July 3, 2013 | By matt | Comments
About 120 years ago, I was invited to a very specific July 4th holiday potluck. The only requirement was to bring a dish that was red, white, or blue in color. In theory, this sounded like a fun constraint. In execution it was like an overblown Sandra Lee “tablescape” nightmare. There were too many dishes with blueberries…buckets and buckets of blueberries. Blueberries were in things that shouldn’t have had blueberries. And there was all manner of reckless use of red dye. Nothing looked terribly appetizing except for the dessert. There was a red velvet cake, of course. And someone made a big vat of colorful berry trifle. I brought a half-sheet of brownies topped with a thin layer of ganache. In accordance to theme, I speckled the ganache with red, white and blue jimmies. I had assumed, rightly so, that everyone would welcome a chocolate dessert among the berries and red dye. Unfortunately, the hostess was not so enamored with my creation. She said something like: “It’s very tasty even if it didn’t follow theme”.
Had I been less inebriated (there were many blue cocktails circulating), I might have explained to her the artistic genius of subtle interpretation. I might have told her that no one was eating her blue dyed bread or her red macaroni and cheese, because…well, it was blue bread and red macaroni and cheese. Instead, I just fixed myself another drink and stayed far away from the Sandra Lee in training.
That said, I had fully intended to make a Red ,White and Blue dessert today. I am not entirely against overtly themed desserts. But I was lacking so many things (namely berries). Also, I had a few leftover limes. And I really do love our Lime Tarragon Cookies from Baked Elements. They are summery in the way that lime is refreshing and tarragon is kind of licorice-y. My cookies are a bit on the big side (I used a large scoop) and I might have added more tarragon than needed (it is a personal preference), but I can honestly say that these would be welcome at any July 4th celebration.
Have a lovely long Holiday weekend.
LIME TARRAGON COOKIES WITH WHITE CHOCOLATE LIME TOPPING from our book Baked Elements
For the Lime Tarragon Cookies
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
⅔ cup confectioners’ sugar
⅓ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon
3 teaspoons lime zest (about 1 lime)
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
2 cups all-purpose flour
For the White Chocolate Lime Topping
3 ounces good-quality white chocolate, coarsely chopped
Zest of 1 lime (about 1 tablespoon)
Make the Lime Tarragon Cookies
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars together until smooth and creamy. Add the salt, tarragon, lime zest, and lime juice and beat on high speed for 30 to 45 seconds, until the zest appears to separate and speckles the dough. Add the flour all at once and beat on low speed until incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and beat again for 10 seconds. Scrape down the bowl again and use a spatula to mound the dough in the center of the bowl. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Using a small ice cream scoop with a release mechanism, scoop out the dough and roll it into 2 tablespoon–size balls. Place the dough balls about 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. (If you are not using an ice cream scoop, you will need to use a tablespoon measure and your hands to shape or roll the dough into balls.) Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, until the edges of the cookies are golden brown and just start to darken.
Remove the baking sheets from the oven and place on wire racks to cool for 10 minutes. Use a spatula to transfer the cookies to the racks to cool completely.
Make the White Chocolate Lime Topping
Place the chocolate in a glass measuring cup (or small microwave-safe bowl) and place in the microwave. In 10-second bursts, microwave the chocolate at 100% power (high), stirring in between, until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth, about 3 bursts. (Alternatively, the chocolate can be melted using the double-boiler method.)
Using an offset spatula, spread a dollop of white chocolate on the top of each cookie, then sprinkle the white chocolate with a little bit of lime zest (less is more here—you are trying to achieve a nice, minimal decoration, not lime zest overload). Allow the chocolate to set completely before serving.
The cookies can be stored at room temperature, in an airtight container, for up to 3 days.