As I was bustling around the kitchen making these lovely little sweet treats, it dawned on me just how much I have missed baking over the past year. Don't get me wrong, I simply adore the trips to the playground, the toddler cuddles, and the countless other adorable 'mommy' things that have been occupying my time lately... but there is something about a dusting of flour over the countertop, the smell of freshly baked cookies, and licking the icing bowl clean that makes me dance around the kitchen with a goofy grin on my face.
For my 'come-back' recipe I wanted to use some fresh summer flavours - lemon and strawberry are two of my favourites and I figured it would be even better to mix them together than to just use one. The cookies have a crisp lemon flavour and they melt in your mouth. The filling has the expected tang of cream cheese frosting balanced with the sweetness of strawberry jam.
Mr Treat has a very different opinion than I regarding how much filling is appropriate in a sandwich cookie. His philosophy - less is more (let the flavours blend, not compete). My philosophy - more is more (let the flavours scream from the rooftops that they are here!). He won this time, but I will leave it to you to decide how much of this scrumptious frosting filling to sandwich between your cookies (note that I only used about half of the frosting this recipe made and am currently looking into how to use it up in another recipe before I devour it all with a spoon).
And although I wouldn't suggest handing over the platter of cookies to any kid, Toddler Treat thoroughly enjoyed the bite or two he stole from his momma's treat.
1 cup butter or margarine, room temperature
1 ½ cups icing sugar
1 egg, room temperature
2 tsp lemon zest (1 large lemon or 2 small lemons)
2 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 tsp vanilla, or seeds of 1 vanilla pod
3-3 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp poppy seeds
Preheat oven to 400°F.
On low speed and with whisk attachment, cream together butter and icing sugar until pea-sized beads form.
Change to paddle attachment. Add the egg, zest, juice, and vanilla. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl and mix on low to combine.
In a large bowl sift together 3 cups of flour, baking powder, and salt then add to the wet ingredients one cupful at a time.
Mix until the dough forms a ball on the paddle. Add a little extra flour if the dough seems sticky.
Roll out on parchment paper to about 1/4" thickness (if your dough is slightly sticky you will need to dust with flour occasionally . Cut into desired shapes and bake for 7-9 minutes, or until slightly firm and lightly golden on the bottom. Carefully remove from own and let cool completely on wire rack.
Strawberry Cream Cheese Filling
4 ounces cream cheese (half a block), chilled
1/4 cup butter or margarine, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups icing sugar
2 to 4 tablespoons strawberry jam
With paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese on high speed until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and mix to combine.
Add 2 1/2 cups of icing sugar, and beat until the sugar is incorporated. The mixture will be thick.
With the mixer on low speed, add 2 tablespoons of jam and beat until well combined. Add more jam by the tablespoon if necessary to create a smooth texture. The filling, however, should remain thick.
Transfer the filling to a pastry bag and pipe filling onto the underside of half the cookies. Top the filling of each with a second cookie. Chill until the filling is firm.
*Yield will vary depending on thickness and diameter of cutouts.