There are times, quiet times, when I love nothing more than cooking alone. The house is silent, and though I can hear the clock ticking, it feels like I have all the time in the world.

These are golden moments for me. Everything seems to slow and usual cooking tasks – chopping, whisking, braising – take on an enhanced aura. You realize suddenly the magic of what you are doing, how good food combined with a few simple techniques can transform itself beneath your hands into something new and exciting.

The fun thing about cooking alone is that it often happens by surprise. You come home expecting the usual – TV on, laundry still unfolded. But instead, there is only silence. No one is home; it’s just you and your kitchen.

So, you pour a glass of wine, turn on some Michael Buble and decide to make lemon crème sandwich cookies.

Soon you’re sifting to the music, crafting a simple shortbread that will later be filled with buttery, lemon cream. The cookie seems to define the night, subtle at first glance, silent and calm. But then you begin to taste the zing of lemon zest and the true excitement of the evening rings through.

When is the next time you get to cook like this? Who knows. But what you are certain of is that these moments, though few and far between, are meant to be savored. And so you relax for a few more minutes, nibble your cookie, and do just that.


Lemon crème sandwich cookies
These cookies remind me of summer. Light, lemon cream frosting sandwiched between two (also lemony) shortbread cookies. The subtlety of the dense shortbread provides a nice contrast to the bold frosting. A few things I learned while baking: make sure your cookies are not too thick; you’ll want an even ratio of cookie to filling. There’s a lot of butter in both so less is more! Also, make your filling nice and stiff. This can be achieved by not overdoing the lemon juice and also adding additional powdered sugar if needed. I’ll be trying this recipe in the future with both orange and lime. Is it June yet?

For the cookies, you will need:
¾ cup salted butter, softened
½ cup confectioner’s sugar
2 tsp. pure lemon extract
1 ½ cups flour
¼ cup cornstarch

For the filling, you will need:
¼ cup salted butter, softened
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 tbsp. heavy cream
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2-3 tsp. grated lemon zest

Preheat your oven to 325

In a medium bowl, cream the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the lemon extract and beat until light and fluffy. Add the flour and cornstarch. Blend at low speed until combined.

Pat the dough into two balls, flatten, cover with saran wrap and chill in the fridge for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, cream the remaining butter in a small bowl until fluffy. Gradually add the remaining confectioner’s sugar while continuing to beat. Add cream, lemon juice and lemon zest. Mix thoroughly.

Chill until ready to fill cookies.

Once the dough has chilled, roll it out until ¼ inch thick. Use a small, round cookie cutter (no bigger than 3 inches) to cut dough into rounds. Bake 15 – 17 minutes or until just brown.

Immediately transfer to a cool rack.

Once the cookies have cooled completely, fill with 1 tsp. lemon cream. (A trick: don’t spread the filling, just sandwich it and let the second cookie do the spreading for you).

Chill before serving to set.

Yield ~ 15-20 sandwiches (dependent on the size of cookie cutter)