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Have you ever had those round, sugared Sunkist Fruit Gems? They also sometimes carry a similar, and equally delicious version of this confection at Trader Joes. They come in green, orange, red, yellow, and white. The opaque white ones are grapefruit and they’re the absolute best ones in the bunch. And, as always happens with your favorite flavor of just about anything, there are always fewer of them than anything else in the mix. Why is that exactly? Regardless, my first sampling of this grapefruit-infused sugar cookie dough reminded me distinctly of those candies – except there was butter and flour involved. Holy moly.
If you’re wondering about the sticker on her hand, she gets one from her teacher for a good day in Pre-K.
I’ve been eating a lot of grapefruit lately. They’ve been in season and on-sale, looking plump and ripe and fresh. I just bought another bulk bag of them yesterday and decided instead of simply eating them with a little sugar and a spoon (or honey with yogurt and granola), it was time to make something with them. As you can see, I had a little helper, too.
I chose these cookies because I wanted something that really makes the grapefruit flavor shine. These cookies have both grapefruit zest and juice in the dough and in the frosting, too. Can’t get much more grapfruity than that. Grapefruity should totally be a word, by the way. Since the frosting is pink, I chose my darling little heart cookie cutter (which I picked up at Target for 99 cents when I was out of town last week) and made these delightful little Valentine’s-Day-appropriate morsels. My kids love them (even the ones who don’t like to eat grapefruit). They’re buttery – a little crisp, a little chewy – with a fresh, tangy sweetness throughout.
1/4 cup freshly-squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice
For the Filling:
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 3/4 cups powdered sugar
Zest of 1 ruby red grapefruit
3 tablespoons ruby red grapefruit juice
pink gel food coloring (I used a couple drops of Wilton pink)
In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the sugar and the zest. Rub the zest into the sugar with your fingers until well combined (this prevents the zest from clumping up in one spot and infuses the sugar with the grapefruit flavor). Fit the mixer with paddle attachment and add the butter. Cream together the butter and grapefruit sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Incorporate the egg yolks. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour in three batches, alternating with the grapefruit juice (flour, juice, flour, juice, flour) until the dough just comes together. My dough was slightly crumbly, but held together when squeezed. Pat the dough into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350. Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to 1/8 inch thickness. Using a small cookie cutter (I used a 2-inch heart cutter), cut as many cookies as you can and place them on the prepared baking sheets. Bake the cookies 9-11 minutes, or until golden on the edges and set. Allow to cool on the pan for 2 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely before assembling.
To Make Filling:
In the bowl of the stand-mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat together the butter, powdered sugar and zest until fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Add the grapefruit juice and the food coloring and continue beating at medium-high speed until creamy and fluffy, another 1-2 minutes. Transfer the filling to a piping bag and pipe some frosting onto the under side of half of the cookies. Press an unfrosted cookie firmly on top of each frosted cookie to form a sandwich.
I made these for Valentine's Day and they were a HUGE hit at the office. Next time I'm going to sprinkle some sugar over the top before I bake them so they have a little sparkle. But for Valentine's Day I made sure the icing was hot hot magenta pink! Delicious and adorable, thank you!
I made these the other day for a class party, and all of my classmates and the teacher loved them! As I was leaving school I had about 10 left. I was holding the container and gave one to a friend and I turned my head and when I looked back at the container they were all gone! Needless to say, they were very loved and I've gotten many requests to make more. Thanks for sharing it!