Sugar Cookie Tartlets

MEET MY NEWEST TEA-TIME ADDICTION — Sugar Cookie Tartlets. To make them, you bake sugar cookie dough in the shape of little cups. Then you fill the cups with luscious, homemade lemon curd, and adorn each tart with a single blueberry.  Hard to do? Not at all. Here’s my easy (yes, easy!) recipe for these sinfully-delicious treats:

sugar cookie tartlets 5-29-13 jpg
Sugar Cookie Tartlets with Lemon Curd Filling
Ingredients for about 4 dozen shells
The sugar cookie dough:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room-temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

The lemon curd (enough to fill 2 dozen cookie shells)
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice
4 Tablespoons (half stick) unsalted butter, softened to room-temperature
1 tablespoon lemon zest

Pour 3 cups of flour into a big blue bowl…

Add a pinch of salt…

And one teaspoon of baking soda…

And then whisk them all together under the careful supervision of your beagle.

Grab two sticks of softened butter, and drop them into the bowl of your standing mixer.

Add 3/4 cup of sugar (or up to 1 1/2 cups if you have an insatiable sweet tooth)…

Add a couple of large, local eggs…

And 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract.

Cream the butter mixture together at medium speed for 3-5 minutes, or until it becomes light and fluffy.

Oh. During the creaming-step, you will probably have to scrape down the bowl a couple of times with the pretty blue spatula your mother sent you.

This is what “light and fluffy” looks like.

At low speed, gradually beat the flour mixture into the butter mixture.

Beat at medium speed for about 2 minutes, or until the dough develops a fairly-smooth texture.

I dare you not to lick the paddle attachment.

In fact, I double-dare you.

Now grab a mini muffin tin that has seen better days…

And lightly coat it with “baking” spray.

Scoop somewhat less than one tablespoon of dough into each opening. Use even less dough if you want smaller cups.

Bake on the middle rack of a preheated 350F oven for exactly six minutes.

Place the hot muffin tin on your work surface. And then, using gloved fingers or a small wooden dowel, press down on the bottom and sides of the dough to form little cups.

True, I did not wear gloves when making the shells. But you should.

Return the muffin tin to the oven, and bake for another 2-3 minutes.

The shells will puff up during their second baking. This is not a problem. Simply re-form the shells (they will hold this time). Let them cool for just 1 minute, and then knock them out of the tin.

Cool the cups on a wire rack.

Form and bake the rest of the dough. This recipe will produce approximately 48 shells.

But Kevin, I need only a dozen shells for my tea party.

In that case, make what you need, and then wrap the remaining dough in plastic wrap. It will keep perfectly well in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. For longer storage, freeze the dough.

You can fill the shells with anything you like. I happen to like lemon curd. It takes less than ten minutes to make this lusciousness:

First, obtain 3 exceptionally-handsome lemons…

And grate the yellow peel from 2 of the fruits. This will give you about 1 tablespoon of zest.

Now squeeze the lemons. You’ll need 1/3 cup of juice.

Break 3 large eggs into a medium, heat-proof bowl.

And then beat them with a wire whisk.

Whisk in 3/4 cup of sugar…

And the lemon juice.

Now bring a few inches of water to the simmer in a medium saucepan…

And then set the mixing bowl on top.  Whisk constantly for 3-5 minutes, or until the mixture thickens.

Here’s what the thickened sauce looks like.

Off heat, beat in 4 tablespoons of butter…

And the tablespoon of lemon zest.

To keep a skin from forming, set a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the sauce. Refrigerate for 1 hour (or overnight).

Now grab a cookie cup…

And fill it with lemon curd.

Then place a blueberry on top.

Don’t like blueberries? Go with raspberries. Or sliced strawberries.

If the berry looks a little lonesome on its tart, just snip a sprig of mint…

And tuck a small leaf behind the berry.

Arrange the tarts on a platter, and serve them. There won’t be any left-over tarts.

Folks, these Sugar Cookie Tartlets with Lemon Curd Filling are absolutely delicious. Promise me you’ll try them.

