Pamplemousse Punitions

April 6, 2011

Pamplemousse Punitions |une gamine dans la cuisine

Translated, these cookies are called Grapefruit Punishments.

Dorie Greenspan's svelte little book, Paris Sweets, has remained so polite all these years. It waits patiently among countless other cook books, and every time I go hunting for a recipe, I see it - poised and demure. Yet because it's such a posh little thing, I feel as though it should only be pulled out for special occasions - not when I look like a mad scientist digging through books in my Harry Potter glasses, over sized sweater, and mismatched leg warmers pulled over even further mismatched leggings And yes, yes I do have leg warmers. (They also double as arm/hand warmers when I'm on the computer.)

In my never-ending, idiosyncratic quest for perfection, I finally decided that this book could hold the key, at least as far as baking is concerned. Paris Sweets is the sophisticated cousin of Dorie's beloved book, Baking, From My Home to Yours. The recipes were inspired by the desserts from the fabulous patisseries of Paris. But don't let that intimidate you, the recipes are made with basic ingredients and Dorie explains how to do everything in such a way that you'll want to hop on a plane and apply for a spot as a pastry chef in Paris - which aside from acting in a Shakespearean play with Jamie Bamber, would be my dream job...did I mention idiosyncrasy?

Pamplemousse Punitions |une gamine dans la cuisine

These cookies are so simple to make, yet they're irresistibly addicting. I use the word 'yet' because when I see that something is simple or easy, I automatically assume that the quality level will go down. Also, normally I don't like to claim that a recipe is simple to make. Them's fightin words, and based on personal experience, sticking the words 'simple' or 'easy' is a potential set-up for disaster, resulting in an impending sense of failure.

But this recipe isn't too difficult, I promise. All you need is a food processor and an ability to resist the urge to over pulse. What you'll get as a result of pulsing, and a bit of bowl scraping, is a buttery, crunchy sugar cookie with a pleasant grapefruit vibe. If you prefer, you can substitute lime or lemon for the grapefruit. This is a chic version of sugar cookies, and I think you'll quickly discover the only punishment that comes out of this recipe is having to wash the food processor.

Pamplemousse Punitions |une gamine dans la cuisine

Pamplemousse Punitions (adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Paris Sweets)

1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons of sugar
Zest of half a ruby red grapefruit
10 Tablespoons (that's 1 1/4 sticks) of unsalted butter, cut into 10 pieces and at room temperature
1 egg, slightly beaten and at room temperature
2 cups of all-purpose flour

In a medium size bowl, combine the sugar and grapefruit zest. Using your fingertips, work the zest into the sugar until the sugar becomes moist and aromatic (it will turn a lovely shade of pinkish-orange!) Set aside.
Place the butter into a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Process until the butter is smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Add the sugar/zest mixture, and pulse until everything is well blended.
Add the egg and process until smooth and shiny, occasionally stopping to scrape down the sides.
Add the flour all at once. Pulse about 15 times, just until the dough becomes crumbly and resembles streusel. Don't over do it, it's better to under mix than over mix the dough.
Dump the dough onto a clean work surface and gather it into a ball, gently working in any stray crumbs. Divide the dough in half, and shape each half into a disk. Wrap each one in plastic, and refrigerate for 6 hours.
Divide the oven into thirds, and preheat to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Working with one disk at a time, one a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough until it's between 1/8-1/4-inches thick. Using a round cookie cutter (mine was 2-inches), cut out as many cookies as you can and place them on the prepared cookie sheets (leave about 1-inch between each cookie). Repeat with the other disk. You can gather the scraps of dough, chill them while the first round is baking, and re roll them when you're ready.
Bake the cookies for 7-10 minutes, or until they are set. They will be pale, but their edges should be slightly browned. Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to rest on the sheets until they're cool enough to transfer to a cooling rack without breaking.

Makes about 40 cookies (or more, if you use a smaller cookie cutter).


  1. Mmmhhh, those must be divine! I love this addition of grapefruit zest...



  2. I love the name of these cookies. I love the simplicity of the recipe. And I love that they're grapefruit-flavored. Twist my arm, I'll be making these.

  3. Love your presentation and the cookies definitely looks yummy.

  4. I love grapefruit, and I bet these had a great flavour. Beautiful photos! Glad to see you found a great use for grapefruit zest.

  5. Simply picture perfect! Just stumbled upon your blog and I am amazed by your photography!

  6. Thank you! It's always great to get positive feedback on my photos. :)

  7. These are just beautiful and I love the use of grapefruit zest. I'll wager these are delicious. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  8. Leg Warmers are so eighties-that's awesome (smile). Ooh, and these cookies look awesome too-the grapefruit with the richness must be so good, Valerie. Yum!
    Ooh, and pastry chef in Paris is my dream job too. Yes....


Thanks for visiting, and for taking the time to read through my ramblings!
If you have a recipe comment or question, I'd love to hear from you.

Happy Baking!
♥ Valerie


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