We’re still in Australia.
I spent the first half of my trip to Australia in Sydney for work. We were based right in the middle of the CBD with access to all of the great shops, restaurants and, of course, coffee spots.
Australians take their coffee very seriously. Home of the flat white, Australia has a vibrant coffee culture and with it, all of the bits and goodies associated with a strong cup. It was early in the week and my travel partner (and frequent Australia traveller) noted that she was on the hunt for a melting moment.
“A what?” I asked as my 15-year-old-boy mind immediately went somewhere sexual.
Much to the disappointment of my pubescent brain, a melting moment is not a sex toy, but a sandwich cookie.
Often lemon, these little treats entail two shortbread cookies that bookend a generous dab of buttercream filling. Once identified, I saw them at just about every coffee shop, bar and kiosk, often stacked invitingly in big glass jars.
Turns out, melting moments are also known as Yo-Yos. In fact, they are the first recipe in Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh’s 2017 volume, Sweet. Helen Goh is the pastry chef for Yotam Ottolenghi’s namesake restaurant, Ottolenghi, in London. And, she’s originally from Australia. This is a fantastic cookbook and while it was already sitting on my shelf before I left for Australia, it wasn’t until earlier this summer–and after I made the batch shown here–that I discovered her recipe (more on this cookbook and my current favorite chocolate cake in a couple of weeks). The recipe below is actually modified from a mango version I found on Food 52.
Now that I know about Ms. Goh’s Yo-Yo recipe, I promise to make them as well. In the name of research of course.
makes 12 completed cookies (this recipe doubles well)
For the cookies:
- 2/3 C (80 grams) confectioners’ sugar
- 2 C (250 grams) of all-purpose flour
- 1/2 C (75 grams) cornstarch
- 1 C (250 grams or 8 ounces) butter, softened
- 1/2 vanilla bean (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
- Finely grated and then chopped zest of 1 lemon
For the lemon buttercream:
- 1/4 C (65 grams) butter, softened
- 1 C (125 grams) confectioners’ sugar
- 2 TBS (or more to taste) fresh lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 320° F (160° C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment
- Sift sugar, flour, and cornstarch together in a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl, cream together the butter, vanilla, and lemon zest. When creamy and soft, combine with the flour mixture and begin folding together with a spatula or by hand. Continue combining the mixture until you have a perfectly smooth, soft ball of dough. Be patient, it will take a few minutes.
- Roll into walnut-sized balls or use (try to get the same size each time; about 2 level teaspoons-worth is ideal) and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper about 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart.
- With the tines of a fork (easier if you dip the fork into flour each time), gently flatten each ball until the cookie is about 1/2-inch thick (it will spread a little more when baking and you do want these fairly thick rather than thin).
- Bake for 15 minutes, or until the cookies are still very pale but feel dry to the touch. They will still be quite delicate and soft, so let them stand on the tray for 5 minutes before carefully transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. They will harden when cooled.
- Make the lemon buttercream by whipping the butter, sugar, and lemon juice together until smooth and creamy. While called buttercream, the consistency will be more like play dough. Roll small 1/4 tsp-sized balls of buttercream and place in the center of half of the cookies. Gently top with the other half, pressing down until the buttercream reaches the edges of the cookies. Let them set in the fridge in an airtight container for 30 minutes before serving. They will keep a few days stored like this, but make sure to bring them back to room temperature before serving. Plain cookies without the buttercream will keep 1 week in an airtight container.