Mar 1, 2010

Lemon-White Chocolate Butter Cookies

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I just don’t know how to act, you guys. Because seriously, the good recipe karma that has been flowing through the Piece of Cake kitchen lately is almost getting creepy. We’ve had a lot of hits around here lately, some of which I’ve yet to share with you. At this rate, I’m due for a real kitchen disaster that involves overflowing cake batter or burning the place down, but for now, I’ll take it. These lemon white chocolate chip cookies are now firmly planted in my Top 5 cookie recipes of all time and that’s juuuust fine by me.

This recipe comes from Bakewise, a book that I refer to again and again, not just for recipes, but for insane amounts of information on the science of baking. Are you familiar with Shirley Corriher, food scientist extraordinaire? You might recognize her as the jolly and very Southern woman with cropped silver hair who often appears on Good Eats with Alton Brown. Or as I like to think of her, the person who sits to my right at the table in my favorite daydream, wherein I have a loud, long lunch with Lynne Rossetto Kasper, Ina Garten, Christopher Kimball and Nick Malgieri. Come to think of it, these cookies would be the most perfect little button on my imaginary menu for said lunch.

Shirley’s recipes (or Shirlz, as I’d call her if we were real, actual friends) are among some of the most foolproof you’ll ever find in any baking cookbook. She simply will not let you make a mistake–her unique voice is positively all over every single page. It’s fantastic. And oh, that Shirlz, is she ever gabby–some of the recipes do run sort of long, and if you’re a more experienced baker, you may be able to pick out the steps from the paragraphs without actually reading the entire recipe, and what you’ll find with these cookies is that they are really sablés, the slice and bake, buttery French shortbread cookies that are dead simple to make and come together in minutes.

The Shirlz-y magical twist on this classic cookie that take it over the edge into oh em gee territory is a combination of sharp, bright lemon and sweet, dreamy white chocolate chips. It’s an absolutely heavenly, remarkably balanced and ultimately craveworthy cookie. Oh, that Shirley. She’ll getcha, I’m telling you.

This cookie dough is the kind that you’ll want to make an entire batch of, even if you’re not the type to want several dozen cookies in your house at any given time (though if you are one of these people, you are dead to me. I kid!). Once you get the dough together and form it into logs and wrap them tightly, it will keep for several months, and since these are of the slice-and-bake variety, you could even just slice off a few cookies at a time and bake them whenever the urge hits. You know those domestic queens who always talk about just “having things on hand” to serve to guests? Well, this is the way to do it. And if I drop by your place and these little buttery, crisp, lemony gems are what you serve me, well, I hope you don’t mind sleepovers.

Lemon-White Chocolate Butter Cookies
Adapted from Shirley Corriher’s Bakewise

Note the flour here is spooned and leveled–it does make a difference in how much ends up in the cup. Like many slice-and-bake butter cookie recipes, this dough freezes beautifully for several months. Don’t worry about making perfectly circular logs out of the dough–I actually made mine into square-shaped logs because I think it makes them easier to slice and a round log usually ends up getting a little flat on a couple sides anyway. Once you taste these, looks are irrelevant.

Makes 4 dozen

1 cup unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
2 large egg yolks
2 cups spooned and leveled all-purpose flour
1 cup white chocolate chips

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar, salt, corn syrup, lemon extract, and lemon zest until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the yolks, one at a time, and beat with each addition, just to blend in thoroughly. 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.

Pat the dough into a disc and divide it into 4 pieces. Roll each piece into a log about 2 inches in diameter. Wrap each roll individually in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

When you’re ready to bake, position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat it to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper sprayed lightly with cooking spray or silicone baking mats. Slice cookies into about 3/8-inch slices (you should get 12 per log) and arrange about 1 inch apart on the sheets (I put about 20 on a sheet). Refrigerate one sheet while you bake the other–you want the dough as cold as possible when it goes into the oven to prevent spreading. Bake one sheet at a time until the edges just begin to brown, about 15 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through baking. Allow to cool on the sheet for 2 minutes, and then remove to a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container.

  • lemon and white chocolate sounds delicious! Have to try it.

  • mmm I love lemon in baked goods. These look spectacular 🙂

  • Yum, these look great! 🙂 Thanks for the great reading references. I'm going to check them out. There are never enough cook books around here.

  • Another cookbook I have yet to get. It will go on the list with Baked and Tartine. Hopefully, I'll have some money soon!

  • I'm already in love with white chocolate/macadamia combos, as well as anything lemon–going with lemon and white chocolate is genius! Can't wait to try these 🙂

  • these do look perfect and a fool-proof recipe is what I need right about now. I have been baking pretty much non-stop for the past month, but every new thing I try has been…ugh, sort of a disaster!
    These look great!

  • Oh how I adore Lemon! Guess what's goin' on in my kitchen this weekend! Thank you for sharing! Ice – box cookies are my favorite 🙂

  • MMM! Dear god, what a great idea for a cookie! I'm not much of a fan of lemon but I think is because I never thought about adding it to a butter cookie with white chocolate! this might convert me, thank you so much for the recipe (and your comment on my blog, I'm still excited about it!)

  • Hi thanks for visiting my blog 🙂 I m impressed you know where Malta is 🙂

  • Snooky doodle–I sure do. I mentioned my trip there in my post about Nutella Cupcakes! It's such a fantastic place.

  • Bakewise is such an excellent book! I picked up a copy from the library and was really pleased with the sheer information in it. The lemon-white chocolate butter cookies look incredibly yummy- gotta love fool-proof baking!

  • They look really good.

  • I was trying to be good and not reaching for yet another chocolate chunk cookie. But then you throw a recipe like THIS at me, I can';t help but have another cookie to soothe my sorry-for-myself emotions.

  • OH wow these cookie look good. Dangerously delicious – I don't think I would be able to stop snacking on these !

  • Oh, how I love Shirlz! I read her books like it's the bible. Like your blog a lot. Found it via food52. Thanks!!

  • Mrs. Larkin–Yes! A fellow Shirlz devotee. Welcome!

  • This is an awesome recipe! Just by looking at the pictures made me want to get my baking tools ready and start baking. This would really go well with a hot cup of coffee, beans freshly ground from my new mill coffee grinder Thanks a lot!

  • I made these last night and they were outstanding- my new favourite cookie!

  • Would it affect the taste/texture if i don't use corn syrup?

  • Anonymous–re: the corn syrup, here it's primarily used for browning. A tiny bit goes a long way giving cookies that gorgeous golden look. They may be sort of blah looking without it, but it won't make the whole recipe a fail if you leave it out.

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