It has been said that some people don’t like chocolate, which is very strange, I think. It gives me the same feeling as when my dog barks at 7:30 AM, while he looks at empty grass from his perch atop the sofa.
The same feeling as when people say they don’t have time to read books or watch LOST. There’s something very not right about it. No sense. It’s hard to trust those kind of people, if you know what I mean.
And come Valentine’s Day, it’s also hard to believe them – especially when there are things like Felicia’s dark chocolate hazelnut truffles, Nikki’s oh so good chocolate layer cake as well as her sinfully decadent chocolate ganache, and, oh my gosh, Nina’s chocolate mole cake floating around the Internet.
t’s true that I like my desserts chocolate – the more fudgey the better, most of the time.
I would eat the New York Times chocolate-chip cookies every day if it weren’t for the preliminary planning that’s required of the three-day chilling period.
And all it took for me to make my grandma’s oatmeal chocolate-chip cookies this weekend was a quick message from my friend Lan, who said she’d made them, and, immediately when I read it, I do not exaggerate, I went down to the kitchen and pulled out ingredients.
But just to show there are no hard feelings for those of you who still swear you don’t like chocolate, here’s something you will appreciate. If you’re looking for a reliable stand-in for the endorphins brought by chocolate or, say, a romantic holiday coming up tomorrow, you should look to lemons.
Did you know they are proven mood enhancers? It’s true. Lemons make people happy.
And these cookies? Lovely and lemon, with no chocolate at all, filled with sweet and tart flavor, topped by shimmering vanilla icing: Suddenly the word happy doesn’t seem strong enough.
Freshly glazed, these buttery cookies are soft and almost creamy, melting in your mouth as you bite in. A few days later, they stay that way, and, really, I thank the 1/2 cup of lemon juice.
Here’s another fact about lemons, which, true, are wonderful mixed with garlic on baby potatoes or smothered on slow-roasted chicken or used raw in dessert bars; lemons do something almost magical to baking.
The zest, scraped off in flaky, curly bits with a zesting tool, gives concentrated flavor and a fresh, citrus smell, and complemented by the juice, squeezed fresh from the lemon, makes these cookies just as moist as they are fragrant.
How else can you explain that three days after I made them, when I pulled one out of the sad little plastic baggie it had been relegated to, almost forgotten, it was just as soft and succulent as the day it had been baked?
Truly, this is a victory for non-chocolate-lovers everywhere. After eating a couple of these, the rest of us will start to understand.
This recipe was lightly adapted from Carole Walter’s Great Cookies.
Great Cookies: Secrets to Sensational Sweets available on Amazon
These are named Sam’s for Carole’s granddaughter Samantha, who says she l-o-o-v-es lemon cookies. I see what she means. Even if the shimmering white icing and fragrant lemon scent aren’t enough to tempt you, I bet the rich, buttery flavor of the dough will.
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna has a Masters in Writing through Depaul University. Her mantra? Restoring order and celebrating beauty through creative content, photography and food. Shanna's work has been featured in Bon Appetit, The Kitchn, MSN.com, Everyday Health, Better Homes & Gardens, Houzz.com, Food News Journal, Food52, Zeit Magazine, Chew the World, Mom.me, Babble, Delish.com, Parade, Foodista, Entrepreneur and Ragan PR.