Sweets: Berries & limes


TWO BREEZY TREATS TO COMPLEMENT ANY SPRING MEAL

LIME SANDWICH COOKIES

These cookies are a two-bite take on Brazilian “lemonade” (basically a creamy limeade). Just swirl a dollop of tangy citrus filling between two tender sugar cookies — and let it shine through the cutest of cutouts.

Active Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Total Time: 4 hours 25 minutes

Makes: 30

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1⁄4 teaspoon baking powder

Kosher salt

2 sticks plus 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 3⁄4 cups powdered sugar, plus more for dusting (optional)

1 large egg, room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

12 ounces sweetened condensed milk (1 cup)

6 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus 1 teaspoon grated zest

3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1. Whisk together flour, baking powder and 1 teaspoon salt. Beat 2 sticks butter with sugar on high until fluffy, 4 minutes. Beat in egg, vanilla and 1 tablespoon water. Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture and beat to combine. Divide dough in half; flatten into disks. Wrap in plastic and freeze until firm, 30 minutes.

2. Preheat oven to 325 F. Remove one disk from freezer; let stand 15 minutes. On a floured surface, roll out 1/8-inch thick. Using a 2 1⁄2-inch cutter, stamp out rounds; place on parchment-lined baking sheets. Roll scraps; cut out more rounds. Repeat with other disk. Cut 3⁄4-inch teardrops from half of cookies. Refrigerate 30 minutes. Bake, rotating sheets once, until edges are golden, about 20 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.

3. Heat milk in a small pan over medium-high, stirring until bubbling. Reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring, until it has the consistency of pudding, 5 minutes. Strain into a bowl. Whisk in juice, zest and a pinch of salt. Cover surface with plastic; refrigerate 30 minutes.

4. Beat remaining 6 tablespoons butter, cream cheese and milk mixture on medium-high until fluffy. Spread 2 teaspoons filling on a solid cookie; top with a cutout. Repeat with remaining cookies. Refrigerate, covered, at least 1 hour and up to 4 days. Dust with sugar before serving.

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PULL-APART VANILLA-WAFER CUPCAKE CAKE WITH BERRIES

Blueberries, raspberries and blackberries really make these vanilla cupcakes pop.

Active Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours

Makes: 12

45 vanilla-wafer cookies, pulsed in a food processor until finely ground (1 1⁄2 cups)

1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

3/4 cup whole milk

1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin

1 cup cold heavy cream

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 1⁄2 cups mixed fresh berries, such as blueberries, raspberries and blackberries

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners. Whisk together cookie crumbs, flour, baking powder and salt.

2. Beat butter with granulated sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 1 minute. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture and beating until combined after each addition. Fold in coconut.

3. Divide batter among cups. Bake until cupcakes are golden brown and centers bounce back when gently pressed, 22 to 24 minutes. Let cool completely in tin on a wire rack.

4. Add 2 tablespoons water to a small saucepan. Sprinkle with gelatin; let stand until thick, about 5 minutes. Gently heat over medium until gelatin has dissolved. Remove from heat; let cool 5 minutes (but don’t let it set).

5. Beat together cream, powdered sugar and vanilla on medium speed until very soft peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes. Add gelatin mixture; beat on medium until stiff peaks form, about 1 minute more.

6. Remove cupcakes from tin and arrange on a platter in a three-by-four rectangle. Spoon frosting over each row of cupcakes; using an offset spatula, smooth to cover tops, forming a rectangular shape. Refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours. Sprinkle with berries before serving.


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