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Super easy to make two tone cookies shaped like a cute bow. Made with lemon and white chocolate, these cookies are such a delicious snack to have with tea. Fun, quick and delicious – the best cookie combination!
Lemon and white chocolate cookies
Let’s face it, a good cookie will put a smile on everyone’s faces. And what better flavour combination for a good ol’ cookie than lemon and white chocolate? These cookies are just the right amount of sweet, as I tend to like snacks that aren’t drowning in sugar. The sweetness is further reduced by tricking your taste buds with a simple, yet amazing ingredient – lemon. Adding lemon in cookies gives it bit of a “zing” and brings out the delicate flavours.
Although these are not chocolate chip cookies, this recipe contains a bit of white chocolate for all the right reasons. The chocolate helps make the cookies smoother in taste, but crispier in texture. You can always add more white chocolate if you wish, but remember to reduce the butter and sugar content. Balance is everything – especially when it comes to cookies! Furthermore, you can dip the cookies in more melted white chocolate because, well… Why not?!
The inspiration behind these two tone cookies
Those of you who have been following my blog know how much I love taking inspiration from my own background. As a native Romanian, I like to celebrate my heritage by creating fun bakes inspired from specific traditions.
These cookies are inspired from a Romanian tradition that occurs at the beginning of spring. March 1st is a special holiday all around the Balkans. In Romania, it is called “Mărțișor“, and celebrated it by gifting small trinkets and flowers to all girls and women. The origins of this tradition goes back centuries, spanning back to Roman times.
The symbol of March 1st is a white and red thread that is usually tied around a woman’s wrist on this day. It is said that the person wearing it will have a prosperous and healthy year. The two tone cookies are inspired by the red and white thread that’s tied around women’s wrists on the 1st of March.
How to bake cookies that don't spread
Most cookies change their shape slightly when baking, which means the overall look will be different from the pre-baking version. The only way to control the final shape of the baked cookie is to ensure they do not spread in the oven. This is especially important for cookies in more complex shapes or cut-out cookies with sharp edges.
It took me many attempts to figure out how to do this, but hey – I’m here to save you the trouble! Here are my tips and tricks for making sugar cookies that never spread:
1. Do not use a leavening agent
Most cookie recipes call for the use of either baking powder or baking soda (bicarbonate of soda). These chemical agents are used to help the cookies rise and give a lighter, softer texture. Although this is perfectly fine for some types of cookies, such as chocolate chip, it’s not suitable for this recipe. In this case we need a perfectly disciplined cookie that does their homework in time!
By omitting rising agents from the recipe, the cookie maintains its shape much better. Moreover, this makes the cookie more crisp and gives it a ‘snap’ when broken in half. By no means does this mean you will break a tooth when biting into these cookies. Oh, no no! These cookies are every bit delicious and amazing.
2. Add in the secret ingredient
If you’ve had a look at the recipe card below, you might think I’ve lost my marbles. Cornstarch in a cookie recipe?! Yes, my friend, cornstarch is the secret weapon for your perfect no spread cookie. This under-utilised ingredient ensures the dough is more cohesive and less sticky. And since this recipe calls for a dough slightly on the ‘wet’ side, it’s just perfect.
Cornstarch, when added in the right quantity will NOT affect the taste of the cookie, and will help get razor-sharp edges. In the case of our recipe, the cornstarch prevents the dough from being too crumbly. Since we will need to shape the dough with our hands, the last thing we need is a crumbly dough.
3. Find the right baking temperature
Throughout my blog I keep banging on and on about how important it is to get accustomed to your oven. Each make and model of oven has a different temperature that can affect how long things take to bake. When it comes to recipes where baking time can make or break the final result, temperature is very important.
Although for my oven the optimal baking time is 8 minutes at 180C (360F), this might be different for your oven. This is why I recommend testing your oven.
How to test your oven
Place on single cookie in the oven before baking an entire batch. Start with 180C (360F) and bake for 8 minutes. Let the cookie cool for 15 minutes after taking it out of the oven. Afterwards, ask yourself these questions:
Is the cookie fully baked or does it look burnt? If the edges are starting to look slightly brown, either reduce the temperature by 10C or the baking time by 1 minute.
Is the cookie fully firm or slightly springy to the touch? If still soft after cooling down completely, your cookie is under-baked. Turn up the heat by 10C or add 1-2 extra minutes.
4. Don't fiddle too much with the unbaked cookie
When making no spread cookies, it’s important to not touch the cookie too much once in its final shape. If you touch it and the shape changes, the baked cookie will be different too.
If making plain cutout cookies, I recommend rolling out the dough directly onto a baking sheet or mat. Afterwards, cut the dough in place, then simply remove the extra dough scraps.
For our recipe you should start shaping the cookies directly in the baking tray. This will eliminate the need to lift the bow cookies once they’ve been shaped. Lifting the cookies can very easily cause them to tear and ruin your beautiful handwork.
How to make lemon and white chocolate cookies
The smell of cookies baking is one of life’s greatest joys, and the best thing about this recipe is that it’s also easy to make! This recipe can be used to make plain cookies as well or any other shaped cookies you like. Here’s how I make my favourite lemon and white chocolate cookies.
We will start by combining the dry ingredients: flour, cornstarch and salt. Make sure you give this a good whisk, to ensure the cornstarch is evenly distributed.
Separately, beat the softened butter and sugar, mixing until fluffy. Next, add the melted white chocolate, lemon zest and lemon extract.
If making the dough in two different colours, this is when the butter needs to be divided into two parts. Add food colourings of choice to each separate buttery mixture. I recommend either gel or powder food colouring.
