Coconut Lime Crunchies

For my sister’s All-Ivy League Fencing Competition (Part I), I wanted to bake her something special, and every time that I ask my sister what sort of cookie she’d like me to make, her answer is the same: “Something with coconut.” Not being a huge coconut cookie fan myself, I try to incorporate other ingredients so that the coconut is a complementary ingredient rather than the focal point.

These cookies are a variation on a grapefruit cookie made by Martha Stewart. I modified the recipe to use lime and added the coconut, which I think pair well.

coconut lime crunchies

Coconut Lime Crunchies
Grated zest and juice from two limes
1 c sugar
1 c all-purpose flour
3/4 c plain cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c unsalted butter, at room temperature (1 stick)
2 large egg yolks
1/2 c coconut

1. In a small bowl, mix the lime zest with 1 tbs sugar and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder and salt and set aside.
2. Beat the butter with the remaining sugar until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Add the egg yolks and beat until combined, then beat in the zest-sugar mixture. Add the flour in two batches, alternating with the lime juice, and beat until well-mixed. Then, stir in the coconut.
3. Turn the dough out onto waxed paper, shape into a log approximately 1.5″ in diameter, and freeze until firm, at least 1 hour or more.
4. Preheat the oven to 350oF. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove the log of dough from the freezer and slice into 1/8″ rounds. Place them on the baking sheets, spacing about 1″ apart. Bake 18-20 minutes, until the edges are lightly golden. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Makes about 40 cookies

Sparkling Lemon Snowballs

And I shall call you an appropriate, holiday-themed name…a Sparkling Lemon Snowball!  This is another Gourmet “Favourite Cookie”, although I did make several alterations to the recipe.  I wish that these were frozen and you could hang them around the room, because they really are beautiful and sparkly in reality.

In other news, I am readying myself for some intense holiday baking (my FAVOURITE activity of the year)!  Unlike years past, I have decided to rid myself of the cookies by feeding them to other people, rather than simply consuming them all myself.  Anyway, I am extremely excited for that, too.

sparkling lemon snowballs

Sparkling Lemon Snowballs
1 1/3 c all-purpose flour
2/3 c cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
2 sticks (1 c) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 c confectioners sugar
1 tbs grated lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla
Food colouring
Sanding sugars

For filling:
1 c confectioners sugar
1 tbs grated lemon zest
1 tbs fresh lemon juice
2 tbs light corn syrup
1/4 c butter-flavoured vegetable shortening

1.  Preheat oven to 350oF with rack in middle. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, and salt.

2. Beat together butter and confectioners sugar until pale and fluffy, then add in lemon zest and vanilla. Gradually mix in flour mixture just until a soft dough forms.

3.  Put sanding sugars in different bowls. Roll a scant teaspoon of dough into a ball and roll in sugar to coat, then transfer to a baking sheet. Repeat, spacing balls 3/4 inch apart, until baking sheet is filled.

4. Bake until tops are slightly cracked but still pale (bottoms will be pale golden), 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer cookies on parchment to a rack to cool completely.

5.  Beat together all filling ingredients in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until combined well.  Spread about 1/2 tsp on half of the cookies.  Sandwich with remaining cookies, pressing gently.

Makes about 30 cookies

Orange-Ginger Rounds

Orange and ginger are quite complementary – a combination of tart, spicy and sweet, which is quite lovely.  They’re really easy to make, since they are log cookies an you refrigerate them and then slice them

orange ginger rounds

Orange Ginger Rounds

1 1/4 c whole blanched almonds
1 c confectioners’ sugar
3/4 c (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
3 tbs finely grated orange zest (2 to 3 oranges)
1 large egg
1 tbs. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
6 oz. crystallized ginger, finely chopped (about 1 c)

1.    Place almonds and sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, and set aside.
2.    Place butter and orange zest in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until white and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. On low speed, add the almond mixture, and beat until combined, 10 to 15 seconds. Add egg and lemon juice, and combine. Add flour, and beat until combined. Wrap in plastic; store, refrigerated, up to 1 week, or freeze up to 3 months.
3.    Place two 12-by-16-inch pieces of parchment on a work surface. Divide dough in half; form each half into a rough log on parchment. Fold parchment over dough; using a ruler, roll and press dough into a 1 1/2-inch cylinder. Wrap. Chill at least 3 hours.
4.    Heat oven to 350oF. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Spread crystallized ginger on a work surface. Unwrap logs; roll in ginger to coat. Cut logs into 1/4-inch-thick rounds; place on sheets, spaced 2 inches apart. Bake until edges turn slightly golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool. Bake or freeze remaining dough. Store in an airtight container up to 2 weeks.

Makes about 5 dozen, depending on size

Chocolate Orange Pinwheels

These look far more difficult than they actually are, although the rolling process can be a bit iffy.  Make sure your dough is well-refrigerated.  They come out with a crisp yet airy texture.

Chocolate Orange Pinwheels

1 c all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 c unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 c granulated sugar
1 large egg, separated
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp grated orange-zest
2 tsp Dutch-process cocoa powder

1. In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.  Place the chocolate in the top of a double boiler placed over hot, barely simmering water.  Heat, stirring often, until the chocolate melts.  Remove from over the water and set aside to cool slightly.
2. In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugar.  Beat on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes.  Add the egg yolk and vanilla and beat on low speed until blended.  Add the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated and the dough is smoothing.
3. Divide the dough in half.  Put one-half of the dough in a separate bowl and stir in the orange zest.  Add the melted chocolate and cocoa powder to the dough remaining in the large bowl and mix on low speed until completely blended into the dough.  Gather up each portion, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, about 45 minutes.
4.  Remove the dough from the refrigerator.  One at a time, place each dough portion between 2 sheets of waxed`paper and roll out into a rectangle 10 by 5 inches and about 1/8 inch thick.  Remove the top piece of waxed paper from each rectangle.  In a small bowl, using a fork, beat the egg white until foamy.  Brush it lighting over the top surface of the chocolate dough.  Using the waxed paper, flip the chocolate dough onto the orange dough and press the doughs together.  Peel off and discard the top piece of waxed paper.  Trim the dough edges evenly.  Roll up the 2 layers of dough into a tight log, removing the remaining piece of waxed paper as you roll.  Gently press the seam along the roll to seal it.  Trim the ends evenly.  The roll should be about 9 inches long.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.
5. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350oF.  Line 2 rimless baking sheets with parchment paper.  Unwrap the log and slice into slices about ¼ inch thick.  Place 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets.
6. Bake the cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until the edges just begin to turn slightly golden about 8-12 minutes.  Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer them to wire racks to cool completely.

Makes about 30 cookies