And by the way, you can make the cookie cups well in advance. Just seal them in a single layer in plastic bags, and freeze until needed. And if you don’t have the fortitude to make lemon curd, just fill the shells with whipped cream, sweetened cream cheese,  or sour cream. Add the berry and the mint and voila! — you’ve got a tea time treat that can’t be beat.

Here’s the copy and paste version of the above:

Sugar Cookie Tartlets with Lemon Curd Filling
Ingredients for 2 dozen filled shells
The sugar cookie dough:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room-temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

The lemon curd:
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice
4 Tablespoons (half stick) unsalted butter, softened to room-temperature
1 tablespoon lemon zest

The sugar cookie dough – Set oven rack at center position; preheat oven to 350F. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda; set aside. Pour the butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract into the bowl of a standing mixer; beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. On low speed, gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture; increase speed to medium, and beat for 2 minutes or until a fairly smooth dough is achieved.

Forming and baking the cookie cups – Spray a mini muffin tin with “baking” spray. Scoop a scant tablespoon of dough into each opening of the muffin tin. Bake for exactly 6 minutes. Set the tin of your work surface, and, while gloved fingers (the dough will be hot), press the dough against the bottom and sides of each muffin opening. Return to the oven for another 2-3 minutes. If the shells lose their shape, simply reform them again. They will hold the second time. Let cool for just one minute, then unmold and cool on a wire rack.

Form and bake the remaining dough. Or, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days. For longer storage, freeze the remaining dough.

The baked cups can be frozen, too.

The lemon curd – Break the eggs into a medium bowl, and then beat them with a wire whisk. Then whisk in the sugar and lemon juice. Set the bowl atop a sauce pan of simmering water, and whisk continually for 3-5 minutes, or until the sauce thickens. Off heat, beat in the butter and the lemon zest. Place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the curd; refrigerate for one hour or overnight.

Filling and decorating the cookie cups – Spoon the chilled curd into the cookie shells; top each tartlet with a blueberry, a raspberry, or a sliced strawberry. Garnish with a small mint leaf.

Well. I hope you enjoyed today’s cooking adventure. I certainly enjoyed your company.

Don’t miss anything at A Garden for the House…sign up for Kevin’s weekly email updates.

Related Posts:
Sunday Brunch: Creamy Gratin of Hard Boiled Eggs
Afternoon Tea for You and Me
English Cream Scones


  1. Amy Halvorson Miller says:

    I promise I will make these with my son. You should have seen his face zoom in on the computer at the sight! I only wish I had a blue bowl and spatula.

  2. Amy – You have a very wise son. Enjoy the tarts!

  3. Valerie C. says:

    It’s amazing how many of your recipes are similar to my mom’s, which I don’t have recipes for because nothing was written down. She made these with a cherry filling 🙂 Thank you!

  4. Diane from Boston says:

    The lemon curd looks delicious. I am thinking also about a recipe I just found for homemade Nutella. That would be another fantastic filling. Topped with a hazelnut! There’s a lot you could do with these little sugar-cookie shells . . .

  5. Valerie C and Diane from Boston – What yummy fillings you’ve suggested. I was thinking only of lemon curd, whipped cream, cream cheese or sour cream. But the homemade nutella with a hazelnut on top sounds…divine!

  6. Brenda Johnson says:

    Oh how delicious these little lemon gems are! Bite sized sweet tart with a hint of mint and pop of blueberry (that’s what my tea time delivery was topped with!) in a crisp cookie crust. Just perfect for this August in May heat wave we’re having! I will issue a warning though- impossible to eat just one! A treat indeed!!!

  7. Donna B. says:

    Oh Kevin, you’ve done it again.
    I can imagine ‘dying’ the tart shells red [with some beet juice!], doing a cream cheese inside, and topping it with a chocolate chip… or a twist of candied orange.

  8. Brenda – So glad you enjoyed these springtime treats. Thanks for taste-testing!

    Donna B. – What a sweet variation!

