Today’s post should be titled: “What Molly wants for Valentine’s Day.”
If you’re a lemon fan (or have a special lemon fan in your life), make this recipe. Immediately. It is the perfect romantic little cookie. Light, lemony, and dunked in silky dark chocolate.
If you’ve been reading this blog for any substantial amount of time, you may have gleaned from my ramblings that I am a HUGE lemon fan. It is and always will be one of my most favorite flavors for both savory and sweet dishes. Sweet stuff, in particular. Give me anything doused in lemon glaze and I’m a happy girl. Lemon cake? Yes, please. Lemon-based cocktail? Yes, please. Lemon-curd-topped waffles? Yup! Lemon cookies? Oh, you betcha.
This lemon cookie is a riff on a recipe I’ve made for years (thanks, Giada). They always come out perfectly. Light, fluffy, slightly cakey, slighty chewy, and totally delicious. My only teeny tiny issue with the original recipe is that it isn’t quiet lemony enough for my taste. When I am eating a lemon dessert, I want to be punched in the face (mouth?) with lemony brightness. And while the original cookies definitely are light and lemony, they aren’t quite enough for me.
My solution? Amp up the lemon zest and add in a little lemon extract for good measure. It resulted in a deliciously lemony cookie. That I proceeded to dip in melted dark chocolate. Because…well…chocolate.
Honestly? My idea for dunking them in chocolate came from a Christmas family tradition. Every year, my aunt sends my family a box of assorted gourmet chocolate candies. My mother always gets to open the box and always (ALWAYS!!!) snags the chocolate-covered caramel. Much to our dismay. I think I’ve only managed to get it once in thirty-some Christmases, and that was only because I was a brat and snuck into the box before anyone else realized it was open. My younger sisters have never gotten the coveted caramel.
This past Christmas, after we laughed about my mom always getting her first pick, I picked up a truffle from the box without knowing what it was. I was fully expecting a coconut or maple nougat, since I always seem to pick them. But I was wrong. This was a lemon truffle! It was filled with the creamiest, most luxurious lemon fluff ever. And the combination with the dark, slightly bitter chocolate was heaven in my mouth. I was instantly obsessed.
So, I attempted to make said truffles three times. THREE! I failed all three times. Sad face. I’m still kind of obsessed with figuring it out, though, so we’ll revisit this if I ever do. My best truffle efforts resulted in exactly zero truffles and a crapton of delicious, super lemony cookies dunked in dark chocolate. And I don’t hate it.
In fact, I love it. What else was I going to do with all those leftover lemons and dark chocolate bars? Hmm, there are probably lots of lovely ways to use them up, but I’m glad I went with these cookies. I took most of them to work with me that week (since my husband does not share my love for the lemon and I didn’t need to eat them all myself), and people raved. My sisters ate a few as well, and they raved.
I ate a few, and I’m raving about them now. They are gooooood cookies. The flavor combo is so on point. Plus, they’re kinda cute, right? They’re the perfect little morsel to pack up in a heart-shaped box for your loved one. I would definitely be one happy camper if these showed up in my house on Valentine’s Day.
(Say a little prayer for my kitchen if my hubby gets the message. Yikes.)
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 (15-oz) container whole milk ricotta cheese
1½ teaspoons lemon extract
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or extract)
8 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the lemon zest and juice and mix to combine. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated. Add the ricotta cheese, lemon extract, and vanilla bean paste. Beat to combine. Add in the dry ingredients in a couple batches and beat to combine.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a 1-tablespoon cookie scoop, scoop the dough onto the baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the cookies are slightly puffed and golden around the edges. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and allow the cookies to cool on the sheet for 10 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough.
While the cookies are cooling, melt the chocolate and coconut oil in a heat-safe bowl set over a pot of simmering water (alternatively, microwave for 30-second increments, stirring after each session, until mostly melted). Stir the chocolate until smooth, glossy, and completely melted. Remove the chocolate from the heat.
Working quickly, dip the cookies in the melted chocolate. You can dip them however you like. My favorite is when the cookie is half covered in chocoalte so you can still see the lemon cookie.
Set dipped cookies on the same baking sheet lined with parchment paper and allow to set for 10-15 minutes. Store uneaten cookies in an airtight container at room temperature.
Cookie base lightly adapted from here.