December 10, 2008

Kalamansi Meltaway Cookies

My mother gave me some kalamansi that her friend had given her. Unlike my family, her friend was lucky enough to have a kalamansi tree in her backyard. Mom passed them down to me since she knows these will be better off with me. Besides using it for a dipping sauce (sawsawan), Mom had no idea what to make of them. She had them for days now and they are getting really ripe.

Kalamansi (or calamansi) is a citrus fruit native to the Philippines. They are tiny in size, smaller than key limes and thin-skinned like kumquats. They smell sweet like tangerines but don't let that fool you, they are super sour (my mouth is watering as I type this). They are used mostly in cooking as a souring agent and eaten along savory dishes.

small size, big flavor

It's been years (maybe a decade) since I've had fresh kalamansi. Knowing that it'll be awhile (hopefully, not another decade) before I can have more, I made sure the handful I got (about 25 kalamansi fruits) will be put to good use. I first thought of making Bistek Tagalog but knew I will end up using all my kalamansi stash in one dish. I wanted to make my stash last awhile so I figure I make desserts with them. :)

First up, I had to zest these little gems. The handful I got yielded me about 4 tablespoons of fragrant skin. I used some to make these cookies: Brown Butter and Kalamansi Meltaways. The recipe was adapted from Sherry Yard's book, The Secrets of Baking. The browned butter gives these cookies a rich depth of flavor and the kalamansi, a nice tang.

Kalamansi Meltaway Cookies
makes about 18, 1-inch round cookies

4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 1/2 TBSP finely grated kalamansi zest
1 TBSP kalamansi juice
3/4 cup powdered sugar (also called confectioners' or icing sugar), plus more for dusting
pinch salt
3/4 cup AP flour, sifted

  1. A few hours before making these cookies, make the brown butter. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the solids separate and brown to a dark color, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool at room temperature. Then chill in the refrigerator until cold.

  2. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter on medium speed until soft. Add the zest and juice and continue to beat until cream-colored, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the sugar and salt and cream until smooth and lump free, about 1 minute. Scrape the sides of bowl again.

  3. On low speed, add the flour. Beat until just incorporated, it will me crumbly. Do not overbeat. Remove the dough and place in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes. (Dough will keep in the fridge for 1 week or in the freezer up to 1 month.)

  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with silpat or parchment paper. Flour hands to prevent dough from sticking and pinch off pieces of dough snd roll them into i-inch balls. Place one inch apart on prepared baking sheets.

  5. Bake one sheet at a time for 10-12 minutes, or until light brown around the edges. Do not overbake or they will be too dry and crisp.

  6. As soon as you take them out, cover completely with powdered sugar. Put powdered sugar in a strainer, tap it over the cookies on the baking sheet. Let cool on baking sheet completely and serve.

These cookies looks like snowballs, fitting for the season. I am sending my Kalamansi Meltaway Cookies to Susan of FoodBlogga for her Eat Christmas Cookies event. The ongoing round-up can be found here.


Susan from Food Blogga said...

Who would think that a sour fruit could make a delicious cookie? Thank you for a wonderfully unique entry. I really love it and learned something new. :)

Gigi said...

This cookie recipe sounds very interesting. Thank you for sharing the recipe!

Caroline said...

Thanks, Susan. You have a wonderful event, I'm glad I can participate.

Thanks, Gigi. It was fun rediscovering a fruit from my childhood and using it in a totally different way.

kate said...

just tried to make them with lemon added, like book says. followed recipe, but dough spread over cooky sheet in a huge blob. any hints?

Caroline said...

Hello Kate, you might be cooking them a little too long. Try taking them out 1-2 minutes earlier. Also, you might want to chill the formed cookie balls before baking, they get warm from your hands when forming them. Hope these help and please let me know how they turn out.

Mimí said...

Hello!! wowww I surprised about it, I got a tree in my house, and we use to eat with salt, cold pops and water... i will try with cookies...

manju said...

OMG! These look so good. My tree is winter dormant right now but when she's back to producing in spring, we are definitely going to try this. Love the candied peels, too. Great use for a great citrus!

purtygf said...

Sounds divine! I wish I had a calamansi tree or even calamansi fruit where I live on the EC. Thanks for the recipe, though.


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