Lemon Meringue Cookies

All the flavors of a classic diner dessert come together in these bite-size cookies: a buttery sugar cookie crust, a tangy and bright lemon curd filling and a chewy meringue topping.
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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 5 hr (includes chilling and cooling times)
  • Active: 1 hr
  • Yield: 2 dozen cookies
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Ingredients

Lemon Curd:

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg plus 1 yolk 

1/3 cup lemon juice 

3 tablespoons unsalted butter 

Cookies:

Nonstick cooking spray, for the mini muffin tin

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting (see Cook's Note) 

1/2 teaspoon baking powder 

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 

2/3 cup granulated sugar 

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature 

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 

1 large egg, at room temperature 

Meringue Kisses:

1 large egg white, at room temperature

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar 

1/4 cup superfine sugar 

Directions

Special equipment:
a 24-cup mini muffin tin; a disposable pastry bag with a 1/2-inch round tip
  1. For the lemon curd: Whisk together the granulated sugar, whole egg and egg yolk in a medium bowl.
  2. Heat the lemon juice in a small pot over medium heat until just simmering. Temper the eggs by slowly pouring the lemon juice into the egg mixture while whisking constantly. Pour everything back into the pot and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture has thickened to the consistency of a milkshake, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter until melted and incorporated.  
  3. Strain the curd through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl, place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd and refrigerate until completely chilled and very thick, at least 4 hours and up to overnight. 
  4. For the cookies: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray a 24-cup mini muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.  
  5. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside. 
  6. Add the granulated sugar and butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla and egg and beat until combined. With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour mixture and beat until just combined.  
  7. Scoop 1 tablespoon of cookie dough and, using flour to keep it from sticking to your hands, roll it into a ball and place it into one of the cups of the mini muffin tin. Use your fingers to press it into the cup and up the sides. Repeat with the remaining dough.  
  8. Bake until the cookies are light golden along the edges, about 30 minutes. Using the rounded end of the handle of a wooden spoon, gently press into the divot in each cookie to make a deeper cavity. Let the cookies cool slightly in the tin, then use an offset spatula or butter knife to help transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.  
  9. For the meringue kisses: Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. 
  10. Put the egg white in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on high until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat until soft peaks begin to form. Slowly stream in the superfine sugar and beat until glossy stiff peaks form.  
  11. Transfer the mixture to a disposable pastry bag with a 1/2-inch round tip. Pipe 24 small kisses onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until the meringues are beginning to dry, about 20 minutes, then turn off the oven and prop open the door with a spoon handle. Leave the meringue kisses in the oven until very dry, another 30 to 45 minutes. Let cool completely.  
  12. To assemble the cookies, fill the cavity of each cookie with lemon curd. Top each with a meringue kiss.

Cook’s Note

When measuring flour, we spoon it into a dry measuring cup and level off excess. (Scooping directly from the bag compacts the flour, resulting in dry baked goods.)