistency should be similar to pudding.
Lemon curd is absolutely delicious for the filling of these cookies, but you can also use it over french toast, crepes or pancakes, in puddings or yogurt parfaits, or as cake filling.
Store the lemon curd in a sealed container, preferably glass, in the fridge for up to a week.
Allow the cookies to cool completely. Store the thumbprints in a sealed container or ziplock bags. It's safe to leave them out the day you bake them, but because the lemon curd contains eggs, I like to refrigerate them after 6-7 hours.
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