Winter and I, yeah, we’re not friends. In fact we’re more like mortal enemies. I was fooled by this winter, things were surprisingly mild and snow free and then Christmas came and so did winter in the truest sense. The forecast is not looking promising, but I’m still holding out for a January thaw and no more snow storms that require the snow guy to come.
Winter is just so . . . wintry. I told you how I’m allergic to the cold, so you can imagine my dismay when forecast highs aren’t even going to break twenty degrees. The cold air physically hurts, as the wind pounds into every unexposed area of my body and somehow manages to pass right through my coat and clothes, as though it has super hero powers, or super villain powers. The snow might be pretty for a moment, one single, solitary moment, but then it doesn’t melt, turns into snirt (snow mixed with dirt), and loses its allure completely and totally as the ever growing piles in parking lots look like they should be given their own zip code. Walking in parking lots is also treacherous as I step to avoid mounds of salt, leftover slush, and pot holes filled with water. Not to mention the fact that I could go on and on about how many snow storms have ruined plans. Somehow every time I was a kid wishing as hard as my brain would allow for a snow day, the weather guys’ prediction of twelve inches turned into two as the storm took this path instead of that, but now that I make plans I’d actually like to keep, the two inch storm often manages its way to twelve.
Home is where I stay for the most part, not wanting to get upset over cancelled plans or deal with the finger swelling a day in icy cold temperatures inevitably brings, but I still see the snow and lack of sun nearly every day from the windows and it makes me sad. I tend to dwell on it more than most, but it’s just not fun to deal with a season that makes me think twice every time I want to leave the house, that makes me long for a nice warm walk outside, the sun hitting my face, that makes me want to trade Michigan and its winters for the sun of California or Florida.
There’s also the lack of produce. Store shelves seem almost bare, as my grocery store bill is sometimes cut by almost half. I know they’re not seasonal and local and all that, but the Chilean cherries have been outstanding and have quelled some of my desire for stone fruits. There is one bright spot of winter (don’t tell anyone I’m admitting this). Citrus. Different kinds of oranges, lemons, and grapefruits. They’re so pretty and fragrant and healthy. Oranges are by far my favorite, especially clementines. Those little orange jewels bursting with juice are something I look forward to every year. I always buy the ones imported from Spain as they are real clementines and have the outstanding flavor to match.
I put one of the many boxes of clementines I have already purchased this season to good work in these Frosted Clementine Cookies. Little nuggets of sunshine, they brightened my day even if looking outside didn’t. The cookies are super easy to make, no mixer or chilling required, and bake up perfectly. They are thick, puffy, cakey cookies that have surprisingly crisp edges. Though I typically like super soft, underbaked cookies, I fell in love with the crispy edges and perfectly baked interior with a moist fine crumb, as they became some of the best cookies I’ve made, filled with orange flavor from both zest and juice. I love the flavor orange zest gives baked goods and was happy to see so much used in this recipe. Then it is topped with a glaze. I kept mine very thick and it was more like frosting, which I loved, as it fully coated the cookie. It was a true pleasure biting through the soft, lightly orange flavored frosting, then into the firmer cookie with its hint of crunch. These cookies are a wonderful treat that I think of as one small way winter is trying to make up for all its shortcomings.
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons clementine zest
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons fresh clementine juice (I used two clementines)
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- Fresh clementine juice
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment.
- In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and salt.
- In a large bowl, cream together sugar, zest, and butter until light and fluffy. I did this by hand, as long as the butter is room temperature the dough is very easy to put together by hand, but a hand or stand mixer would work as well. Add the egg, juice, and vanilla and mix until once again light and fluffy. Add the dry ingredients slowly and mix until a dough just comes together.
- Using a small ice cream scoop, scoop dough onto prepared sheets, 8 to a tray. Bake for about 12 minutes, until light golden brown around the edges and still quite soft to the touch. Cool completely on cookie sheets.
- When the cookies are completely cool, make the frosting. In a medium bowl, stir together sugar and enough juice to form a spreadable yet still thick frosting. Immediately spread the frosting onto the cookies or it will harden in the bowl. Be generous. The frosting will firm up as the cookies sit. Cookies may be stored at room temperature in a single layer in an airtight container for up to 4 days, or frozen wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 4 months. Thaw at room temperature for about an hour.