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Hazelnut-Lemon Curd Kisses

Exhibit A: I made lemon curd for our church’s recent Christmas Tea and there was plenty left over to share with friends and I also find myself in possession of some!  Exhibit B: I subscribe to Cook’s Country Magazine (published by American Test Kitchens) and their most recent issue (January 2011) had a recipe contest for cookies.  The winning cookie: Hazelnut-Lemon Curd Kisses.  I just had to make them, because I have almost a half gallon of lemon curd to use up.

I promptly went to my local grocery store to buy Hazelnuts, but they did not have them.  On my way to an errand I stopped at a Food 4 Less and they also did not carry them, but they recommended Trader Joes — who has them (from time to time, but not right now!)  In a last ditch effort, I stopped at my WinCo Food Market and looked in their baking isle, but they did not have it either… except I went to the section where they carry loose ingredients and they had them!!! I think I heard the Hallelujah Chorus! I bought a nice large bag as I like the make Linzer Cookies that also call for Hazelnuts.  In Europe these nuts are very common – here in southern CA I felt like I was playing a game of “Where is Waldo?”

I doubled the amount because 2 dozen cookies does not sound like a lot around my house!  When I made them I used a small ice cream scoop to scoop the dough, but they made the cookies very large – in rereading the recipe it advises 1 Tbsp size measurements of dough.  My doubled made 30 LARGE cookies, but the kids didn’t seem to mind.  They are delicious!

Hazelnut-Lemon Curd Kisses

adapted from Cook’s Country Magazine (January 2011 issue)

Makes 4 dozen

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole Hazelnuts, toasted
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup lemon curd (see recipe if you wish to make it yourself or buy a jar of it)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Place the oven racks in the upper and lower middle of the oven for even heating
  2. Place the raw hazelnuts on a cookie sheet and put them in the oven during the preheating process.  When the oven is at temperature they will be toasted enough.  I ground the toasted hazelnuts in a coffee grinder (the recipe called for a food processor with the flour and salt, but I only have a very small food processor, and this was just as easy).  First I made sure all the coffee grounds were out by adding raw nuts to the coffee grinder and processing it and then wiping the coffee grinder out with a paper towel.
  3. I lined my cookie sheets with silicone sheets, but parchment paper will do the job nicely as well.
  4. To prepare the dough: Beat the softened butter with the 2/3 cup of sugar at medium speed in a large mixing bowl, and beat until it is light and fluffy about 2 minutes.  Add the egg yolks and vanilla extract and mix to combine.  Add the flour, ground hazelnut and salt mixture one third at a time.  Mix on low until just combined and add more until the flour is combined.
  5. Scoop out the cookie dough and form into a 1 inch ball (mine were closer to 1 1/2 inches).  Use the back of a (greased) spoon to make an indent.  Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.  Remove them from the oven and put about 1/2 teaspoon of lemon curd in each indent of the cookie.  Return to the oven and bake for another 8-10 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are starting to turn golden brown.  Remove from oven.  Allow cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for about 5 minutes before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely.  Before serving. Dust with powdered sugar.

Cookies will keep in an airtight container for 2 days.  Or make ahead and freeze them if you wish (allow them to freeze on a cookie sheet for a few hours and then remove the cookies to a container – this will keep the lemon curd from sticking to other cookies.  To thaw remove them to a plate or platter and allow to thaw completely.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar.)

Printable Recipe

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Lemon Curd

Where have I been?   life has interrupted me several times in the past weeks and has made it difficult to blog – Plus, my husband and I are trying to lose weight and it’s been hard to make “naughty stuff” if you can’t eat it all!

As I mentioned before, I am on the food committee for our church’s Christmas Tea – Scones, served with Lemon Curd, Devonshire Cream the works!  Thankfully I am not alone in the endeavor and help has been easy to find! So happy!

I volunteered to make the lemon curd for the tea, as I already had experience making it with my wonderful friend Robbin, who headed up the Christmas Tea Food Prep for years – but alas all good things must come to and end and my friend is moving to Washington State.  Her touch will be dearly missed!

Lemon Curd is actually not hard to make, just expect that your arm is going to fall off stirring.  I made one big batch today and have 8 more batches to follow. A large batch will yield 9 cups of lemon curd.  That serves 72 (2 Tbsp size) servings.  The end goal: Lemon Curd for 600!  Lemon Curd is served with warm scones (Cranberry Scones – recipe coming soon).  Living in Southern California has it’s benefits.  One of them is fresh lemons.  My friend KC has a wonderful lemon tree in her yard and last summer she invited me to pick lemons.  Her lemons were large- some of them almost the size of grapefruit.  I did research that you can freeze fresh lemon juice and lemon zest – so that is what I did.  Thank you KC for your generous contribution.

Here is the recipe for a single recipe (not the batch- 3x the original recipe)

Lemon Curd

Yield 3 cups

24 (2 Tbsp) servings

Ingredients:

  • 5 eggs
  • 2/3 cup lemon juice (approximately 2-3 lemons)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tsp lemon zest (approximately 1 lemon)
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)

Preparation:

Place the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a sauce pan. (To zest, invest in a good micro-plane it makes the grating of the lemon easy – zest by the way is grated lemon peel, so wash your lemons first).

Use an immersion blender to combine the egg, sugar, lemon mixture (Immersion blenders cost around  30-50 dollars and are a great investment for a kitchen).  The mixture will be foamy.

Place the pot over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk in a circle eight fashion.  The bubbles will slowly subside and the mixture will thicken.

Continue stirring until it comes to a good boil.
Turn your burner off and remove the curd from the heat.

Cut the softened butter into smaller chunks and add a few at a time and mix them into the lemon curd with a whisk until the butter is completely dissolved.  Finish with remaining butter.  Whisk to combine.
Pour the lemon curd into a plastic container and allow to cool completely before covering with a lid and cooling in the refrigerator.

NOTES:  Lemon Curd will keep for 1 week in the refrigerator or can be frozen for up to 3 months.

In case you were making a big batch (say you really love your friends and wanted to make them some for Christmas) Here are the ingredients you will need:

  • 15 eggs
  • 2 cups lemon juice (fresh squeezed is best)
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 cups of butter (3 sticks)

Follow the directions above.

Printable Recipe

Just in case you wanted to know how many ingredients you need to feed 600:

135 eggs, 18 cups fresh squeezed lemon juice, 27 cups of sugar, 28 sticks of butter, 3 1/2 cups lemon zest

Ingredients

In a heavy saucepan

Well blended

stir constantly over medium heat

Thickened Curd

Bring to boil

Off Heat add butter

Finished Product