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Lemon Cats' Paws



1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375F.
Put three heavy, large ungreased baking sheets in the refrigerator 2. In a food processor fitted with the metal chopping blade, process the almonds with 1 cup of the flour for 30 to 45 seconds, or until the mixture is ground to a fine powder.
Add the remaining 1-1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour; granulated sugar confectioners' sugar and salt.
Process for 10 to 15 seconds, or until the mixture is thoroughly blended.
3. Evenly distribute the butter cubes in a circle around the chopping blade.
Add the egg, vanilla and lemon zest.
Process for 45 to 60 seconds, or until the mixture is creamy.
(Make sure that the butter is completely blended into the batter) 4. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a closed star tip (such as Ateco #6) with 1/4 of the cookie dough.
(Slightly open the teeth on the end of the pastry tip so that any small nut particles do not get caught between the points as you pipe.
) 5. Remove a chilled baking sheet from the refrigerator.
Starting at the left-hand side of the midsection of the baking sheet, pipe 1-1/2-inch long cats' paws about 2-inches apart, across the center of the baking sheet.
(This will enable you to pipe straight and even lines across the baking sheet.
) Continue piping until the bottom half of the baking sheet is covered with piped cookies.
Turn the baking sheet 180F and continue piping cats' paws onto the other half of the baking sheet.
6. Refrigerate the baking sheet for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the piped cookie dough is firm.
Pipe the rest of the cookie dough onto the remaining chilled baking sheets and refrigerate.
7. Bake the cookies one baking sheet at a time for 12 to 15 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Turn the baking sheet halfway through baking for even browning.
Using a metal pancake spatula, immediately transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool.
8. Melt the dark chocolate.
Scrape the chocolate mixture into a small heatproof bowl.
Place the bowl of chocolate over a smaller bowl of warm (86-90F) water.
9. Using a small metal cake spatula, coat the flat side of half of the cookies with a thin layer of melted or tempered chocolate.
Top each chocolate-coated cookie half with a second cookie.
Place the cookies on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet and refrigerate for 5 to 10 minutes or until the chocolate is set.
10. Dip the pointed tips of the cookies halfway into the melted or tempered chocolate.
Place the cookies back onto the waxed paper-lined baking sheet and refrigerate 5 to 10 minutes, or until the chocolate is set.
Store the cookies dipped in melted chocolate in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
The cookies filled with tempered chocolate may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three weeks.