One of her favourite aspects of Christmas was opening her stocking and enjoying the goodies inside - small candies and confections, nuts, and usually an orange.
Being a child of the '80s, I simply could not comprehend how or why an orange could be seen as a special Christmas gift. Oranges were things that we had everyday! Give me some of those Cadbury Snowmen - now those are worth waiting all year for!
Now that I'm an adult, I appreciate what that orange meant to my mother - it was a simple gift but one that signified luxury and hope for the days to come.
Of course, my mother might have just really loved oranges, but I prefer my theory.
Nevertheless, as a result of these tales, I've come to associate the taste and scent of oranges with Christmas as much as holiday baking or Santa and his hard-working elves. Which leads me to this recipe. The oranges, I mean. Not Santa. No Santas were harmed in the making of this recipe! Or elves! Anyways, you get the idea.
I originally saw this recipe in Anna Olson's Sugar several months ago but never got around to trying it out. While searching for new recipes to try this Christmas, I saw it again, and knowing that tangerines were in season, I gave it a shot.
These cookies are surprising easy to make, and have a more delicate butter flavour than other butter cookies, such as shortbread. However, they didn't exactly "melt away" in the same way that a shortbread does either. What makes these cookies really pop is the tangerine zest in the cookie and the glaze. The citrus flavour absolutely sings in your mouth and gently cleanses the palate after munching on other sugary goodies.
Two things that I would recommend before baking, however:
1. After you form your dough into logs and wrap them in plastic wrap, place them in empty paper towel rolls to keep their round shape while they chill. I learned this handy tip from the Martha Stewart Baking Handbook, and have found it invaluable. Please note, however, that I did not have any around when I made these, so they're a bit misshapen.
2. Before glazing the cookies, place a sheet beneath the cooling rack to catch the excess glaze! There is NOTHING worse than having glaze drip all over your countertop and congeal into a huge sticky mess! Not like I know what that's like or anything.... :)
The sugaring process:
The sugared dough:
The cookies sliced and ready to be baked:
Cooled and glazed cookies (dripping onto waxed paper!):
3/4 cup salted butter, room temperature
1 cup icing sugar
2 tbsps. tangerine zest
3 tbsps. tangerine juice
1 tbsp. vanilla
1 3/4 all-purpose flour
2 tbsps. cornstarch3 tbsps. granulated sugar
1. In a large bowl, cream butter and icing sugar together until smooth.
2. Stir in tangerine zest, juice and vanilla, and blend well.
3. In a medium bowl, mix flour and cornstarch.
4. Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture.
5. Shape the dough into two logs and wrap with plastic wrap.
6. Stuff each log into an empty paper towel tube and refrigerate for at least one hour.
7. Preheat oven to 325F.
8. Roll each log in 1 1/2 tbsps. of granulated sugar to coat.
9. Slice the logs into 1/4 inch rounds and place on a baking sheet that's been lined with parchment paper, or a Silpat.
10. Bake cookies for 12 - 15 minutes, or until the bottoms are slightly golden.
11. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack and allow to cool.
2 tbsps. tangerine juice
6 tbsps. icing sugar
1 tbsps. butter, melted
1. Whisk together juice, icing sugar and melted butter until smooth.
2. Place a sheet of waxed paper beneath the cooling rack and cookies prior to glazing.
3. Pour the glaze over the cookies to cover, and allow to dry for at least one hour.