Oh y’all, I have winter citrus on my mind. Meyer Lemon Sweet Rolls, Orange Cardamom Cake, Key Lime Linzers, Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins—if you can throw zest or juice into it, I. am. interested.
That goes double for these Grapefruit Sandwich Cookies, which contain plenty of fresh grapefruit zest and juice, and even have some extra zip from a lemon! They’re a little on the soft side with huge citrus flavor—perfect for a party, late night dessert, or pairing with a cup of tea. If you are looking for a recipe to drag you out of the winter doldrums, this is it.Grapefruit Sandwich Cookies are exactly what they sound like. The cookies themselves are a variation on my favorite sugar cookie dough. I nixed the cream cheese in favor of more butter, reduced the baking powder and threw in some grapefruit zest for obvious reasons. They’re baked until they’re just barely done, about 6 minutes.The filling is the completely stellar Grapefruit Curd that I made for kolaches a couple of years ago. It takes some zesting, juicing and whisking, but it’s actually incredibly simple to make. Just make sure to make it ahead so it’s fully chilled by the time you want to assemble.Pipe it almost to the edges. You want the curd to peek out the sides.You may certainly eat these cookies right after assembly, but I highly recommend refrigerating them for about 6 hours before doing so. This allows the curd to set and the cookies to soften slightly so that everything stays in place when you bite in. You know, instead of falling apart in your hands. Not that that’s a bad thing.You’ll notice that the batch makes 8(-ish) dozen cookies. Don’t let this scare you off! The cookies are teeny, made with a 1 1/2-inch cutter, and will keep for approximately eternity (…or a week) in the fridge. If you want to make fewer larger cookies, feel free to use a 2 1/2-inch cutter and maybe give them an extra minute in the oven. I’m pretty fond of these little gems though. Anything that allows me to eat five cookies in one sitting is okay by me.
Grapefruit Sandwich Cookies
makes 8-ish dozen very small cookies
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons ruby red grapefruit zest (from about 1 1/2 grapefruits)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 recipe Grapefruit Curd, made ahead & chilled (recipe below)
Read through this recipe before beginning. The grapefruit curd will need to be made ahead of time and the assembled cookies are best after a 4-6 hour chill.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a separate large mixing bowl, use your fingertips to rub grapefruit zest into sugar. Add butter and use an electric mixer to beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in egg and vanilla. Add dry ingredients in 3 installments, combining completely after each. Divide dough into quarters.
Working with one quarter at a time, sandwich dough between two pieces of parchment paper and roll until 1/8-inch thick. Transfer to the freezer (on a baking sheet, if desired) for 15 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough. It is okay to stack the sheets of dough in the freezer.
While the dough is freezing, preheat the oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.
Remove one sheet of dough from the freezer. Peel on of the pieces of parchment off. Use a lightly floured 1 1/2-inch round cookie cutter to cut cookies. Place them at least 1 inch apart on prepared pans. Repeat with remaining dough. Scraps can be re-rolled, frozen, and cut.
Bake cookies 6-7 minutes, until no longer raw looking. Let cookies cool on the pans for five minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat rolling, cutting, and baking with any remaining dough.
To assemble sandwich cookies, place half the baked cookies on a surface bottom-side-up. Load grapefruit curd into a piping bag and snip a small corner. Pipe filling almost to the edge (1/8-1/4-inch blank border on all sides) on each cookie before gently topping with another cookie, bottom-side-down. Repeat until all cookies have been filled.
Place filled cookies on a rimmed baking sheet (or other large-ish pan) and chill for 4-6 hours or overnight before serving. This will slightly soften the cookies and keep the curd from squishing out when you take a bite.
Cookies will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
makes about 1 1/3 cups
1 1/2 cups fresh-squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice, from about 2 large grapefruits
2 tablespoons grapefruit zest, from about 2 large grapefruits
1/2 cup granulated sugar
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice, from about 1/2 medium lemon
1 large egg + 3 large egg yolks, room temperature
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 24 small cubes
Pour grapefruit juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until reduced to 2/3 cup (about 12-15 minutes). Remove from heat and cool 5 minutes.
Fill a small pot with 1-2 inches of water. Set a heatproof bowl over the top, ensuring that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Remove bowl and bring water to a simmer.
In the heatproof bowl, whisk together grapefruit zest, sugar, warm grapefruit reduction, lemon juice, and eggs. Set bowl over the pot of simmering water. Whisk constantly until mixture thickens slightly (it should coat the back of a spoon). Add butter 1-2 cubes at a time, whisking until melted. Continue until all butter is used. This should take 11-15 minutes total.
Set a fine mesh sieve over a medium mixing bowl. Push curd through sieve to remove zest. Transfer curd to a jar (or other container) and press a piece of plastic wrap to the top. Chill well.