Nathanial Hawthorne once said, “Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.”
I think the same can be said for inspiration. It finds you not when you’re hunting for it, but in a moment of leisure, enjoying a sunny Sunday afternoon, shaded by a big oak and enjoying a large glass of iced tea with lemon. I don’t often have tea at home with lemon, but the local grocer had them on sale and I found myself grabbing one without much thought of its prescience.
To pass the time, I turned slowly through a magazine. It was an old one, but one that featured a dozen cakes and that was what I was focused on – finding a perfect cake. What I found instead was nothing short of inspiration.
Maybe it was the idea of rosemary in a cookie that caught my attention initially, but it was the lemon that made me pause. I was drawn to a small photograph featuring a lemon sandwich cookie and I knew it was only a matter of time before I made a vegan version of these cookies for myself. Well, and for my family too. Like my mom always used to tell me, it’s nice to share. There’s just some days where I don’t really want to.
Rosemary Lemon Sandwich Cookies
(Recipe adapted from the February 2008 Better Homes and Garden — Makes approximately 20 cookies)
Lemon Filling Ingredients:
- ½ cup lemon juice
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon soy milk
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon dairy free margarine
- ½ cup vegan cream cheese
- 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 cup dairy-free margarine
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons rosemary (fresh or dried works just fine)
- 3 teaspoons finely shredded lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 ¼ cups flour
- ½ cup sugar combined with ½ teaspoon or rosemary
Lemon Filling Preparation:
- Begin by making your lemon curd because it will need to cool before you can finish making the filling.
- Combine lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved.
- In a separate bowl, add corn starch to cold soy milk and stir until corn starch is dissolved.
- Slowly add the cornstarch mixture to the lemon sauce, stirring constantly to avoid lumps.
- Raise heat to medium high and continue cooking while stirring until the sauce thickens.
- Next, add the fresh lemon zest and margarine and stir until well combined.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Once the lemon curd has cooled, add the vegan cream cheese and powdered sugar and stir well to remove all lumps.
- I gave it a few turns with the immersion blender to get it nice and smooth.
- Refrigerate the Lemon Filling while you make the cookies.
- Heat your oven to 350 F.
- In a mixing bowl beat together the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Next add the rosemary, lemon peel, and vanilla, and continue beating until all the ingredients are well combined.
- In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir the flour mixture gradually into the wet ingredients.
- Use a cookie dough scoop (or a tablespoon) to measure equal amounts of batter.
- Roll the batter into balls and roll the balls in prepared sugar (1/2 cup of sugar combined with ½ teaspoon of rosemary).
- Place on an ungreased cookie sheet with about 1 -2 inches of space between them.
- Flatten cookies with the bottom of a glass (you can dip that in the prepared sugar as well to help the cookie not stick to the glass).
- Bake the cookies 8 – 10 minutes until lightly browned.
- Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool.
- Repeat this process until all the cookie dough is gone.
- Assemble the cookies by spreading the Lemon Filling on the flat side of one cookie and top with the flat side placed down on the filling.
- Continue this process until all the cookies are adequately filled.
If you’re lucky enough to have some of that Lemon Filling left over, enjoy it spread over a muffin or pancake for tomorrow’s breakfast. It is heavenly!
The magazine credits Kristina Vanni of Los Angeles for sharing her family recipe. This vegan version created a crisp cookie with a sweet but tart lemon filling and a surprising hint of rosemary.
I was not searching for a lemon cookie on this day, but the unsolicited inspiration may have just developed into adopting this family recipe – a vegan family tradition of our own.
Sandwich Cookies Image Source: Marly McMillen