March 24, 2011

Lemons and Chocolates

lemons & chocolates
First, I have to confess that I am prejudiced against white chocolate. No, it has nothing to do with its color, but I just find it too sweet for my taste. Moreover, it is not really chocolate, as it is made from cocoa butter. Be definition of the FDA, chocolate must contain cocoa solids from chocolate liquor. I know many people who enjoy white chocolate, I am just a die-hard fan of dark chocolate. I enjoy the bitterness of it.

Second, what has lemons to do with chocolates? It is not a common pairing, although it has been done before. Once I treated myself to a dark chocolate-lemon truffle and truly enjoyed it. The citrusy notes of the lemon cuts the sweetness of the chocolate and heightens the character of the latter, what a treat!

And so, next time life gives you lemons, consider making some cookies instead of lemonade.

Normally, I disregard recipes that calls for white chocolate (I know, not a good habit, but I am trying to be more open-minded) but this one in Shirley O. Corriher's "BakeWise" caught my eye because of how she named the cookie: "Taste Sensation Lemon-White Chocolate Butter Cookies." I was immediately intrigued and totally hooked onto the idea. Chocolate is great, dark chocolate is divine, but sometimes the palette craves some taste sensation: to try something different, to experience new flavors and to just be wowed. Corriher noted that "the sharpness of the lemon is balanced by the sweetness of the white chocolate." I could see how the lemon and the white chocolate can marry so well together in this recipe, and truly shine. I could already feel the tingling of the lemon on my tongue. But my memory also did not forget that dark chocolate-lemon truffle I once had. I decided I will make Corriher's recipe, using white chocolate chips for half the recipe, and chopped dark chocolate in the other half, just to see if dark chocolate and lemon will get along well in this recipe. I guess a part of me believes that dark chocolate is the congenial ambassador of the cocoa kingdom, and that he will go well with everything.

white chocolate chips and chopped dark chocolate
Well, I was not disappointed. Though I was also a bit scared how addictive these cookies can be -- be forewarned!! I have to concede though, that the lemon paired much more superior with the white chocolate. Those cookies were tangy, bright, citrusy but they do not make you pucker up, because the sweetness of the white chocolate only makes you welcome the next bite of the lemony cookie. However, I will suggest you get a block of white chocolate and chop that up instead of using white chocolate chips, as they tend to break and chip when you slice the cookies, and if you have some chips around the edge of your cookie roll (as I did), it results in a broken cookie. Also, I think it will make the sweetness more subtle and distributed, versus having chunks of sweet.

A stack of the lemon-white chocolate butter cookies- I didn't say this is one serving!
The visual impact of the chopped dark chocolate in this cookie is fun to look at. I know it is not exactly the same but they remind me of leopard spots. I enjoyed the richness of the dark chocolate and thinks it goes well with the lemon. This is certainly a cookie to be slowly nibbled and savored!

I don't know why but these cookies look cute to me.
I aim for the dark chocolate chunks when I nibble.
As I have mentioned, this cookie can be addictive- I'll let you decide if that is a good thing or not! When my home panel of tasters were asked to pick a preference the answer was "Both are good!" Whether you decide to go for the white chocolate only, or make both types as I did, I hope these cookies will delight and cheer your day up. Corriher's recipe is below, I added notes for the dark chocolate version in parnthesis).

Taste Sensation Lemon-White Chocolate Butter Cookies
original recipe from Shirley O. Corriher's "BakeWise"
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into 2-tablespoon pieces
  • 3/4 cup sugar 
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp light corn syrup (I found an organic one at Whole Foods)
  • 1/2 tsp. pure lemon extract
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest 
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips (if making half-recipe of dark chocolate, use 1/2 cup white chocolate chips, 1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate, I used 72%)
1. In heavy-duty mixer with paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar, salt, corn syrup, lemon extract, and lemon zest until light and creamy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, and beat with each addition, just to blend in thoroughly.
2. On the lowest speed, beat in the flour, scraping down the sides of the bowl and across the bottom once. Stir in the white chocolate chips. (** If making 1/2 recipe dark chocolate, DO NOT add white chocolate chips. Divide dough into half, stir in white chocolate chips into one half, chopped dark chocolate into other half.)
3. Divide the dough evenly into 4 pieces. Roll each piece into a log about 2 inches in diameter. Wrap each roll individually in plastic wrap and refrigerator at least 2 hours or overnight.
4. About 30 minutes before you are ready to bake, place an oven shelf in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 F.
5. Cover heavy baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
6. Slice cookies into 3/8-inch slices and arrange about 1 inch apart on the sheet.
7. Bake one sheet at a time until the edges just begin to brown, about 12-15 minutes. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, and then remove to a cooling rack. These freeze nicely.
Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

1 comment:

  1. Mmh, the cookies look great! I'm a dark chocolate lover, too, and my favorite chocolate place actually sells a bar with lemon...