March has come in like a lamb and out like a lion, it seems. I had to revive my gloves today! Gloves! The horror. Thankfully, regardless of the irreverent spring weather, March means one thing for sure: Girl Scout cookie season. Unfortunately, I don’t know any 8 year olds these days, and since I don’t work in a traditional office, I don’t have co-workers vying for my cookie purchases on behalf of their daughters. This means that sometimes Girl Scout cookie season comes and goes before I have time to even register that I’m missing out. This year, however, my connection to the food world has paid off in the form of one complimentary box of Savannah Smiles, the newest Girl Scout cookie, sent from the Girl Scouts of Nassau County,Long Island. My status as a food blogger (and long time GS cookie connoisseur) qualifies me as an official cookie reviewer! Score!
So, first, the new cookies. They’re bite-sized, wedge-shaped, shortbread-type cookies, dusted with a layer of lemony powdered sugar, which gets melty and creamy when it hits your tongue. Yum. The cookies themselves are crispy and dense, and they leave a rich, buttery taste behind, despite being relatively low fat for a GS cookie. They remind me of a citrus-spiked Mexican wedding cookie. While the Smiles seem like a well-balanced addition to the lineup,— and maybe this is just the nostalgia talking—Thin Mints and Tagalongs will always be the cookies that make my heart sing. I am a sucker for chocolate, after all. But, in their own right, the lemony Savannah Smiles are truly a tribute to spring: bright, zesty, and fun.
As an official cookie reviewer (please note this is a self-anointed, pride-driven title), I feel that I have two additional responsibilities:
- To direct the “adult” readers to this article. May I suggest a Riesling with your cookies?
- To provide you with a homemade alternative to the aforementioned Savannah Smiles. Fear not; Riesling still welcome.
Whether it be your lack of access to a Girl Scout rep (if these things can be ordered online these days with those newfangled internets, I don’t want to know about it), or your distrust of foods that come in boxes, I have a cookie for you. It’s fancy enough that it should almost match the excitement of getting your very own GS cookies delivered, and it doubles—nay, triples!—as an Easter OR Passover cookie.
Inspired by the Savannah Smiles, I adapted this recipe from one I found on HonestCooking.com. I felt that the Smiles could have had a bit more zing, so I loved the idea of Meyer lemon curd as a tangy, creamy counterpoint to a crisp, sweet macaroon. I also appreciated the compromise of this being a bit more ambitious than your average Passover macaroon, but not quite as involved as the traditional French almond macaron. I mean, really, I’m exhausted just thinking about making a true macaron. You know, the adorable ones that come in a rainbow of colors and boast flavors such as lavender and raspberry crème, and are served by petite Frenchwomen in cafes? Ah, what a Parisian life must be like.
Make sure to read the headnote for the recipe, in which I’ve outlined some tips and lessons learned. Also note that you should have more than enough lemon curd, so there will be plenty leftover for slathering on anything and everything, including spoonfuls straight from the jar.
Coconut Macaroons with Meyer Lemon Curd
Adapted from Sarah Schiffmann via HonestCooking.com
Total time: 50 mins to prep and cook, plus overnight cooling for the lemon curd
Serves: 15-20 cookies
I would go a bit light on the zest, maybe closer to 2 teaspoons, as mine was a bit overpowering, but it all depends on your lemons (and your tolerance of pucker). I also changed the sweetened coconut in the original recipe to unsweetened coconut here, because I thought it was plenty sweet without the extra sugar. Keep to just a teaspoon with the macaroon “dough,” as the cookies will spread when they bake.
For The Lemon Curd:
1 tablespoon Meyer lemon zest
½ cup Meyer lemon juice (2-3 Meyer lemons)
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
For The Macaroons:
2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
1 cup granulated sugar
2 egg whites, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For The Lemon Curd:
- Boil a few cups of water in a 1 or 2 quart saucepan, and reduce to a simmer.
- Set up an ice bath by placing a medium bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice and water. Set a fine mesh sieve strainer over the top of the smaller bowl and set aside.
- Combine lemon zest and sugar in a small bowl and blend thoroughly with your fingers or a small fork.
- Whisk together sugar mixture and eggs in a metal bowl. Set bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk until sugar has dissolved, about 1 minute.
- Add the lemon juice and continue whisking, until thick and smooth and an instant-read thermometer registers 160°F, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add butter and whisk until well combined. Remove from heat and strain into prepared bowl. Let mixture cool completely then transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate overnight. Lemon curd will keep for about 1 week, covered and chilled.
For The Macaroons:
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Mix all of the ingredients together in a medium bowl until well blended.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Scoop 1 teaspoon of the dough and place on baking sheet. Shape dough into a thin flat circle and repeat with remaining dough. Try and make circles more or less even in size since they will be sandwiched together.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes or until edges are golden brown then remove from oven. Let cookies cool for a couple of minutes before transferring them to a wire baking rack to cool completely. If using a silicone mat, cookies can cool on baking sheet. Repeat with any remaining dough.
- When ready to serve, spread desired amount of lemon curd between two cookies and sandwich them together. Note that once lemon curd has been placed between cookies, they will need to either be eaten or refrigerated. I like to keep the sandwiched cookies in the fridge and eat them cold. This recipe makes about 15-20 sandwiched cookies depending on the size of dough circles.