Saturday, August 20, 2011

Clementine Cookie and Chocolate Cream Pies

This chewy clementine cookie with its cream cheesy chocolate counterpart is deeee-lish! And really easy to make.

We always have clementines in our fruit bowl, and I use at least one citrus fruit a day - as a marinade, salad dressing, tequila chaser or snack...But for some reason I've never thought to juice a clementine! The flavor really comes through in these cookies and it definitely says "clementine" while the zest gives the cookies a delicious bitter orange quality. The chocolate filling has a gentle tang of cream cheese and a not overly sweet dark chocolate flavor.

No kidding:  I was told by a recent visitor to Europe that this cookie was better than any pastry she tasted in France...try them and you'll like them!

Clementine Cookie:
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup clementine or tangerine juice
2 tsp. clementine zest
2 tsp. lemon juice
Powdered sugar for dusting

Combine butter, sugar, egg and egg yolk. Mix until creamy. Add flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well. Add juices and zest and blend thoroughly.

Spoon onto a parchment covered baking sheet. Bake at 350F just until the edges barely begin to turn golden brown, 8-12 minutes, depending on size. Do not over bake!

Remove from the pan immediately and dust with powdered sugar while warm. Cool completely and chill, preferably overnight, before consumption.

Avoid judging the taste and texture of these cookies warm from the oven. They will seem too soft and cakey for a cookie sandwich. After they cool for a half day or so, they will set up as a thin chewy wafer with intensified flavor. I prefer mine to be chilled in the fridge for a day before use, and they are especially delicious eaten straight from the freezer.

Chocolate Filling:
5 tablespoons flour
5 tablespoons powdered unsweetened chocolate
1 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup butter, room temp
1 block cream cheese, room temp
1 cup granulated sugar

Sift together flour and chocolate. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, whisk together flour/chocolate mix and milk. Whisk constantly until it is really thick. Remove from the heat and press your paste through a mesh sieve, if needed*.

Place your pan in a bowl of super cold ice water to cool quickly. Once cool, remove skin if there is one (better yet prevent skin by placing plastic wrap up against the warm paste before cooling). When the milk chocolate paste is completely cooled, whisk in vanilla.

Cream together butter and sugar. Blend in cream cheese until well mixed. Beat the chocolate paste into the butter mix for 1 to 3 minutes until the frosting is gooey, smooth and fluffy. The longer you mix, the lighter (more airy) it will be.

* Your chocolate may lump a bit when cooking with milk. It will not be noticeable at all when eating, but it makes for better photos if you press it through a sieve.

To assemble the Cream Pies, squish your filling between your cookies and chill for an hour before serving. Best served chilled. Enjoy!

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