Meyer Lemon Cottage Cheese Sugar Cookies

A Meyer lemon curd- and zest-infused cottage cheese cookie recipe inspired by Berlins’ke pechyvo and Eastern European cheese-style cookies I grew up with tucked into Christmas tins. These are rich with bursts of lemon, crisp and chewy at the same time.
Meyer Lemon Cottage Cheese Sugar Cookie Recipe | FoodforMyFamily.com

Friday I stood in a church, light gleaming from skylights across my grandmother’s casket, silent tears brushed away as I answered my youngest’s questions. She was buried in a field, one dotted by distinct white marble headstones in perfect rows that follow the curve of the earth, catching the sunlight. Her Naval officer waiting patiently to greet her, as he did so many years earlier when they were young and newly in love.

Flowers in hand, I went home and baked, feeling the dough between my fingers as I rolled and pressed. I stood in my kitchen as the sun dipped lower and lower, thinking of my very first memory, one of my mom in my grandma’s kitchen rolling dough. On cue, my kids squealed as they crowded around asking to help.

“Mom, then you put the lemon curd in the cookie?
Did you put lemon in the sugar?
Can I taste it?
Can I fold them?
Will you show me how?
Do we get to eat these?
Can I eat the extra dough?”

Meyer Lemon Cottage Cheese Sugar Cookie Recipe | FoodforMyFamily.comMeyer Lemon Cottage Cheese Sugar Cookie Recipe | FoodforMyFamily.comMeyer Lemon Cottage Cheese Sugar Cookie Recipe | FoodforMyFamily.com

Saturday morning I packed up hot chocolate cups, chocolate-covered spice cookies, and these lemony fans and went to trade them with friends.

We laughed and talked shop and ate doughnuts. I told them how my grandmother would tell us of meeting her Harold in a social club. We sipped tea, babies played, crumbs fell onto snowflake-pattern napkins. The world kept moving, spinning ever forward as my grandparents danced above me, my grandma singing as she twirled, “Five-foot-two, eyes of blue, but oh what those five-foot could do…”

Meyer Lemon Cottage Cheese Sugar Cookie Recipe | FoodforMyFamily.com

Cheese cookies. I smile anytime I come across a cookie recipe that features a cheese + butter + flour dough that gets dusted with sugar either before baking or at the end. These are the type of cookies I grew up with, packed in tins and delivered by grandmothers. They are the type of cookies I learned to make, keeping the tradition going, and passing it on to my own children. They are slightly sweet, rich, and simple. I’ve shared a similar cookie before, little S-shaped swirls kissed with cardamom, in my mascarpone cardamom crisps.

These cottage cheese cookies are similar in dough before they get cut into circles and pressed into lemon sugar and filled with just a touch of fresh Meyer lemon curd, sweet and aromatic. They end up chewy inside and crisp along the edges, and they tell the tales of brisk December air and cookies delivered in tins to neighbors.

Meyer Lemon Cottage Cheese Sugar Cookie Recipe | FoodforMyFamily.comRecipe inspired by the Berlins’ke pechyvo from Mamushka by Olia Hercules and a childhood of similar cookies.

Meyer Lemon Cottage Cheese Sugar Cookies

 

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 ounces small curd cottage cheese
  • 2¼ cups + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour (plus more for rolling)
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • zest from 1 Meyer lemon
  • 3-4 tablespoons Meyer lemon curd

Directions

  1. In a stand mixer or medium bowl, combine the butter and cottage cheese. Blend until smooth. Add in the flour and baking powder and mix until a soft dough forms.
  2. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gather into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.
  3. After the dough is chilled, preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  4. Combine the granulated sugar and the lemon zest in a shallow dish. Rub the lemon into the sugar to release the oils. Stir to combine evenly.
  5. On a floured surface, roll the dough to ¼" thick. Cut into 2-1/2– to 3-inch rounds.
  6. Dip one side of the round into the lemon sugar. Place a ⅛- to ¼-sized dollop of lemon curd on one side of the sugared round. Fold over onto the curd and sugar and press lightly to hold in place.
  7. Then dip one half of the circle into the sugar. Fold over on the non-sugared side and press to seal. This should create a fanned quarter. Place the folded dough on a lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough.
  8. Bake for 23-25 minutes, or until cookies start to turn golden brown. Remove from the baking sheet, breaking off any oozing lemon curd or crystallized lemon sugar from the edges and cool on a rack.

