White Chocolate Lemon Cookies
New year, new cookie recipes! With many of us still struggling to button our pants after what felt like a very long and very cookie-filled holiday season, I wanted to start off the new year with a nice and refreshing cookie. Because let’s be real, while we might be resolutioning to give up cookies and sweets and sugars forever, we always, always come back to cookies. And if lots of these crazy cleanses are filled with lemon water, I am pretty sure that eating some of these zesty White Chocolate Lemon Cookies will have pretty much the same effect on your waistline. Right? Wait … is a cookie cleanse not a real thing?
I had big plans to write posts about New Years resolutions and ‘the best of’ 2015 recipe recaps and whatnot, but man 2015 wrapped up super crazy busy and 2016 has kicked off busier than ever and I’m struggling to get more than a few hours a sleep a night just to keep up with this new Florida commute. But hopefully once/if things settle a bit with work I can start on my backlog of blog post ideas that have been swirling in my head. During the two weeks that I was not traveling for work during the holidays, I did take advantage of being home to start at least baking and photographing a backlog of recipes, including these White Chocolate Lemon Cookies.
In the holiday cookie swap that I organized last month, one of the recipes that my friend Caroline contributed was for these White Chocolate Lemon Cookies that a friend of hers had passed the recipe along. I’ve always loved cookies that you roll in sugar before baking them, like Snickerdoodles, because it helps give the cookie that crunchy outside, while maintaining a soft and chewy inside. I also love recipes that use lemon, lime or orange zest because zest packs such a fragrant punch and can totally up the ante of any cookie. Not to mention the combination of lemon and white chocolate is just delicious.
I decided to throw the white chocolate chips into my food processor and pulse them until they were all chopped up and about 1/4 their original size. What I would recommend if I was making this recipe again would be to get a good quality white chocolate bar and shave it or chop it up really finely. The benefit of having smaller pieces of chocolate in here is that it really infuses the flavor throughout the entire cookie and not just the bites where you get a chocolate chip in it.
Speaking of high-quality chocolate, while shopping in Boston this weekend I saw the signs that they are opening an Eataly in the Prudential Center downtown. That’s going to be deadly to have it so close to home. I’ve been to Eataly in both New York City and Chicago and just loved it, so it will be really amazing to have it right at home in Boston. Just think of the delicious dessert possibilities!
But I digress. Back to these lemon cookies. I just love love love the smell of lemon zest when you’ve got a good pile of fresh zest to throw into the cookie dough. And nothing beats the flavor that fresh lemon juice adds to a recipe. I ended up modifying the original recipe by swapping out the almond extract for vanilla extract. I never like using almond extract in a recipe if it’s not an obvious “nut” cookie just for allergy sensitivity reasons. Plus I knew I was going to send these cookies to my brother who has a nut allergy, so I figured best not to try to send him into a surprise anaphylactic shock. You’re welcome Danny.
I also ended up playing around with the flour/baking soda/baking powder combination in my version of the recipe. The original batter was a little too wet so I added in about a half cup more flour to thicken it a bit. And as much as you know I dislike recipes that require chilling the dough (because I’m the most impatient person in the world) you really do need to chill the dough for at least an hour or your cookies will come out really flat. But trust me on this, it’s definitely worth the wait for these cookies.
These cookies are SO delicious. With every bite your taste buds just go bananas trying to process all of the different flavors and textures of this zesty treat. I normally only taste test a bite of each recipe to make sure it’s good to send off to friends or family, but I decided to QA a larger sample of this batch … like maybe four or five cookies … you know, just to be sure they were good enough to send to my brother and sister-in-law. So if you are looking for a delicious and refreshing cookie to make this new year, I highly recommend whipping up a batch of these zesty White Chocolate Lemon Cookies.
White Chocolate Lemon Cookies
Yield: 40 Cookies
Prep Time: 1 Hour 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 10 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 25 Minutes
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 3 teaspoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups white chocolate, chipped
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon lemon zest for rolling
- In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugars and continue to beat until everything is combined. Add the beaten eggs a little bit at a time. Then add the vanilla extract, the lemon juice and the lemon zest. Mix to combine.
- Slowly add in the dry ingredients and blend until just combined, being careful not to overmix.
- Stir in the chopped white chocolate. I threw some white chocolate chips in the food processor for a few pulses to get them smaller. Cover and refrigerate for an hour. This step is important because the cookies will be too thin if you bake them right away.
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Combine the sifted granulated sugar and the lemon zest in a large shallow bowl. Mix the lemon zest into the sugar with fingers until it’s nice and fragrant.
- On a sil-pat or parchment-lined baking sheet, use a medium cookie-scoop to scoop out even-size balls of dough, and roll them in the lemon sugar before placing them on the prepared baking sheets at least two inches apart. Press down lightly with your fingertips before baking.
- Bake at 350F for about 10 minutes or just until the edges are slightly golden and the centers are just set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on cookie sheets for about 5 minutes. Enjoy!