Lemon Poppy Seed Thumbprint Cookies

I don’t often reach for a lemon dessert. You’ll more often find me scarfing down a giant chocolate something-or-other, but I like a little lemon nibble now and then. These cookies satisfy that craving, a tart bite on top of a simple buttery shortbread cookie speckled with poppy seeds for a little crunch. I personally like them with my afternoon coffee, a little treat in the middle of the day to keep me going. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can make your own lemon curd. I like the recipe by Pretty. Simple. Sweet. I find it less eggy tasting than most curds because it has a little bit of heavy cream, but a jar from the store will make this recipe faster and just as good. I use a cookie scoop to keep the size relatively consistent, which yields dough balls about 1 ¼-inches wide. This cookie recipe is designed to keep the curd still rather fluid, so do not stack them when storing.

Makes 36 cookies


  • 16 tablespoons (227 grams) softened unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 egg yolks (37 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon lemon extract
  • 2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (160 grams) lemon curd


Make the cookies:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Line half sheet pans with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Using a standard mixer or a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add egg yolks, lemon zest and extract and beat to combine.
  3. In a small mixing bowl, combine the flour, poppy seeds and salt and then gradually add to the butter mixture on low speed until just combined, scraping down the bowl as needed.
  4. Roll the dough into equal sized balls and place on the sheet pans about 2 inches apart. Using the back of a melon baller or teaspoon, press an indent into the middle of each cookie.
  5. Bake for about 10 minutes or until slightly brown on the bottom. Remove the cookies from the oven and pipe each well with lemon curd. Return to the oven and bake for another 2 minutes to help set slightly.
  6. Let the cookies completely on wire racks and then serve. Cookies will remain at room temperature in an airtight container for 2 to 3 days.


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AnnMarie Mattilahttps://pastryathome.com
AnnMarie Mattila is a writer for Pastry Arts Magazine, as well as a freelance baker and pastry chef in New York. She has a master’s degree in Food Studies from New York University and is also a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education.

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