Queen Esther’s Buttery Crowns

By Margi Lenga Kahn


Cookie dough:

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

¼ tsp. salt

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature

½ cup powdered sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. very finely grated lemon zest

Filling and topping:

½ cup blueberry or apricot jam, or your favorite (do not use jelly or preserves.)

4 oz. fine quality white chocolate, coarsely chopped or chips 


Cookie dough:

1. Whisk flour and salt together in a bowl; reserve.

2. In the bowl of electric mixer (fitted with paddle attachment) or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until smooth (about one minute). Use a spatula to scrape down sides of bowl.

3. Add sugar and beat until well combined. Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest. Spoon reserved flour mixture over butter mixture and use a wooden spoon to incorporate it just a little bit (so that it won’t shoot out of the bowl when you turn on the mixer). Turn machine to lowest setting and mix until all of the flour is just incorporated. Don’t overmix!

4. Remove bowl from machine and, using your hands, form dough into a rough ball. Divide the dough in half. Roll each half between two sheets of parchment paper until it is about 1/8-inch (6 mm) thick. As you roll, be sure to keep parchment paper on both top and bottom, smooth and free from wrinkles. Lift each dough packet onto a baking sheet and place in the freezer or refrigerator until firm (15-30 minutes).

5. Remove one packet of dough from refrigerator and peel off the top piece of paper. With a 2½-inch scalloped cookie cutter, cut out as many circles as possible. Reroll scraps, chill and cut again.

6. Immediately transfer cookies as they are cut to a baking pan lined with parchment paper, about an inch apart.

7. Then use a half-inch cutter or the end of a fat straw (I used the end of a piping bag tip) to cut out circles from the center of each of these cookie rounds.

8. Place pan in refrigerator or freezer while cutting out remaining dough.

9. Repeat process with remaining refrigerated, uncut dough, though do not cut out the centers. Set pan in refrigerator or freezer.

10. Position oven racks in the upper and lower third of oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

11. Bake both cold pans of cookies at the same time, rotating them from one rack to the other after five minutes. Bake cookies for a total of eight to 10 minutes, or until they are lightly browned around the edges. Transfer pans to a cooling rack. After three minutes, lift cookies off of pan with a spatula and place directly on cooling rack; cool completely.

To assemble cookies:

1. Place a scant teaspoon of jam on the bottom center of the solid cookies, gently pressing on jam with a spoon to spread to within a half-inch of the outer rim of cookie. Cover this cookie with a cookie that has the center cutout, pressing gently to adhere. Continue until all cookies have been sandwiched.

2. Melt white chocolate in a small stainless steel bowl set over a small pan of gently simmering water. (Bottom of bowl should not touch water.) Stir chocolate constantly until almost fully melted. (Do not overheat chocolate.) Using a spatula, transfer chocolate to a quart-size zip-lock storage bag, squeezing the bag so that the chocolate moves to the bottom of the bag.

3. Cut a 1/8-inch tip off one corner or the bottom of the bag. With tip over the top of the cookies, squeeze chocolate out of bag, decoratively drizzling it over the top of the cookie. Place cookies in the refrigerator or freezer until chocolate sets.

4. Layer assembled cookies between sheets of wax paper or parchment paper in an airtight container for up to a week in the refrigerator.

Makes 16-24 sandwich cookies.