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Melon with Orange-Ginger Syrup

Slicing open a melon and scooping out its fragrant flesh is one of summer's great pleasures. Slices of cantaloupe and balls of honeydew and canary melon are so delectable that little is needed to enhance them. The exact size of the melon balls is unimportant; it's nice to have a variety of sizes. Add a drizzle of ginger-infused syrup -- made with orange juice, sugar, ginger, and Cointreau -- and a garnish of mint and orange zest for a cool dessert on a sweltering afternoon. An Orange Lace Cookie is a crisp contrast to the soft melon.

Ingredients :

Serves 8

* 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, strained (about 4 oranges), plus zest of 2 oranges
* 1 cup sugar
* 1/2 ounce ginger, thinly sliced
* 2 tablespoons Cointreau
* 1 small honeydew melon, cut in half, seeded
* 1 small canary melon, cut in half, seeded
* 1 cantaloupe, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch wedges
* Mint sprigs, for garnish
* Orange Lace Cookies


1. Fill a large bowl with ice and water; set aside. Place the orange juice, sugar, and ginger in a small saucepan over medium heat; bring to a boil. Let simmer, stirring occasionally, until sugar has dissolved and syrup has thickened, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat; strain syrup into a clean bowl; add the Cointreau; stir to combine. Set bowl in ice bath, or chill in refrigerator, until syrup is cold.

2. Using different sizes of melon ballers, cut balls from the honeydew and canary melons. Place balls in a medium bowl; add 1/2 cup cold syrup and orange zest. Toss to combine.

3.To serve, arrange cantaloupe on a platter. Spoon melon balls on top. Serve extra melon balls on the side. Drizzle melons with syrup; garnish with mint. Serve with Orange Lace Cookies and remaining syrup on the side.

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