  9. Robert Meehan says:

    Oh great!!! Now I gotta go buy a MINI muffin tin. 😉 For the longest time I shied away from making things with a dough but with your easy to follow directions and encouragement I’m now a neophyte baker of major proportions. I am definitely gonna give this a go. I love lemony stuff. 😉

  10. Kip Morrissette says:

    These look dangerous! Lemon anything is one of my very favorites. I think I’ll make these when no one is around because I will probably eat the whole kit-n-kabootle. I see you use your lemon squeezie thingie like I USED to, then I went to a baking class and learned you don’t put the lemon in shaped ‘mold’ as you’d think; turn lemon over and squeeze it shut. The lemon turns inside out and you get tons more juice, I hope you find that you will too. Right now I’m waiting for my Creamy Gratin Hard Boiled Eggs to bake…I will garnish with fresh grated nutmeg and snipped chives.

  11. Kip – Thank you for that tip. The lemon squeezie-thingie came with no directions whatsoever. Let me know how the egg gratin turns out for you, okay?

  12. THANK YOU! These look like so much fun! I know the easy version w/ just cream cheese etc. may be just the ticket for the kids and I to try out! I personally love the lemon curd though! Yummy! I pinned this (gave you credit of course) and posted it to my FB page I host Half Acre Farm, giving you credit and praising your blog!

  13. Heather O'Shaughnessy says:

    Wow! These look delicious and easy to make…I see lemon curd filled tartlets at our next potluck!!

  14. Jackie Russell says:

    Hi Kevin, I’m in the UK, these look amazing, can you tell me the weight of the Butter you used. Thank you

  15. Hi Lana – Thanks SO much for pinning these delicious things!

    Hi Heather – For pot lucks, picnics, Afternoon Tea, and bake sales — these treats are da bomb!

    Hi Jackie – For the cookie dough, 2 sticks of butter equals 226.5 grams. For the lemon curd, 4 tablespoons butter equals 56.8 grams.

  16. Ava lansbery says:

    Kevin, you are squeezing the lemon upside down…..I know it looks like the round part fits perfectly in the squeezer but it goes in with the round part up. Try it….

  17. Love this recipe idea! Thanks for sharing it. Makes me want to jump up & make the little tartlets, pronto!

  18. This look so delicious. I have filled the sugar cookie shells with cut up strawberries and put cool whip on top. They were really good too. I am certainly going to try these with the lemon.

  19. Patricia says:

    Looks great, but would look better without the human hand holding the food. Thx for the garden inspirations, in peticular!


  20. My mouth is watering!!! Going to give these a try soon. Thanks Kevin!

  21. Looks like the perfect dessert to bake at work tomorrow with my clients. Thank you!

  22. I just love your amusing editorial comments in the instructions (i.e., “use the blue bowl”, and “the spatula your mother sent you”)! Keep up the wonderful, witty work!

  23. Has any one tried pre made cookie dough and bottled lemon curd? Sometimes I need a really quick treat to bring to club house functions

  24. Hi Alive – If you are really stressed for time, you could certainly make these treats with a tube of pre-made sugar cookie dough and a jar of store-bought lemon curd. At least the treats will be semi-homemade!

  25. Hi Kevin,

    These look like they belong in a fancy bakery! The thing is, I would eat these for breakfast, lunch and dinner until they were all gone!! I have a feeling they would be too dangerous in my house!

    Thanks for the detailed directions on how to make them! These are my kind of directions, pictures of every step!!


  26. Patricia says:

    Hi Kevin. Just saw your recipe with lemon curd. I live at Redcliffe, Queensland Australia and I have a lemon tree full of lemons. Love the curd, will be making some. Anything else with lemons I am surely interested in. Know the seasons are different but BRING IT ON

  27. Thanks for another great recipe post – I also love your witty commentary! I plan on trying these tomorrow to surprise my husband – I’m going to half the recipe and use a gluten-free flour I bought. My hubs recently decided to go “gluten-almost-free” for a while, so this will be my first attempt at baking with a “different” flour. If the recipe is a bust, I’ll re-do with the real stuff! I’m also a little concerned that my baking happens under the watchful eye of a Golden Retriever, and there are a lot of differences between Goldens and Beagles, so if the tarts don’t taste right, it may be that the flour isn’t the culprit! At any rate, I’ll let you know how they turn out!

