Sunday, June 13, 2010

Lemon Buttermilk Chocolate Chip Cookies

Today I couldn't resist making my Lemon Buttermilk Chocolate Chip Cookies for a visit with some dear friends I haven't seen in nearly a year. They absolutely adore these cookies, and I have a hard time showing up to people's houses without a batch of cutely-packaged homemade cookies in hand.
Lemon Buttermilk Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes about 2 1/2 dozen

Note: This dough needs to rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour before baking.

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, measured with the spoon-and-sweep method
2 teaspoons baking powder (I use aluminum-free)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 egg
1 teaspoon Grand Marnier (optional)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon lemon oil, to taste (NOT lemon extract or lemon flavoring)
1/4 to 1/3 cup buttermilk*
6 ounces (1/2 package) semi-sweet chocolate chips

*If you don't have buttermilk on hand (or you don't want to buy a whole quart just for this recipe), you can make your own from milk and distilled white vinegar, cream of tartar or lemon juice (e.g., from the lemon you zested for this recipe). Simply heat 1/2 cup of milk in the microwave for about 15 seconds (or until warm), stir in 1/2 teaspoon vinegar, cream of tartar OR lemon juice, and let it stand at room temp until it curdles, which takes about 15 to 20 minutes. Voila!

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Set aside.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, salt and lemon zest until light and fluffy. (I like to use a BeaterBlade for this recipe. Which I bought and am in no way being compensated to endorse.)

3. Stop the mixer and add the egg, Grand Marnier (if using), vanilla extract and lemon oil. Beat together at medium speed until well-combined.

4. Stop the mixer and add the flour mixture, beating at low speed until it just starts to come together.

5. Slowly add 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup buttermilk, stopping the addition as soon as the dough starts to become moist and before it appears wet. (You want a moist cookie dough, not cake batter.) Stop the mixer and add the chocolate chips, then mix on low speed until the chips are just incorporated.

6. Cover the dough tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour (and up to 24 hours). (I transferred my dough to a small bowl to free up my mixer bowl for banana bread in the meantime.)

7. When the dough has rested in the refrigerator for at least an hour (long enough to make friends with your eggs and soy-free Earth Balance), remove it from the frige, heat your oven to 375 degrees F and line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats, parchment or both. Using a small cookie scoop or spoon, drop 1 1/2 to 2 inch balls of dough onto prepared cookie sheets, spacing 2 inches apart.

8. Bake at 375 degrees F for 12-14 minutes, rotating baking pans top to bottom and back to front after the first 7 minutes. When cookies are golden brown and set, remove from oven to cooling racks. Cool for 2 minutes, then remove cookies (still on the silicone baking mats or parchment) to racks to cool completely.

As you can see from the photo at the top of this post, I like to stack these cookies in clear cello bags, tie them with pretty ribbon, and give them away.

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