Now that I've got a new camera and have figured out how to upload photos, it's high time for me to post this recipe. I really wanted to make these cookies before Christmas, but ran out of time and energy so the ingredients had to wait. It turns out that this is one of the easiest cookies I've ever made and the taste testers just loved them!
The recipe is from Martha Stewart's Holiday 2010 issue and there recipe was featured in "One Dough, 30 Cookies" - infinite variations from a basic dough. I knew I wanted to make thumbprint cookies, which are usually rolled in nuts and filled with jam, but I wanted a change after baking so much with chocolate for Christmas this year. I made the citrus dough variation and filled the "thumbprints" with lemon curd, hence Lemon Drops! They really didn't look like fried eggs, but like little lemon suns. :)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 sticks softened unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup lemon curd for filling - I used E.D. Smith's brand, rather than making it from scratch
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together flour and salt in bowl and set aside. Beat together softened butter and sugar on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Beat in egg, lemon zest and juice and reduce speed to low. Scrape bowl to ensure all the lemon zest is fully incorporated. On low speed, add flour mixture and beat until combined.
I used my trusty 1-1/2 tbsp scoop to measure out the dough which gave me a 4-1/2 dozen yield. If you use a smaller scoop, you'll get a higher cookie yield. After scooping, roll dough into balls and place on parchment lined cookie sheets. Instead of using my thumb, I used the back of my 1/2 tsp measuring spoon, which has a flat bottom, to indent my cookies. Then refrigerate your cookies for 30 minutes, so that the dough is very firm before baking.
Bake chilled cookies for 7 minutes, then remove from oven and re-press the "thumbprints" since the cookies rise slightly during baking. You want a deeper indent for your filling. Bake another 8 minutes (depending on your oven temp.) until firm. Allow to cool completely on racks.
If you've ever tried to "spoon" lemon curd, you know it's very difficult to do neatly, let alone into a 1/2" indent on a cookie! I used a small zippered sandwich bag, added the lemon curd, snipped off a tiny opening on one corner and voila! I had an improvised piping bag without a lot of lemony mess. I only used 1 cup for all the cookies, since it took just a tiny swirl to fill them all. The "swirl" settled into a big dot and they looked like little suns when they were done.
They're a wonderful, light two-bite cookie that I've already been asked again to make for a bridal shower this spring...of course I said yes. :)