EVENT: SHHH COOKING SECRETLY
THEME: CHRISTMAS BAKES
RECIPE: CLEMENTINE COOKIES
Clementine Cookies are made from the basic sugar cookie dough. These quick and easy cookies are delicately flavoured with fresh clementine juice and zest. The basic sugar cookie dough is so versatile, add flavours of your choice, roll them into balls and bake, roll them out flat and bake – whatever you prefer. With a slightly soft chewy centre these cookies are quite popular during Christmas.
I baked this batch and family visiting us from US loved them. Planning to bake some more soon for Christmas to gift to neighbours and new friends we have made in the small town of Magog, Quebec. Actually, the whole idea of adding clementine juice and zest for these cookies came about when my son and hubby came back home from a shopping spree with a whole box of them. Hubby will not have them unless someone peels them for him and I find that annoying. My son took some with him went he went back to Montreal. And I personally love these sweet, Vitamin C rich, seedless, full of dietary fibre citrus fruit.
Clementines are full season here and making best use of them, or rather having one everyday. I do have a dessert lined up using clementines.
What Are Clementines?
Clementines are a type of mandarins. Small in size, sweet, easy to peel and seedless, they make a great snack option for kids and adults. Use them for desserts, salads or in bakes. They usually are not sour or bitter. They are a cross between a sweet orange and Chinese mandarin. Mostly grown in China, Spain, Algeria, Morocco. They are also called cuties or sweeties. Like oranges, clementines are considered as winter fruits.
How To Prepare The Clementine Zest or Peel
As this fruit is easy to peel, it can be tricky to zest or grate the peel as we normally do for oranges and lemons. As clementine has a thin pith, I peeled the peel off and chopped it finely using a sharp knife.
Clementines are not as juicy as oranges. Having said that, I used two of them to get the required amount of juice. You may replace the juice with fresh orange juice, water or milk. However, it is worth squeezing out clementine juice. Simply eat the leftover pulp and fibre instead of throwing it away.
Roll Into Balls or Roll Them Flat?
With this dough you can try out both methods. For rolling them into balls and baking, simply roll the dough into the desired size and bake. If you want to roll them flat with a rolling pin and then using a cookie cutter, you may need to leave the dough in the fridge for at least 30-45 minutes. Or prepare the dough and leave it in the fridge overnight.
What Else You Can Use Instead Of Clementines?
Replace the clementine with other citrus fruits of your choice.
Add chocolate chips, nuts, dried fruits, etc.
Add flavourings of your choice.
Coating With Sugar
Roll the balls in sugar before baking. Adds a crunch. However, you can omit this step if you wish. Use normal white sugar, coarse sugar, coloured sugar, etc.
A Bit About The Group:
In brief, every month a new theme is chosen by members. Furthermore, the participants are paired up. In turn, they give each other 2 secret ingredients to use in their recipe which is prepared fitting the theme.
As soon as their dish is ready, the photo is shared on our Facebook group. The other participants try and guess the secret ingredients. Towards the end of the month the recipe is shared on the group. Furthermore, members get to know each other and interact with them.
THIS MONTH’S THEME
This Month’s Theme, Christmas Bake is what we call the Admins Theme. My co admin is Renu who blogs at Cook With Renu. For this theme she has prepared an easy to make Eggless Semolina Cake with mixed fruit peel and pineapple extract.
This month my partner is a blogger friend whom I’ve known now for over 8 years. Sujata who blogs at Batter Up With Sujata, has a wide variety of Bengali recipes and bakes where she tries to use different kinds of flours besides the usual plain or wheat flours. On my list to try out from her blog is Dim Kosha, a spicy egg curry and Date Millet Peanut Butter Cookies, which are vegan and gluten free.
I suggested that she uses butter and vanilla in her Christmas bake and she gave me sugar and egg as my secret ingredients. She included her given secret ingredients in her festive and delicious looking Almond Pistachio Star Cookies.
Some Christmas Bake Ideas
Orange Saffron Semolina Cake – a different kind of cake to enjoy for Christmas, light with a melt in the mouth kind of texture.
Pistachio and Rose Cake – an exotic bake for Christmas, flavorful and aromatic.
Orange Chocolate Muffins – egg free, with candied cherries and ideal for kids as some don’t like dense fruit cakes.
Kerstkransjes -Dutch Christmas Cookies – can use them to hang on Christmas Trees
Ingredients Required For Clementine Cookies
- Plain Flour – all purpose flour. I have not tried making sugar cookies with wheat flour.
- Baking Powder – scoop the baking powder with a measuring spoon. Level if off with the blade of the knife.
- Baking Soda – soda bicarbonate. Scoop the baking soda with a measuring spoon. Level if off with the blade of the knife.
- Salt – add some if you are using unsalted butter.
- Sugar – for this recipe best to use normal/regular white sugar. Need for the dough and extra for rolling the cookie balls in.
- Butter – use either salted or unsalted. If using unsalted add some salt, about ½ tsp. Softened butter but not melted. Allow chilled butter to come to room temperature.
- Egg – large. Remember to take the egg out of the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature. For egg free version replace the egg with ¼ cup plain thick yogurt.
- Vanilla Extract
- Clementines – for the zest I used one whole clementine. I used 2 for the juice. Can replace the juice with orange juice, milk or water if you wish. As it was difficult to use a zester, I peeled the clementine and chopped the peel finely using a sharp knife. You can use your herb mill.
WATCH HOW TO MAKE & BAKE CLEMENTINE COOKIES
- 2¾ cups plain flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 1½ cups sugar
- 1 cup butter approx. 200g
- 1 large egg
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp clementine zest
- 3-4 tbsp clementine juice
- Extra Sugar for rolling
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Prepare the baking trays either by lining them with parchment paper or lightly greasing them with butter.
- Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together into a large bowl.
- Add butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
- Cream them together either using by using a spatula or hand held electric whisk or mixer.
- Cream till it becomes soft and creamy.
- Add the egg, vanilla extract, zest and juice. Mix well.
- Add the flour mixture.
- Using your hand, mix gently and form a dough. Once all the ingredients come together in the form of a dough, leave it. Don’t over mix.
- Take a tablespoon of the dough and roll it into a ball.
- Add extra sugar into a small bowl or plate.
- Roll the ball in it.
- Place on the baking tray.
- Repeat the above steps with the remaining dough.
- Make sugar you place the rolled balls at least an inch apart, as the cookies with spread out during the baking time.
- Bake them for 10-12 minutes or until the sides or bottom are light golden in colour.
- Remove the cookies from the oven.
- Allow the cookies to rest on the baking tray for 5 minutes.
- Place them on a wire rack to cool completely.
- Store the cookies in an airtight container till required.
- Can replace clementine with any other citrus fruit.
- Add chopped nuts, dried fruits or chocolate chips.
- All the ingredients must be at room temperature.
- Replace the egg with ¼ cup plain thick yogurt for egg free version.
- Use coarse sugar or coloured sugar for rolling the cookie balls.
- To roll the dough out flat and cut into shapes using a cookie cutter, chill the dough in the fridge for 45-60 minutes. Cover it with cling film.
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