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Lemon-Meringue Sandwich Cookies

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Yields 40 sandwich cookies

  • To learn more, read:
    Dessert in a Cookie
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 108

Lemon meringue pie is the inspiration for these cookies: crisp meringue buttons are sprinkled with gingersnap crumbs (the crust) and sandwiched around a vibrant lemon curd.

 

For the meringues
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2-5/8 oz. (2/3 cup) confectioners’ sugar
  • Pinch table salt
  • 2 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. pure lemon extract
  • 1 oz. (1/4 cup) finely crushed gingersnap cookies
For the lemon curd
  • 3 oz. (6 Tbs.) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (from 1-1/2 large lemons)
  • 2 Tbs. finely grated lemon zest (from 1 large lemon)
  • Pinch of table salt
  • 6 large egg yolks
Make the meringues

Position racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 175°F. Line 2 large heavy-duty baking sheets with parchment.

In a food processor, process the sugar until very fine, about 45 seconds. Add the confectioners’ sugar and salt and pulse until well blended, about 15 seconds.

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the egg whites and cream of tartar. Begin mixing on medium-low speed until frothy. Increase the speed to medium high and beat until the whites form soft peaks, about 2 minutes. Continue beating while gradually sprinkling in the sugar mixture. When all the sugar is added, increase the speed to high and whip until firm, glossy peaks form, about 10 minutes. Add the vanilla and lemon extracts and beat just until blended, about 10 seconds.

Spoon the meringue into a large pastry bag fitted with a plain 3/32-inch tip (Ateco #3). Holding the pastry bag perpendicular to a lined baking sheet, pipe small flat disks about 1-1/4 inches in diameter and no higher than 1/4 inch, spaced about 1/2 inch apart. As you pipe, keep the tip down into the meringue and let it spread out rather than lifting the tip

up. If necessary, you can help the meringue spread by circling the tip in the meringue as you pipe. Sprinkle the crushed cookies evenly over the tops of the meringues. Don’t worry if the extra crumbs fall off. Using a fingertip, lightly press down on the crumbs to flatten any meringue peaks.

Bake the meringues until dried and crisp but not browned, about 2-1/2 hours. Turn off the oven and leave the door shut; let the meringues sit in the oven until cool, about 2 hours. Remove from the oven and gently lift the meringues off the parchment. (At this point, you can assemble the cookies or store the meringues in an airtight container for up to 1 month.)

Make the lemon curd

Melt the butter in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the sugar, lemon juice, zest, and salt. Whisk in the yolks until well blended. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat a spatula and hold a line drawn through it with a finger, 4 to 6 minutes. Don’t let the mixture boil.

Strain the curd into a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic onto the surface to keep a skin from forming. Let cool at room temperature; then refrigerate until chilled. (The curd will keep for up to 3 weeks.)

Assemble the cookies

Arrange half of the meringues bottom side up on a work surface. Put the chilled curd in a piping bag fitted with a plain 3/8-inch tip (Ateco #7) and pipe about 1 tsp. of curd onto each meringue. Gently press the remaining meringues bottom side down onto the curd.

The filled cookies can be prepared and kept at room temperature up to 1 hour before serving. The longer they sit, the softer the meringues become.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 50; Fat (g): fat g 2.5; Fat Calories (kcal): 20; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 1.5; Protein (g): protein g 1; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 1; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 7; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 0; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 25; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 35; Fiber (g): fiber g 0;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Ooo, these are so good! Even though I forgot the vanilla (I wasn't planning on using the lemon extract) so they probably could have even been better. The first time I tried the meringue it fell but I think I added the sugar too fast and I used 2 day old egg whites cold from the fridge. The second time I tried the meringue I used fresh whites at room temp and wiped the bowl and whisk with a paper towel of vinegar. I also waited until the whites were a little more firm and I added the sugar very slowly with the speed on 6 on my Kitchenaid mixer. The recipe doubled easily. I had a few to test them and the rest are for my Easter party tomorrow.

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