I’ve been on a quest.
A quest that’s led me down lots of dead ends and one way streets. But I’ve finally found my way, and I’m super excited.
Scott says the final result is so good that I should “charge admission …”
The search I’ve been on, for the last week, was for a delicious lemon and white chocolate chip cookie. I tried googling for a recipe, but didn’t see anything that looked really great. I just knew it would be a wonderful combination, so I started trying out various popular lemon cookie recipes and adding white chocolate.
I should have bought stock in white chocolate chips and lemons before I got started, as I sure went through a LOT of both of them.
I learned, with the first batch, that my hunch was correct: lemon and white chocolate is a match made in heaven. But there were lots of problems with all of my test cookie versions: too runny, too flat, too soft, too time-consuming, too ugly…
I also went through several other non-lemon cookie recipes, trying to add different combinations of lemon zest, juice and/or extract, along with the white chocolate. No go. While they all tasted decent, none of them were exactly what I wanted: a cookie that was delicious, with lots of bright lemon flavor, pretty to look at, chewy in the center and crisp on the outer edges. I thought a few little crinkles and crackles would be nice too.
Finally I got the idea to adapt one of our favorite cookies ever; these Double Chocolate Sugar Cookies.
I had to do a fair amount of tinkering, but it’s just right now; and it only took one bite for Scott to declare, “You should charge admission for these!”.
I served one of the earlier versions of these lemon and white chocolate cookies at a very special party over the weekend. Although it wasn’t the final edition of the cookies, it didn’t seem to matter to the party-goers. It was a party that’s become a long-standing tradition here at The Café – we call it a “Middle of the Night Party”.
The “invitees” are always the same, our three granddaughters – although they never know that they’re invited until minutes before the party starts. You see, they live in England and whenever they visit here in the States or we spend time with them in London, we throw one of these crazy parties.
This is how it works. We set our alarm for the wee hours of the morning. Scott and I get up and then, one by one, wake up the girls. We gently tap them on the head till they arouse a bit. Then we ask the big question: “Do you want to go back to sleep OR do you want to have a middle of the night party?”. The answer is always the same – a very decisive: “MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT PARTY!”.
We lead them downstairs to a little table that’s been set up with fun china, candles, pretty glassware, colorful napkins etc. There’s always a special treat and little candies along with glasses of cold milk, lemonade or hot chocolate. We talk, laugh, play a short game and sometimes, even light sparklers out on the front porch.
We also sing. It used to be just fun random kids songs, but last summer Papa Scott added a new spin to the beloved tradition. He wrote a song called “Middle of the Night Party”. The girls loved it immediately and learned the words quickly, deciding on solos for themselves. It’s now part of the tradition and a song you’ll hear them singing; even when it’s not the middle of the night!
I videoed them with my iPhone this time and thought you might enjoy it.
I’m thinking Papa and the girls are the ones who should charge admission…
We took our little family from England to the airport on Sunday, since it was time for them to head back. It was a wonderful visit and our Middle of the Night Party will be a treasured memory during the long months ahead when we’re apart.
Whether you’re having a party, or just want to celebrate an ordinary day, these delicious Lemon and White Chocolate Sugar Cookies are sure to be a hit! Oh, and if you decide to charge admission, cut me in on the profits!
P. S. We’re trying to behave here at The Café now that the New Year has begun and our guests have departed. One thing that always helps us get back on track is healthy, green smoothies. We’ve been enjoying a delicious Pineapple-Banana Green Smoothie this week. Check back later in the week for the recipe – it’s loaded with healthy ingredients and will keep you going (maybe even singing) for hours!
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Lemon and White Chocolate Sugar Cookies
- 2 ¼ cups plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- zest of 1 medium size lemon
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 14 tablespoons butter
- 1 ¾ cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract
- 1 large egg, plus one egg yolk
- 1 cup white chocolate chips, or 6 ounces white chocolate
- ½ cup Demera or Turbinado sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Place chocolate chips (or white chocolate) on a cutting board and, with a large, sharp knife, coarsely chop them. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, lemon zest, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In a large, microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter in the microwave on high power. This should take 1-1 1/2 minutes, depending on the microwave. Allow the butter to cool for 5 minutes. It should warm to the touch, not hot. Add the sugar, vanilla and lemon extract. Mix with a sturdy spatula or wooden spoon until smooth.
- Add the egg and egg yolk and mix until well combined.
- Add flour mixture and stir just until combined and flour is incorporated. Mixture will be thick. Add white chocolate and mix to combine. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
- Place Demera (or Turbinado) sugar in a shallow bowl. Remove dough from refrigerator, scoop up and roll into balls, about 2 tablespoons for each cookie. I like to use an ice cream scoop. Roll the balls in the Demera sugar and place on prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle with a bit more Demera sugar.
- Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, until they have puffed and are slightly golden at edges, about 12-14 minutes. Be careful not to over bake the cookies or they will be dry. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
Demera or Turbinado sugar is a coarse natural sugar. It is also sometimes labeled Sugar in the Raw. You’ll find it at most larger grocery stores in the baking aisle near the regular granulated sugar. I actually like the Turbinado sugar better for these particular cookies as it’s just a little bit lighter in color than Demera but either one will work.