For this recipe, I did two things I’ve never, ever done: scrape the seeds from a vanilla bean and candy kumquats. It was very exciting! And did I mention it was on a Friday night while my husband was out Christmas shopping?
Kumquats are these cute little citrus fruits that you can pop in your mouth, skin and all. My husband was the only one in our family to try that with great success. I, on the other hand, found that I could only eat the inside, as did our adventuresome son. Our daughter attempted neither! Can’t say I blame her. Anyways, while the skin can be slightly bitter, the creamy inside bursts with orange zing. It’s like a party in your mouth!
These cookies make a fun, unique dessert for New Year’s Eve. Not to mention, everyone will be impressed with your marvelous baking skills!
Chocolate Spice Cookies with Mascarpone Frosting and Candied Kumquats
from Bon Appetit
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon plus a pinch cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger
8 ounces mascarpone or Neufchatel cream cheese
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1″ pieces, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
10 kumquats, thinly sliced
1/2 vanilla bean, split in half and seeds scraped out
For the Chocolate Spice Cookies
Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl, until smooth. Add eggs and beat until fluffy.
Whisk flour and next 5 ingredients in a medium bowl. Add to butter mixture and beat until well blended. Stir in ginger. Divide dough in half; roll each into a 1 1/2″-thick log. Wrap each log in plastic and chill for at least 1 hour or overnight. Dough can be made 1 month ahead; keep frozen.
Preheat oven to 350°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Unwrap 1 dough log; transfer to a well-floured cutting board. Cut log into 1/4″-thick rounds and place 1″ apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake cookies until slightly crisp, 8–10 minutes, then let cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough log, using cooled baking sheets and fresh parchment paper.
For the Mascarpone Frosting
Using an electric mixer, beat mascarpone and butter in a small bowl. Add sugar and vanilla extract and beat until blended and smooth.
For the Candied Kumquats
Heat sugar and 1 cup water in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently until sugar dissolves. Add kumquats and scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Bring to a simmer and cook until reduced and golden colored, 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Place kumquat slices on parchment paper to dry. Save the syrup for later – it’s marvelous on french toast!
Happy New Year!