Anyone else ready for summertime? I’ve been on a citrus kick lately and just cannot wait for all the flavors of summer. Lucky for me, summer comes pretty early to SoCal so it’s already 80 degrees most days. It won’t be long before I’m sipping lemonade and eating watermelon and all that jazz. To keep with my recent love of citrus, I bought a few lemons and decided to make these lemon cookies stuffed with cream cheese.
Let me tell you, these lemon cream cheese stuffed cookies are a perfect combination of tart lemon and sweet cream cheese, and there’s a nice surprise when you bite into them. Based on my coworkers’ feedback, this may very well be one of my BEST cookie recipes ever. They’re always my honest taste tester. I think these are on my top ten list, right up there with my brown butter bourbon pecan cookies (OMG). The cookies stay extra soft and it uses three different types of lemon flavoring (zest, juice and extract) for the perfect balance of tart and sweet. I shared my recipe for lemon cupcakes with cream cheese frosting recently, which came shortly after these cookies because my friend at work liked them so much. It turns out lemon and cream cheese are an excellent combination and are totally underrated, so I’m jumping on board and you totally should to. I mean, I always side with cream cheese.
For the lemon cookies (makes about 12-14 cookies):
- 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- zest of 2 lemons (about 1 tbsp lemon zest)
- 1 egg
- 4 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
- 1/4 tsp pure lemon extract
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 4-5 drops yellow food coloring
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
For the cream cheese filling:
- 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
In one bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In the bowl of your mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the lemon zest, egg, egg yolk, lemon juice, lemon extract and vanilla extract, mixing well. Mix in several drops of food coloring until you reach your desired color. Slowly mix in the dry ingredients until just combined.
Move the dough to the fridge while you prepare the cream cheese filling.
In a separate bowl, beat the cream cheese with a paddle attachment (it can be the same, unwashed bowl) until smooth and creamy. Mix in the powdered sugar and vanilla extract.
Remove the dough from the fridge and use a cookie scoop or a spoon to form large balls of dough. Press down flat, drop a small spoonful of cream cheese in the middle and pinch the dough together again in the shape of a ball. Set seam-side down on the baking sheet with the cookies about 2 inches apart. Bake for about 10-12 minutes until the edges are formed but not brown. I check by gently touching the sides of the cookies to make sure they’re stiff enough to hold shape.
Let cool completely on a wire rack. When you bite into one, I think you’ll love the cream cheese filling and the soft, chewiness of the cookie. Enjoy!