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Cranberry-Clementine Cookie Sandwiches

Cranberry-Clementine Cookie SandwichesThese festive sandwich cookies are well worth the extra time and effort -- even without the creamy orange curd filling, they are great tasting cookies!

Recipe Ingredients:

Clementine Curd:
4 large egg yolks
2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
2/3 cup clementine juice (see shopping note below)*
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon freshly grated clementine zest (see shopping note)*
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt

Cookies:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon freshly grated clementine zest*
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup finely chopped dried cranberries
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Cooking Directions:

  1. To make the clementine curd: In a heatproof bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth.
  2. In a small heavy saucepan, combine the cornstarch with just enough clementine juice to make a thin paste. Stir until well blended.
  3. Add remaining clementine and lemon juices, sugar, the 1 tablespoon zest, butter and salt to pan. Over medium-low heat, bring to a simmer for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring until it just starts to thicken.
  4. Whisking vigorously, add a small amount of the hot juice mixture to the egg yolks. Continue adding small amounts of juice in intervals, whisking until incorporated and all the juice is added.
  5. Return the mixture to the saucepan, and, over low heat, whisk or stir gently until the mixture starts to thicken enough to heavily coat the back of a spoon.
  6. Transfer to a bowl, cover the surface with plastic wrap, and chill while making cookies, preferably overnight.
  7. To make the cookies: Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  8. Combine the butter and sugar in a bowl. Using an electric mixer or wooden spoon, cream together until light and fluffy. Add egg, zest, and vanilla, and then add the dry ingredients in three batches, mixing in between. Stir in cranberries. Divide dough in half, and place each on plastic wrap, flattening into disks. Chill for at least one hour.
  9. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper (or leave ungreased).
  10. Remove one disc of dough at a time from the refrigerator and place on a lightly floured work surface. With a floured rolling pin, roll dough to about 1/4-inch thick and cut with a floured 1 1/4 to 1 1/2-inch cookie cutter. Re-chill dough if it becomes too soft to cut or lift from surface.
  11. Place the cookies on a cool baking sheet, and bake until edges turn light golden, about 8 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
  12. To fill cookie sandwiches: Fill a pastry bag (or a heavy plastic zip-top bag with a 1/8-inch hole cut in corner) with chilled clementine curd.
  13. Pipe about 1/2 teaspoon curd onto half the cookies. Cover with the other half of the cookies and sprinkle tops with confectioners’ sugar using a sifter or sieve.

Makes about 2 dozen.

*Be sure to grate the celmentine zest, before juicing the fruit, and reserve 1 tablespoon of zest for the cookies.

Shopping Note: You will need 6 to 8 medium-sized clementines to get enough juice and zest for both the curd and cookies. (Substitute with tangerines or oranges if you cannot find clementines in your area.)

Recipe and photograph provided courtesy of Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, Inc.