The Great Cookie Experiment – Poppy Seed Lemon Cookies

The Great Cookie Experiment – Lemon Poppy Seed cookies

I changed the order of my cookie recipes to throw in something that I thought would be perfect for Easter, and would at least fit for Spring.  I thought that a lemon poppy seed taste- just like the cakes would be perfect!  It didn’t exactly turn out that way, however.

This was already a big cooking weekend.  To get ready for Easter, I made some banana bread for the Sunday morning breakfast, and I made some natural egg dyes for our Easter eggs.  I really needed a simple cookie, and this one wasn’t it.  It’s a high maintenance cookie.  In fact, it’s so high maintenance that I had to actually improvise the recipe somewhat.  This is not something I do when I first test a recipe.  I want to know how it’s supposed to turn out how it’s written, so I don’t generally mess with things.  I had to this time.

The recipe calls for packaged poppy seed filling.  As it turns out, you can’t find packaged poppy seed filling in regular grocery stores here out West.  I asked my grocers about it, and they gave me blank looks that told me they had never even HEARD of canned poppy seed filling.  I’m not sure where you can find it, but it’s not here.  So instead, I looked online, and found a poppy seed filling that I stole from another recipe.  I don’t know if this is anything like the real thing at all.  It tasted fine, so I’m going to run with it.  If you are lucky enough to be somewhere with poppy seed filling, then you have it easy!

When I glanced at the recipe, I thought that the filling was used thumbprint style, but they made it a little more complicated than that.  You put an indentation in the dough, spoon in the filling, and THEN add some dough on top of it!  This sandwiches in the filling and gives you a nice poppy seed surprise when you bite into it.  The only difficulty was that the dough is sticky, and the poppy seeds liked to stick to the dough you top it with.  It doesn’t make for a pretty look, so we played around with smoothing the dough over it, and other methods.  We decided that dropping the dough on top, and then kind of smooshing it so it covers the poppy seeds worked the best.

Then of course there’s a frosting glaze to go on top.  I found the frosting to be too thin- it just ran right off the cookie in puddles.  I had to play with it to add more powdered sugar, and then a little more liquid, and so on until I had the right balance.  Once the frosting was set, it worked out fine, but it was a struggle at first.


And the results?  Was it an amazing cookie?  Well…it tasted good.  I liked it.  Was it worth the work?  Maybe not so much.  Most of my friends liked the cookie, but thought that it had competing flavors.  They recommended that leaving the poppy seed out of it completely would be best.  Which would kind of defeat the purpose of making a lemon poppy seed cookie if you ask me.


I would rate this a check, unless you have store bought poppyseed filling.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies

½ cup poppy seed filling (or make your own)

2 tsp lemon juice

1 cup butter, softened

1 ½ cups sugar

3 egg yolks

1 Tbl grated lemon peel

2 tsp lemon extract

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 ½ cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 ¼ tsp baking soda

¾ cup buttermilk


3 cups powdered sugar

2 Tbl butter, softened

¼ cup milk

2 tsp lemon extract

1 tsp grated lemon peel

In a small bowl, combine the poppy seed filling and the lemon juice; set aside.  (note:  My recipe for the homemade poppy seed filling already has lemon juice in it.  If you make your own, skip this step.)  In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg yolks, lemon peel, and extracts.  Combine flour, baking powder and baking soda.  Add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition.  Drop by Tablespoonfuls onto greased baking sheets.  Using the end of a wooden spoon handle, make an indentation about ½ inch deep in the center of each.  Fill with about ½ tsp of poppy seed filling.  Top with a teaspoonful of dough.  Bake at 350 for 14-16 minutes or until edges are golden brown.  Remove to wire racks to cool.

For frosting, in a small bowl, beat the powdered sugar, butter, milk, extract, and lemon peel until smooth.  Spread over cookies.  Sprinkle with poppy seeds if desired.   It’s supposed to make 5 dozen, but it really doesn’t.


Poppy Seed Filling ( I halved this recipe and still had extra filling left over)

In a saucepan, stir together the following:


1 cup poppy seed

¾ cup milk

1/3 cup honey

1 Tbl grated lemon peel

2 Tbl lemon juice

2 Tbl butter

Heat until butter is melted and all ingredients are combined.  Stir in 1 Tablespoon of Ultra Gel.  Remove from heat.  Use in cookies.  (or as the filling for some braided bread recipe or something.  Mmm….)


3 thoughts on “The Great Cookie Experiment – Poppy Seed Lemon Cookies

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