Lemon Gems-- Lemon curd filled sandwich cookies by Real Food Girl: Unmodified
Desserts,  Snacks

Lemon Gem Cookies

It’s spring!! It’s been spring for a while here in South Carolina, but I try not to talk about it since they still have snow up in MN where I’m from.  For weeks I’ve wondered why none of my neighbors has opened their windows to air out their homes, let in the lovely fresh air and enjoy the breezes and the singing birds.

Then one day when I had the windows wide open and fans blowing, too I discovered that an eighth of an inch of pollen covered every surface of my house inside and out and I’ve been blowing my nose non-stop.  On principle alone, I refuse to shut the windows and turn on the air.  I’ll be locked in the house for months once the true heat and humidity hits so I’m trying to enjoy the fresh air even though it’s attacking me and killer pollen spores are chasing me down like brain-hungry zombies. I’ve gone through 12 boxes of Puffs ® in the last 3 weeks.  Good times!

So spring is here and that means that I get to play in the kitchen with lemons!  Lemons are the personification of spring and I tend to go a little crazy baking with lemon each spring.  I’m loved by my neighbors because we can’t eat all these treats.  There is no end to my love of lemon treats.  From Triple Citrus Bars, Strawberry Lemonade, to Lemon-Blueberry Bread and Lemon Cheesecake Squares (recipes coming to the blog soon).  I simply love lemons. It’s one of my favorite flavors. Lemons make me twitterpated.

Lemon Gems. Buttery cookies sandwich tart, yet sweet lemon curd filling| Real Food Girl: Unmodified

The Stud Muffin also loves lemons as much as I do.  That is, unless it’s lemons stuffed into the cavity of a Thanksgiving turkey.  Yeah, my very first attempt as a young newlywed, at a Thanksgiving Turkey was a recipe I got off a daytime talk show.  Let’s just say that if gravy makes you pucker and contort your face into shapes that even a Russian Gymnast couldn’t create in the natural, you’ve used too much lemon!  Because of this epic fail, The Stud Muffin still asks, 18 years later if I put lemons in the Turkey. Every.Single.Thanksgiving.  And the answer is always “No, dear”.  

This recipe was torn out of a magazine. I have no idea if it was from one of mine, or one from a doctor’s office, or from a Williams Sonoma catalog. I just know this recipe isn’t my creation. I did tweak it slightly, but only because I wanted to add more lemon zest to both the cookie and the lemon curd.  OH-My-Lanta people! That lemon curd is TA DIE FER!!  Hand to Jesus people! It’ll make your knees buckle. This curd is the Brad Pitt of lemon curds.  That’s right. y’all. THEE Brad Pitt.  Or the dude that plays Thor. Take your pick. Either one gets my point across.

Lemon Gems. Buttery cookies sandwich tart, yet sweet lemon curd filling| Real Food Girl: Unmodified

You’ll be happy to know that these cookies, while tart and full of bright, fresh lemon zest, are not going to make you suck your face inside out.  They have just the right amount of sour tartness and just the right amount of sweet.  The little cookies are actually not very sweet at all. It’s one of the reasons that I like them. We tried these cooled down and straight from the fridge and both TSM and I preferred them after sitting in the fridge for a couple hours.  It makes the cookies more firm, and the butter, sugar and flour have time to get happy-happy and the cookie just tastes better.  I dusted half the cookies with powdered sugar after baking, and the other half I rolled in organic cane sugar before baking.  We both liked the cookies rolled in cane sugar better than the ones dusted with powdered sugar. Trust me- we still ate every cookie.  I didn’t think it was possible, but these cookies make raw milk taste even better than it does.  True story.

If you are like us, and you love lemon, and you love to bake with lemon and you need a little bright, citrusy, lemon gem cookie love in your life, you have to make these cookies! Some people do deep cleaning each spring, and I bake with lemons.  Maybe that’s why I still have so much pollen in my house?  Nah. That can’t be why.

Lemon Gems. Buttery cookies sandwich tart, yet sweet lemon curd filling| Real Food Girl: Unmodified

I’m curious. Do you love lemons? What is your favorite lemon treat to make?  



Lemon Gems
Yields 42
Tart and lemony curd sandwiched between two buttery-rich cookies. It's lemon curd and cookie heaven.
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Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
7 min
Total Time
52 min
Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
7 min
Total Time
52 min
Lemon Curd Filling
  1. 2/3 cup organic cane sugar
  2. 1 large egg, slightly beaten
  3. 1 TB + 1 tsp. lemon zest
  4. 3 TB lemon juice
  5. 1-1/2 teaspoons softened butter
  1. 1 cup organic grass-fed/pastured butter, softened
  2. 1/2 cup + 1 TB organic powdered sugar
  3. 1 TB lemon zest
  4. 2 tsp. lemon juice
  5. 2 cups organic all purpose flour
  6. Heaping 1/4 tsp. unrefined sea salt
  7. Garnish- organic cane sugar or organic powdered sugar
To make the curd
  1. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, egg, lemon zest, lemon juice and the butter. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly for about 10-12 minutes, or until mixture begins to thicken.
  2. You want the curd to be fairly thick, but note that it will continue to thicken and set a bit as it cools. If it's too runny, it won't work as a filling for the cookies.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  4. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment and set aside.
For the cookies
  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the butter, sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice and beat at medium speed until creamy. I used an electric mixer for this.
  2. Add the salt to the flour. Add the flour in thirds to the dough, beating until just combined.
  3. Using a 1-teaspoon measure, roll dough into balls. (I rolled each ball into some cane sugar before flattening. We preferred the taste of this to the ones dusted with powdered sugar) Place the balls onto your prepared cookie sheets, and slightly flatten with the bottom of a lightly buttered glass or the palm of your hand.
  4. Bake for 6-9 minutes until firm. Don't let them get too golden brown. Let the cookies fully cool on the parchment.
  5. Spread half of the cookies with the lemon curd and top with remaining cookies. Dust with organic powdered sugar or roll in powdered sugar if desired.
  1. If you use a true teaspoon-measuring spoon to portion the dough you will have enough to make 42 sandwich cookies (84 cookies will make 42 sandwich cookies). I used the Teavana teaspoon to measure my cookie dough.
  2. Let the cookies cool fully before adding the curd.
Adapted from Chef Tyler Brown from The Hermitage Hotel
Adapted from Chef Tyler Brown from The Hermitage Hotel


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Classically trained Cordon Bleu chef turned anti-GMO, pro-organic, food hippie blogger with a passion for REAL food.


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