Sunday, April 6, 2014

Lemon and Strawberry Button Cookies

During culinary school, I took a class where we made bite size desserts. Petit fours are generally one bite, and are often served for high tea. These cookies are generally made with a plain short dough and are called harlequin cookies. Harlequin doesn't really sound very appetizing, so I don't refer to them as that. These cookies are cute little buttons and are simple to make!

Instead of using a regular short dough, I gave it a twist with a lemon shortbread. The tangy lemon compliments the sweet strawberry for a perfect balance!

Lemon and Strawberry Button Cookies (makes 24 cookies)
1 stick Butter, softened
1/2 cup Sugar
1 tbsp Lemon Juice
2 Egg Yolks
1 tsp Salt
1 1/4 cup Flour
1/2 cup Strawberry Jam 
3 tbsp Powdered Sugar

1. Cream butter and sugar together with lemon juice using an electric mixer. The mixture should be well incorporated, and there shouldn't be any lumps of butter.
2. Add the egg yolks and mix to incorporate.
3. Add the flour and salt and mix on low speed until mostly incorporated. Use your hands to incorporate the flour fully.
4. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap in a flat rectangle. Making this shape will make rolling it out much simpler.
5. Place into the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
7. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick.
8. Cut out 1"x1" squares. You can do this by using the width of a ruler as a guide/straightedge to cut the dough with a paring knife. If the dough is not cold, the squares will not keep the shape well as you cut.
9. Any scrap pieces can be re-rolled and re-cut.
10. Punch button-holes onto half of the unbaked cookies. I used an icing tip to do this.
11. Bake for about 12-15 minutes, until the dough is set. These cookies should not have much color on them. When they are done, you can press the cookie gently, and it shouldn't be too soft. The bottom of the cookie will also become golden brown.
12. Allow the cookies to cool completely. In the meantime, if the jam has strawberry pieces in it, you should push it through a medium mesh sieve so that the pieces do not block the piping tip.
13. Put a small sized round tip (about 1/4" in diameter) into a piping bag (or a ziploc bag) and then pour the jam into the bag.
14. Match plain squares with squares with holes on the top. Do not invert the plain squares when you fill them. Piping jam on the top ensures that the cookie will lay flat.
15. Pipe the jam onto the cookie. You should only put about a dime sized circle.
16. Sift a small amount of powdered sugar over the tops of the cookies to give them a light dusting.
17. Sandwich the tops onto the bottoms of the cookies, being careful to not touch the powdered sugar on top.
18. Apply a little pressure so that the jam comes through the holes of the top cookie.

These cookies can be made into any shape, but I would recommend maintaining a similar size. These cookies are meant to be bite-size, so that jam doesn't ooze out of the sides.

These are great for any springtime tea party! With Easter celebrations drawing closer, this is a great way to enjoy the flavors of spring and share with loved ones :)

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