  28. Hi Lisa – Love Golden Retrievers! Do let me know how the tarts turn out with the GF flour.

  29. Kevin, what about making the day before an event? Would you fill the day of serving? This is the type of desert I would love to serve, but if cooking other courses, would love to have the bulk of them done the day before…

  30. Just made these and used my ceramic pestle to form the cups (didn’t have any rubber gloves) and it worked great! Love your website Kevin. Thank you for so generously sharing!

  31. Kip Morrissette says:

    Oh my Creamy Gratin Hard Boiled Eggs casserole was really delicious. I think I’ll try ‘slicing or dicing’ my hard boiled eggs then do the rest of the steps so I can use it to scoop over toast. I found my eggs got a little rubbery when baked…probably if I used a smaller baking dish, I’d have had more ‘gravy’ to put over the eggs. I started out with each half egg covered but it sorta slid off. I can’t tell you how easy you make your recipes to follow with all those step by step pictures. Your site is the BEST. Thank you.

  32. Kevin, the tartlets turned out tasty! I used Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose GF Flour for 1/2 of the recipe, and had a little trouble with the cups falling apart, but I didn’t add Xantham Gum as the bag suggested, so perhaps that’s why? At any rate, my husband loved them, and I could’ve eaten all the lemon curd myself…DELISH! Thanks for another great recipe! I hope your dinner party went well last night!

  33. I made these last might for a ladies meeting. They went over so well, no left overs to take home, one little lady who seldom eats more than a bite of sweets ate a good 6 of them. I used big blackberries on mine, and peppermint leaves right from the garden, the lemon and mint really compliment each other. Good thing I left a few home to enjoy

  34. Paula – You can make the tartlets and the lemon curd at least a day in advance. Cover and refrigerate. Wait until the “day of” to adorn the tops with blueberries or whatever berry you happen to like.

    Sue W – Ceramic pestle — good idea.

    Lisa G – Thanks so much for trying these with Gluten-free flour. So glad your husband enjoyed them even if the cups weren’t as beautiful as you might have liked.

    Jean M Brown – Yeah! Glad your group liked the tartlets. Your topping — big blackberries and peppermint leaf — sounds divine.

  35. Margaret says:

    Another way to prevent the “crust” from forming on your curd or any type of custard filling is to sprinkle a very fine layer of sugar on top. It melts and prevents the curd or custard from drying out. My kids hated meringue and I’m not it’s greatest fan so this is how I kept their chocolate pies from drying out on top. You only have to do it one time even for something that last several days. You’ll never know the sugar was there.

  36. Susan L. Espersen says:

    If it is lemon, I’m all for it! Now, I know how to make homemade Lemon Curd!!!! Thank you so much! 🙂

  37. Rebecca Madon says:

    I’m am definitely going to try these. Thanks Kevin

  38. On the menu for tomorrow. My mint plant died so the berries will be lonely. 😉

  39. Ginger porter says:

    Your recipes are fabulous and thank you. Do you have wonderful gluten-free recipes also? Alternate to flour are heavy and just solo tasty. Potato flour seems to help. Have any you’ve tried and found successful?

  40. Rebecca says:

    You had me at easy. 🙂 My kiddo and I will be making these in the next week – but we will use those wild, sour oranges growing in my backyard. Soooo excited!

  41. I love that you share some incredible recipes, is there a way to put a link to be able to print?

    thanks so much.


  42. Pampered Chef has tart pans and a wooden dowel plunger thing that is perfect for making tart shells. Thanks for the delicious recipe!

  43. Hello, what a great use of sugar cookie dough (like I need more reasons to eat sugar)! I really enjoy your blog, your posts are really enjoyable (and funny)! Thanks 🙂

  44. Cute!

  45. Kim Ferraro says:

    Kevin, What Faye says! The tart shaper is my FAVORITE tool. Not trying to promote Pampered Chef but look here: Can’t wait to try these, I love everything mini-muffin shaped and especially the ingredients in this recipe. Yum! BTW, I’m gonna have to look for that lemon squeezer, what a great tool.

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