When Hubs and I were living in Munich, I developed a rather serious Clementine habit. We had a Tengelmann’s not 100 yards from our apartment, where I would tromp almost daily, regardless of rain, slush, sleet or snow, to buy crate after crate of the little Spanish gems for next to nothing. I just couldn’t get enough of their juicy, perfectly sweet-and-sour flesh. The habit got so bad that my fingernails were permanently dyed a pitiful shade of orange, my fingers constantly smelled strongly of citrus and our trash bin was overflowing with peels and rinds. It was bad. And by bad, I mean oddly amusing.
Seven years later my habit has waned, but my eyes still get all wide and glisteny when I see a cardboard crate of them at the grocery store. I caved this weekend and bought myself a box, feeling a bit clueless about WHAT I was going to do with them when I got home. Clementine preserves? Eh, I don’t eat enough toast. Juice them for fresh Clementine juice? Ooof, too time-consuming… I could just eat all of them. Nooo – once and addict, always an addict. Hmm, cookies… Now there’s an idea.
Although citrus isn’t a common ingredient in cookies, I was determined to make it so. I rifled through my trusty red recipe folder, searching for a cookie recipe that would adapt well to citrus flavors. Not five minutes later, I was in luck. I came across an old oatmeal cookie recipe, perfect for tweaking and updating.
The recipe was the bare-bones basics: sugar, butter, flour and oats. But y’all know me, I can’t just leave it at that! I scoured my kitchen cabinets and drawers to find other add-ins, and I came across a bag of dried cranberries leftover from my Brussels sprout recipe a few weeks back, as well as a jar of cardamom I’d bought for some obscure reason months and months ago. “Clementines… Cranberries… Cardamom… I’m onto something, here”, I thought to myself.
Cardamom is an intense, heady spice that’s often found in Indian cooking, and it complements citrus nicely. In order to make the Clementine flavor really stand out in the cookies, I not only used the zest of two Clementines, but a couple tablespoons of the juice, as well. The extra moisture in the dough also makes for a soft, chewy cookie. Bonus.
I got the cookie dough assembled in no time – badda bing badda boom – and added the cranberries at the last minute. Using an ice cream scoop to ensure a uniform size, I plopped them onto parchment-lined cookie sheets, and baked them for about 15 minutes. I attempted to let them to cool a little before handling them, but who can resist a hot cookie right out of the oven? Not I. The sweet, citrusy flavor and warm chewiness had me at hello.
These cookies are a perfect rainy day project, and they’d go perfectly on any holiday goodie tray. As I always suggest, try mixing up the ingredients to suit your tastes; maybe use dates instead of cranberries, cinnamon instead of cardamom, or add walnuts for crunch. The cookie is your oyster! Uhh, the world is your cookie! Err, the oyster is your world! Oh, you know what I mean. Enjoy!
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Triple C Cookies
(makes about 20)
1 c. (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbs. Clementine juice
2 tsp. Clementine zest
1 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cardamom
3 c. rolled oats
1 c. dried cranberries
Preheat the oven to 350°. Cream the butter and sugars together in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, vanilla, juice and zest, and mix well. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour through oats), stirring together. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and fully incorporate. Add the dried cranberries.
Using an ice cream scoop or a tablespoon, drop the dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake about 13-15 minutes, until lightly golden. Allow to cool.
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Laura is a regular contributor for the Fayetteville Flyer. She was born and raised in Fayetteville. She is a self-proclaimed foodie and avid cook. For more of Laura’s contributions, see her Flyer Foodie author page. For more cooking, recipes, and other food-related inspiration, visit Flyer Foodie on Facebook.