the appetizer:

Learn all about sugar in Sweet!: From Agave to Turbinado, Home Baking with Every Kind of Natural Sugar and Sweetener by Mani Niall, including recipes for Raspberry Sorbet Cream; Smoky Pumpkin Seed Brittle; and Semolina-Citrus Turbinados.

I Love Desserts


Semolina-Citrus Turbinados

Makes about 5 dozen cookies



With their fragrant citrus scent and delicate flavor, these refrigerator sugar cookies are perhaps at their best nibbled when sipping a cup of Earl Grey tea. Semolina, the gritty yellow durum wheat product used to make pasta, is also used in Italian recipes to give texture to baked goods. By processing the orange zest and coarse turbinado sugar together, two things are accomplished. First, the sugar absorbs the zest's aromatic oils for extra citrus impact. And the turbinado is chopped into smaller grains, so the cookies have a tender crumb with full sugar flavor.

Orange Glaze

Combine the sugar and orange zest in a food processor fitted with the metal chopping blade and pulse a few times. Add the flour, semolina, baking powder, and salt, and pulse about 10 times to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs, about 15 pulses. Whisk together the lemon juice and egg. With the machine running, take about 10 seconds to add the juice mixture. Process, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary, just until the dough begins to form a ball, 10 to 15 seconds longer.

Turn out the dough and any crumbs onto a lightly floured work surface.

Gently knead until the dough holds together. Divide in half, and shape each into a 1-1/2-inch-diameter log about 10 inches long. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.

Position oven racks in the center and top third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Slice the chilled dough into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Place about 1-1/2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake, switching the positions of the sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking, until the edges of the cookies are golden brown, about 14 minutes. Cool on the sheets for a few minutes, then carefully transfer to a wire cake rack to cool completely.

To make the glaze, using an electric mixer at high speed, beat the cream cheese in a medium-size bowl until smooth. Reduce the mixer speed to low. Gradually beat in the orange juice. Add enough confectioners' sugar to make a glaze with the consistency of heavy cream. Stir in the orange zest.

Spoon about 1 teaspoon of glaze on each cookie and spread with a small metal spatula. Let stand until the glaze is set and dry, about 1 hour. (The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.)

Tip From a Pro

When grating the zest from citrus, work directly over the bowl that holds the other ingredients for the batter or dough. This way, you are sure to catch every minuscule drop of the flavorful, aromatic citrus oil.


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This page created May 2009