Notes

You can use large curd cottage cheese by pressing it through a sieve to remove large bits. For a smoother textured dough, you can also press the small curd cottage cheese through a sieve before adding to the butter.
Recipe type: Dessert
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Serves: 40 cookies

Meyer Lemon Curd

 

Ingredients

  • 5 egg yolks
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • zest from 4 Meyer lemons
  • ½ cup Meyer lemon juice (freshly squeezed from above lemons)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Whisk together egg yolks in a medium bowl and set aside.
  2. In a double boiler over medium heat and a low simmer, heat the sugar, Meyer lemon zest, and the lemon juice until the sugar completely dissolves. Continue cooking, stirring continuously, until the mixture just starts to simmer around the edges.
  3. Whisk in the butter one tablespoon at a time until all is incorporated. Temper the egg yolks by adding two tablespoons of the hot sugar and juice into the yolks while whisking briskly.
  4. Slowly pour the tempered yolks into the double boiler while whisking. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Recipe type: Condiment
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December Eat Seasonal

It’s time for Eat Seasonal again, hosted by Becky of Vintage Mixer. Everyone’s contributions look amazing this month. Be sure to see what they shared, and you can follow along on social media using #eatseasonal.

Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole with Butternut Squash and Cranberries by Well Plated
Pomegranate Yogurt Bowls by Mountain Mama Cooks
Persimmon Pumpkin Tart with Streusel Top by Suitcase Foodist
Kale Salad with Goat Cheese, Cranberries and Orange by Flavor the Moments
Christmas Stollen Madeleines with Preserved Lemon by Simple Bites
Avocado Toast with Persimmon, Pomegranate and Fennel by Floating Kitchen
Butternut Squash Cake with Roasted Apples and Spiced Cream by Vintage Mixer
Persimmon Tart with Pecan Crust by Letty’s Kitchen
Cabbage Slaw with Honey Lime Yogurt Vinaigrette by The Lemon Bowl
Roasted Persimmon Butter by Cafe Johnsonia
Lemon Poppyseed Baked Oatmeal by Project Domestication
Persimmon Apple Crumb Pie by Kitchen Confidante
Asian Orange Glazed Chicken by Foodie Crush

Meyer Lemon Cottage Cheese Sugar Cookie Recipe | FoodforMyFamily.com

Comments

  1. I’m so sorry about your grandmother. Baking is definitely a great way to find comfort and these cookies sound like the perfect thing to brighten one’s day!

  2. A beautiful post in memory of a beautiful woman. I’m so so sorry to hear about your grandmother, Shaina. You are all in our thoughts.

    I will be trying these cookies (maybe for my swap coming up). They are just gorgeous.

  3. What lovely little cookies! And with Meyer Lemon (my absolute favorite). Just stunning.

  4. Sorry about your grandmother. Cooking is such a great way to remember the people we love. These cookies are darling. I don’t think I’ve ever seen any quite like them before. I’m definitely going to be trying these. And Meyer lemon is just my favorite. So happy it’s back!

  5. What a beautiful post. Thank you so much for sharing these delicious cookies with us this weekend, along with stories of your family. xoxo

  6. These are so beautiful, and your pictures made my mouth water. I have never seen a recipe like this one, thank you for sharing something so unique with us!

  7. Beautiful story–beautiful unique cookies. Pinned for later ‘cuz I am so making them!

  8. I love that these look like little fortune cookies! And I pretty much love anything with lemon curd in it so I know these would taste amazing.

    Praying that you are surrounded by love and sweet memories during this time of mourning. And may the laughing and lightheartedness of the season lift you up!

  9. This is the most lovely post. Thank you so much for sharing those memories with us. These are the most gorgeous little cookies. xoxo

  10. What a fresh way to make cookies, and they look absolutely adorable too. Thank you for sharing the recipe and your memories as well, it was lovely to read. Happy holidays!

  11. I have tears running down my face. I miss my grandmother so much. She passed away almost 16 years ago, and this time of year is when I really miss her. See, she’s the one that taught me to cook and bake, and then I passed my knowledge on to Stephie (who has multiple recipes of hers on her blog. She would have been so thrilled). We buried her in a red outfit, because when she was in college, she had on a red dress and when my grandfather saw her for the first time going across the street he said to his friend that was with him, “See that beautiful girl in red? I’m going to marry her”. We wanted her to find him again while dressed in red. Bless your heart. May you find peace in making the food that she taught you to love.

  12. I just made these today. They are wonderful! I live in San Jose, CA, where lemons grow in the yard. Every year, I make a couple batches of Meyer Lemon Curd, so, since I already had it, the recipe was a snap. I think I rolled the dough to thick, mine don’t look as tidy as yours. Oh, a new favorite! Thanks so much.

  13. So sorry about your grandmother too! My Italian grandmother (Nannie) was quite the cook as well and I have many fond memories of watching her and hearing her tell stories! Do you think I could make these with ricotta instead of cottage cheese? I had a friend tell me just a week before I found this post that she had had some delicious cookies made with ricotta. I plan to make them for New Year’s Eve. Bless you all this season!

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