Next up, half of the dry ingredients will be added over each buttery mixture. Mix with a spatula to combine the dough, then gently bring it together with your hands. The final result will be two separate doughs in different colours.
Shaping perfect two tone cookies
As we’ve discussed earlier, the shape of the two tone cookies is very important. In order to shape the lemon and white chocolate cookies, we will begin by dividing each dough.
This recipe is enough for one dozen cookies, so we need to divide each colour dough into 12 equal parts. I have to admit I was a little lazy and eyed the sub-divisions, but feel free to use a kitchen scale for more accuracy. Next up, we will take two small pieces from each colour of dough and roll them out into thin strips roughly 10 cm long (4 inches).
In order to make the diagonal pattern of colours, place colour 1 over colour 2, crossing them into a braid or pleat. Continue pleating towards each end of the strips, pressing with your fingers to ‘fuse’ the dough together.
To properly fuse the two coloured doughs, roll out the strip gently pressing on it. Continue rolling until the length is around 25 cm (or 10 inches). Take your time rolling out the dough, as it’s fairly fragile. If the dough tears, simply squeeze it back together with your fingers.
Divide the dough in 2 x longer strips and 2 x shorter strips like in step 12. The longer strips will become the loops of the bow, whilst the shorter strips will be the ends of the ribbon.
Take one of the longer strips of dough and form a loop, pinching the ends to stick them together. Repeat this process for the second longer strip, then stick the two loops together. Press in the middle junction to stick the loops.
Place the ends of the two smaller strips on top of the junction where the loops meet. Gently press with your finger to stick them all together. Complete the design of the bow with a little more dough to hide the junction and sugar decorations of your choice.
Frequently asked questions
How do I store the cookies?
These cookies will last for 1-2 weeks at room temperature if stored correctly. The cookies need to be stored either in airtight containers or wrapped in cling film (saran wrap) at room temperature. Just like any other homemade or store-bough cookies, these cookies will become stale if left out in the open.
I do not recommend refrigerating these cookies. Firstly, there’s no real need to refrigerate the two-tone cookies, as they do not contain any dairy-based filling. Secondly, moisture from the fridge will make the cookies become stale sooner and they will lose their crunch.
Can I make these cookies in one colour?
Yes, of course. If you want to make the cookies in one tone only, follow the recipe without dividing the butter and dry ingredients in two equal parts. Simply mix the butter in one larger bowl, and combine everything together (wet and dry ingredients).
Also, if you’re making these cookies in only one tone, there’s no need to make two separate strips of dough for each cookie. Similarly, there’s no need to make a braid, instead just use one single strip of dough.
Can I double or halve the cookie recipe?
Absolutely, the recipe can be halved, doubled, tripled etc. This recipe is for one dozen cookies, so simply multiple (or divide) the recipe for however many cookies you need.
Can the cookie dough be made in advance?
You can make the cookie dough 1 day in advance, but I wouldn’t recommend longer than that. Leaving the raw dough in the fridge will make it dry out, making the dough much crumblier. Since this recipe calls for a bit of shaping of the cookie dough, crumbly dough is far from ideal.
Romanian folklore music to listen to whilst making these cookies
Are cookies your favourite thing ever? Give these other recipes a go!
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Two tone cookies with lemon and white chocolate
- 240 g plain white flour 2 cups
- 20 g cornstarch 3 tbsp
- 2 g salt ½ tsp
- 80 g unsalted butter (room temp) ⅓ cup
- 30 g white chocolate (melted) 3 tbsp
- 100 g granulated sugar ½ cup
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp lemon extract
- 1 lemon zest
- Pre-heat oven to 180°C (360°F) with fan. In two separate bowls add equal quantities of 120g flour (1 cup) and 10g cornstarch (1 ½ tbsp). Give both a good whisk to combine the ingredients in each separate bowl.
- Separately, combine the softened (room temp) butter and sugar. Beat with a hand mixer until light and airy.
- Beat in the melted chocolate, egg, lemon zest and lemon extract.
- Divide the butter mixture into two equal parts in separate bowls, each weighing approximately 140g. If using imperial units, this would be around ½ cup + 4 tsp of mixture.
- Mix in your preferred colour in each buttery mixture, using either powder or gel food colouring. Combine well to get a uniform colour.
- Add the corresponding dry ingredients over each separate butter mixture. This will give you two identical weight doughs, in two different colours. Mix the wet and dry ingredients with a spatula or wooden spoon. Use your hands to fully incorporate into a smooth dough. Do not add any additional flour, the dough is supposed to be a little on the 'wet' side.
- Shape each dough into a thin roll, then divide the doughs into 12 equal parts. Cover the dough with cling film to prevent it from drying out.
- Take one small part of each colour dough, then roll it out into a thin strip with your palms. Twist the two tones around each other to make a braid, then press them with your fingers to stick together. Now roll out the braid to make into a thin strip.
- Cut off 1/4 of the strip and reserve. Divide the remaining strip of dough in half, then shape each half into a bow loop. Connect the two loops together and gently press them together in the middle. Take the reserved strip of dough and divide it in half. Add each half as ribbons coming from the bow. Optional: add a small circle of dough in the middle of the bow to hide the seam.
- Place the bows on a baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes. Once baked, let the cookies cool down on the tray until they're fully cooled and hardened.
- I recommend using a kitchen scale in grams for more accuracy. The cups used for the conversion are standard US customary cups (1 cup flour = 136g). There are many different types of cups across the globe, which is why I strongly recommend using grams instead.
- The cookie dough can also be made in one piece, then divided into two equal parts and coloured separately. However, this method will not result in perfectly blended colours and you risk over-kneading the dough.
- Please do not eat the raw cookie dough, unless you are using pasteurised eggs.