Saturday, March 14, 2009
On very rare occasions, I run across canisters of imported orange or lemon "biscuits" from England. I consider some of the better made British shortbread cookies to be the gold standard in the type of crispy cookies that go well with tea. Finding an equivalent Japanese-made cookie has eluded me for the most part, but half the fun comes from continually looking.
Morinaga makes these "Lemonist" biscuits. The box states that they are "The New Standard Biscuit". I hope so, because the old standard hasn't impressed me so far. The red banner across the front of the box lets us know that these are made with 100% Italian lemons. I'm not sure why Japanese lemons are inadequate to the task, and I'm guessing that they will develop an inferiority complex if manufacturers continue to shun them in favor of the sophisticated European types.
The box contains 7 packets with 2 cookies in each one. They are a little over 5 cm (2 in.) in diameter. They smell pretty much like "cookies" when you open the packet, so it's a bit of surprise that they carry a good punch of lemon when you bite into them. The lemon is slightly bitter and treads the line between tasting like the type of lemon juice you buy in glass bottles for cooking when you're too lazy to squeeze your own and real lemon. The flavor is just about as far as you can go without going overboard on the lemon front, but it doesn't go too far in my opinion. My husband, on the other hand, was not keen on these.
The texture of the cookies is crunchy, but not brittle. They are easy to bite into and taste fresh. You can sense that they were made with liberal amounts of fat to get an almost shortbread texture and the ingredients list shortening, "butter oil", and margarine so that bears out the liberal fats usage. One packet of 2 cookies is 58 calories. They are perfect as cookies to have with a beverage (my vote is tea).
I really enjoyed these and would be happy to have them again. They aren't up to the standards of a really good British-made biscuit, but they also didn't cost nearly as much. Some people may find the lemon too bitter or too intense, but I found it quite good.