Were it not for the fact that my fingertips and nails would turn orange, I could easily go through an entire crate of clementines in one day. I love how they have the perfect amount of tartness, just enough to nudge the orange off the thrown of my favourite citrus fruits (aside from lemons and limes...which I can't eat with as much wild abandon). There is quite a large heap of these jewels in my refrigerator so I thought it safe to spare a few for the sake of turning something healthy into a buttery, sugary dessert.
These cookies are quite simple to put together as long as you don't mind getting your zester clogged up a few times. In order to make a larger quantity, I made mine a bit small but please feel free to make them into a larger, more substantial size. At their core, they are lovely, simple sugar cookies with a pleasant chew in the center and a delicate crisp at the edges. The clementine zest and juice gives them a faint tinge of citrus, just enough to keep them from becoming too boring. I rolled the balls of dough through a bath of sugar, freshly grated ginger, and more zest, giving the cookies a shiny crystallized coat and subtle spice once you have swallowed. These are a perfect way to use up some of that fruit which may taking up too much space. These would also be wonderful with limes!
Clementine Ginger Sugar Cookies
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) of butter, at room temp.
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 teaspoons of fresh clementine juice
zest of 2-3 clementines
1/3 cup of sugar
1/2 tsp. of freshly grated ginger
zest of about 2 clementines
Place the 1 1/2 cups of sugar in a large bowl with the *clementine zest*. Rub the zest into the sugar until it is fragrant and light orange in colour. Set aside. *The zest from clementines is quite 'wet' compared to lemons and limes. I gently pressed the zest between sheets of paper towel to soak up the excess moisture. Once the paper towel was removed, I fluffed the zest up with a fork.*
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In another large bowl, beat the butter and sugar/zest mixture together until it becomes light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add the egg, vanilla, and clementine juice. Beat till incorporated. Slowly add the flour mixture in 3 separate intervals. Beating just till the white streaks disappear after each addition. Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Place the 1/3 cup of sugar, grated ginger, and clementine zest into a shallow bowl. Rub the ginger and zest into the sugar until fragrant. Depending on how large you want your cookies, scoop out 1/2 tablespoon-1 whole tablespoonful of dough for each cookie. Roll into a ball and roll each ball into the sugar mixture. Place about 1 inch apart on the prepared sheets.
Bake for 7-9 minutes or until the cookies are just set in the middle. The should just start to crack a bit on the surface. Remove from oven and allow the cookies to cool for about 3 minutes before taking them off the baking sheets.
Makes about 20 medium-sized cookies or 35 small.