There’s something about lemon cookies that just draws me in every time. Combine this irresistibility with the lure of shortbread, and you’ve got one spectacular cookie. In Sweden these are known as citrongrottor but whatever you call these lemon curd shortbread thumbprints they are incredibly delicious.
For this recipe there is no chilling of the dough needed and this is because there are 2 egg yolks in the mix. It took me years of baking before I learned that adding egg yolks to shortbread dough means the cookies don’t spread in the oven nearly as much. Italian shortbreads sometimes even call for cooked eggs yolks run through a strainer!
My most trusted shortbread cookie recipe from years ago tastes wonderful, but you have to chill the dough and say a prayer to make sure the cookies don’t come out of the oven flat and burned around the edges. Adding egg yolks pretty much eliminates this issue.
Not having to chill these cookies cuts down on the overall time which makes these cookies much easier to make than traditional, plain shortbread. The other thing that simplifies the process is using pre-made lemon curd. You might not have had a need to buy this before, but it’s usually found right next to the jam and honey in the supermarket. You can also make your own if you’re so inclined, but to me the jarred tastes just as good as homemade.
Once you have the dough made and have formed each cookie into a small golf ball shape, it’s time to make the thumbprints. You can use your fingers, but a measuring spoon will give a nice, round indent that’s perfectly symmetrical.
I go back and forth on which style I like better because the thumbprint reminds me of making cookies with my mom when I was little, but the spoon method is so neat and tidy. Either method works great and both taste divine! Just make sure not to press too hard so that there’s plenty of cookie left in the middle to support the lemon curd filling.
Once you have carefully the lemon curd into the indents sprinkle the cookies with a little bit more sugar and bake until the bottoms of the cookies begin to turn golden brown. Because the lemon curd gets lava hot in the oven let the cookies cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. These are not cookies you can eat straight out of the oven (sadly).
These little drops of sunshine have the perfect amount of citrus flavor that’s offset nicely by the hint of almond in the dough. If you love lemon then this no-fuss recipe is just the ticket.
Lemon Curd Shortbread Thumbprints
Makes 34 small cookies
20m prep time
14m cook time
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus extra for garnish
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup lemon curd
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. In large bowl cream together butter and sugar for 2-3 minutes. Add in egg yolks, extracts, and salt and mix until uniform in color.
- Mix in flour until just blended, but do not over-mix. Form dough into balls slightly smaller than golf balls.
- Place cookies on greased or lined baking sheet and depress each cookie in the center using thumb (or back of spoon). Use light pressure to avoid cutting through all the way to the pan.
- Fill each cookie with a dollop of lemon curd and sprinkle with a little sugar. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until bottom of cookies is golden brown.
- Transfer cookies to a wire rack after 5 minutes. Allow to cool completely before serving.
Recipe adapted from Baked by an Introvert.