Hello people of the internet! You may or may not remember, but one of the things I’ve been wanting to work on lately is incorporating flavors other than chocolate in my baking.
I know. You’re thinking, But Jessica. Why? Why on earth would you want to do that? Yeah, I’m a chocolate freak, but some people like other flavors. They are entitled to their opinions, and actually, when I have little treats like these, it opens my mind and makes me think that maybe they are on to something.
You guys. These little cookie bites are cute, delicious and so good for summer when you want to pop a little sweet and citrus bit of goodness into your day. Dig on these!
Lemon Cookie Bites! The fun thing about these is they look fancier than they are. It’s basically a sugar cookie cup with velvety lemon filling.
Aaaaaaand commence with the sugar! (and butter and flour and cream cheese)!
First thing’s first! We make the lemon filling.
You’ll use a packet of lemon pudding mix and milk. Go ahead and just whisk them together and then pop them in the fridge. I will say that I used almond milk and it did not set up the way it was supposed to, so use regular milk. We are going to end up doing a couple crazy things with this, so if you have ideas about subbing things out to make it healthier, just throw those ideas out the window now. Embrace the naughtiness of this food item ladies and gentlemen. 🙂 While the pudding is setting up (which it should if you use regular milk), make the cookie cups!
This starts like any sugar cookie. We gather the ingredients.
It’s all the typical stuff. Flour, sugar, brown sugar, butter, baking soda, salt, cream of tarter, egg yolks and vanilla. I used this bad ass Mexican vanilla. The flavor is deeper and truer than regular old vanilla extract. When there are a bunch of chocolate chips or something in a cookie, it doesn’t matter as much to me because there are other flavors boosting the awesomeness of the treat. However, when the cookie is a naked sugar cookie, you gotta kick it up a notch. There is nothing to hide behind. Bring the good stuff. 🙂
Cream together the sugars and butter. You know the drill. Medium high speed until smooth and creamy.
Now add the egg yolks one at a time. Be sure to beat them in thoroughly between additions. After the eggs, mix in the vanilla.
Next, we combine all our dry ingredients together. I just stirred them together with a wooden spoon until they were thoroughly combined.
Add half the dry mixture to the wet ingredients. Mix to combine, scrape the sides of the bowl and add the other half.
Random note. I have noticed that Carmelita likes to hide flour in tricky places. I will think all my ingredients are mixed together and then as I stir in chocolate chips or turn out the dough to roll and cut it, I see sneaky flour tucked away in the bottom of the bowl. See, the bowl of my standing mixer has a little bump on the very bottom. It creates a nice path for bread dough to travel along around the bowl, but it is also a good place for dry ingredients to fall and get stuck. If you have noticed something similar, you may want to really dig into the bowl with a spatula and get all that goodness up right before a final whirl with your mixer.
Now, we actually form the cups!! 🙂
I used a mini cookie scoop leveled off and a mini muffin tin to make these. You scoop the dough with the mini scoop and drop it into a mini muffin tin prepped with baking spray. Then I took the bottom of a shot glass and kind of twisted it lightly on top of the dough. This evened out the surface. After that, I pressed my thumb into the middle of the dough a little bit to create a small cavity and gently molded some dough around the top of the muffin tin. The tricky part is making a deep enough depression that you know it will hold filling, but not pushing all the way through the bottom of the dough, ripping the bottom out. It is a smidge tricky at first, but once you get going, you get the hang of it AND it looks super cute at the end. Honestly, you do you. Everyone has their own way. Mine is just really crazy and involves a shot glass.
So you can see that the cup part isn’t super deep, but it will get there after baking. Which we do now! Bake for 10 minutes in a 350° oven.
Boom. When they come out of the oven, the center will be a bit raised. Don’t panic!
As they cool, they will settle and you will have your lovely sugar cookie cups. 🙂
Now, for the lemon cream filling. Remember that lemon pudding we had in the fridge. Yeah. Get that out along with a block of regular, full fat, bad for you cream cheese. It’s time to make something decadent.
Beat 8 oz of cream cheese until it is all creamy and smooth. This will help prevent bumps and lumps in your filling. Cream cheese is pretty snobby. It likes to hang out by itself and bind together so we try to socialize it. It needs to mix with other kids at the party. Otherwise it is going to be that weirdo just talking to the cat at every social gathering they attend for the rest of their lives. #notjudging #imightdothatsometimes
So, here is where you really need to pay attention to your stuff. We are going to slowly add the lemon mixture to the cream cheese as it mixes. You want to use the whisk attachment here so that the cream cheese doesn’t get all awkward and pull away from the lemon. Also, you need to watch it so that you don’t add too much. The mixture needs to be malleable enough to pipe into the cups, but thick enough to stand up on its own. You can do it! I believe in you.
And voila! Filling.
I thought it would be best to take the cups out of the mini muffin tin before piping. They should be cooled by now, so it shouldn’t be a Sharknado level disaster. Ease them out carefully because they are a little thinner at the top then along the bottom. Some may fall apart a little. That’s ok. It’s a good freaking sugar cookie. Feel free to eat any casualties, but there shouldn’t be too many.
Once they have been liberated from the oppressive muffin tin, scoop the lemon filling into a piping bag with a wide circular tip and pipe into the cups.
What!? They taste great and they look impressive too! I brought these to the lake for the 4th and they were a huge hit. Take them to a party, make them with the kids, or just keep them around to get a little hit to satisfy that craving for something sweet in the middle of the day. You can also make these with ANY flavor. I made a chocolate version and I think I’m going to try a pistachio one with almond sugar cookie cups at some point. With something like this, the sky’s the limit!
Have fun and nosh on, friends!
Lemon Cookie Bites
Yield: 2 dozen mini cookie bites Prep: 20 minutes Bake: 10 minutes
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar (lightly packed)
3 egg yolks
2 tsp Mexican vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cream of tarter
1 1/2 tsp salt
Lemon pudding mix
2 cups milk
8 oz cream cheese
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Prepare pudding by whisking together the pudding mix and milk. Place in refrigerator to set while preparing the cookies.
- Cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add yolks one at a time, mixing thoroughly for each yolk. Add vanilla and mix to combine.
- Whisk together all dry ingredients. Add to wet ingredients one half at a time. Be sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
- Prepare a mini muffin tin with nonstick spray and, using a mini cookie scoop, dish the dough into the muffin tin. Mold into a cup shape but be careful not to rip through the bottom of the dough as you press down the center of each cup.
- Bake at 350° for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack while you finish preparing the filling.
- Remove lemon pudding from fridge along with cream cheese.
- Beat cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Try to make sure there are no extra lumps.
- Slowly add lemon pudding to cream cheese until mixture is flavorful and malleable but still able to stand on its own.
- Once they are cooled completely, remove cookie cups from muffin tin very carefully.
- Using a piping bag fitted with a wide circular tip, pipe lemon filling into the cups. Feel free to top with whipped cream.