Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike. -John Muir

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Can't Sleep? Then Bake...

Recently I've had quite a bit of stress in my life.  This past Sunday, my fathers best friend suddenly passed away.  So with all the other stresses, I am now worried about my parents coping with their grief over the loss of a very dear friend.  As a child, whenever something bad would happen, my mother would be right into the kitchen baking cookies.  She always said 'You need a little sweet to go with the bitter'.  That has been something that has always stuck with me.  Whether its the relief that I get from being in the kitchen, or the beautiful pairing of bittersweet in life and in food, I find that somehow being in the kitchen tonight at midnight helped relieve some of the stress.  I plan to mail some of these cookies of to my folks tomorrow morning.

Lemon Curd Thumbprint Cookies: The Bitter and the Sweet

What you need
 for the curd:
     3 eggs (whole)
     1/3 cup lemon juice
     3/4 cup sugar
     2 tbsp lemon zest
note: this is lemon zest and lemon juice from 3 large lemons
     4 tbsp room temperature butter
for the dough:
     1/2 room temperature butter
     1/4 cup sugar
     1 egg
     1/2 tsp vanilla
     1 cup all purpose flour

For the lemon curd: In a stainless steel bowl over a pot of boiling water whisk together eggs and lemon juice and sugar.  Keep whisking the mixture until it thickens (this will be a few minutes, be patient).  Then the mixture thickens, take it off the heat and add the butter and lemon zest.  Stir until everything is combined.  I had enough lemon curd to fill a small mason jar.  (It is yummy in place of jam on toast and scones too).

For the cookies: With an electric mixer combine butter and sugar.  Add the egg and vanilla and combine.  Add the flour in 2 portions mixing completely.  Make 1 inch diameter balls of dough and lay out on baking sheet.  Gently press thumb into center of dough to form a well for the lemon curd.  put about 1/2 tsp lemon curd into each well.  Bake on 350 for 13-15 minutes.

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