The pathway to this cookie took some twists and turns. I am always enamored of the soft, powderpuff-like cookies in “Big, Soft, Chewy Cookies” by Jill Van Cleave (available on Amazon), and lately have been thinking about lemons, probably because I have a big bag of them in the refrigerator.
A recipe in the book called Old-Fashioned Cream Cookies looked interesting but like a cookie blank slate. What if I changed the flavoring to lemon, and topped the cookie with some homemade candied lemon peel? This sounded interesting, so I made a trip to the local grocery store to pick up supplies. Straying into the chocolate department–this happens all the time–I was stopped in my tracks by some fragrant chocolate bars of Perugina Dark Chocolate Limoncello. Limoncello is an Italian liqueur that has become popular lately, because it’s so light and refreshing.
Before I knew it I was back at home candying some lemon zest, and came up with Limoncello-Chocolate Frosted Cookies. They are so good: the cookie is mild, soft and buttery, the creamy frosting deep chocolate with a limoncello tang, and then comes the payoff–the crunchy candied lemon peel. Enjoy!
Before making the cookie, make the candied lemon zest. It’s not as involved as it may sound, and doesn’t require a candy thermometer.
Wash a lemon, and, with a vegetable peeler, remove long strips of zest.
Stack the strips of lemon rind, and cut into thin strips. Place in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a simmer, and cook for 7 minutes; drain. (This removes the bitterness.) Return to the pan, and add 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of water. Cook over a low heat until the zest is translucent and the syrup is slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. (This candies the lemon zest.) Strew 2 tablespoons of sugar onto a square of waxed paper. Transfer the zest to the waxed paper with a slotted spoon; let cool. When cooled, break up any clumps. The photo below shows the sugared peel.
Next step–the cookies!
Limoncello-Chocolate Frosted Cookies
1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/3 cup (5-1/3 tablespoons) butter, melted and cooled
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
Heat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine both flours with the baking soda and salt; mix well. In a separate bowl, beat together eggs and sugar until smooth. Add whipping cream, melted butter and lemon extract, and blend. Stir in the flour mixture.
Set batter aside for ten minutes while you tidy up: the batter will firm up. Use a 1/4-cup ice cream scoop to drop dough onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 12 minutes. The bottom of the cookie will be golden, and the top springy. Set cookies aside to cool.
Make frosting: In a microwave-safe bowl, break up a 3.5 oz. bar of Perugia Dark Chocolate Limoncello chocolate. Add two tablespoons of butter. Microwave over high for a minute. Stir–it won’t be totally melted. Microwave for about 30 seconds more, and stir until smooth. Add 1 cup of powdered sugar, and then 4 tablespoons of whipping cream. Stir vigorously with a big spoon until smooth. You can add another tablespoon of cream if you want a more glaze-like mixture.
Frost each cookie, and top with some of the candied peel. Press the peel gently into the frosting.
A goldfinch returned the other day to continue munching on the zinnias. Hope you enjoy!
Peace to you. Fran