Archive for March, 2012

Cookies on the Fly Part II: Continuing Service to Nowhere

March 19, 2012

So I’m still stuck in the airport.  I’ve thoroughly explored concourse D, and now I realize why I’ve never bothered to go beyond gate D9:  gates D10-D15 are boring.  Of course, that doesn’t set them apart from the rest of the concourse much.  So to ease the tedium, I’m returning to my original intentions:  cookie-blogging & cherry-eating.  Yes, I bought another bag of the bloody expensive chocolate cherries from the gift shop.  I couldn’t help it.  After I picked up the first bag that spilled, they smelled so good sitting on the seat next to me that I wanted to eat them in spite of the fact that they’d been on the floor.  So here we go again.  I’m noticing now that the packaging has a little dotted line and a picture of scissors on top.  Note to the marketers:  don’t sell something that must be opened with scissors IN AN AIRPORT.  We’re not allowed to have scissors because we might threaten to snip rude airline employees.  Okay, the bag is open.  So far, so good.  Tasting…  Wow.  Go buy these.  Second row down, middle item.  Yummy.  My fellow passenger in standby purgatory agrees.

So, on to the cookies before poor Janice has an apoplexy.  This was a variation on a recipe from The Ultimate Cookie Book called Brazil Nut and Orange Cookies.  As I dislike Brazil nuts (and therefore had none on hand), I substituted macadamia nuts.  I also played with the icing a bit; I’ll address that when we get there.

Macadamia Nut and Orange Cookies

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp grated orange rind
1/3 cup orange juice
1/4 tsp lemon extract
1/4 cup macadamia nuts
3/4 cup finely chopped nuts  (So in other words, you need a full cup of whatever nut you use, but reserve 3/4 cup; only 1/4 goes in the cookie.)
Raisins  (Optional, and I opted against them. Seemed like a clash of flavors to me.)

Preheat oven to 350° F.

In a large bowl, cream butter with sugar.  Add eggs and mix well.  Sift together dry ingredients and add to egg mixture.  Mix in orange rind, orange juice and lemon extract.  Fold in macadamia nuts and raisins, if desired.

Drop spoonfuls of batter onto cookie sheet, 2 inches apart.  I didn’t grease the cookie sheets, and they stuck, so then I did grease them and they spread out too much and got too brown on the edges.  I’m going to say lining the sheets with parchment paper would be the better way to go.  Bake 10 to 12 minutes.  Watch them carefully.  They’ll get a bit brown on the edges before they’re quite done, and that’s fine, but they can go from light brown to over-baked quickly.

Meanwhile, prepare icing.

Icing

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tbsp water
1 tsp lemon juice

I switched up the ingredients a bit.  I used orange juice instead of lemon because I had fresh oranges on hand, and since orange is a less intense flavor than lemon, I replaced half the water with orange juice as well.  It was still a faint flavor.  If I had it to do over, I would either use lemon as directed, or use all orange juice and no water.  Mix together confectioners’ sugar, water and lemon juice.  Spoon over hot cookies and sprinkle with chopped nuts; let cool.  I ran out of icing and wound up making two batches.  Even though the liquid to sugar ratio was the same, the first batch was runny; it just soaked into the cookies and disappeared.  If your icing consistency is too thin, add a bit more powdered sugar so you won’t have to ice them twice like I did.  It should ooze or stream slowly to coat the surface of the cookie, but not run or soak in like a liquid.

So there you have it.  Enjoy!  Soon to come are recipes for my very favorite muffins (despite an infamous baking powder incident), and my mother’s awesome oatmeal cookies.

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Cookies on the Fly

March 18, 2012

Since I’m currently starring in my very own version of “The Terminal” (which might be tolerable if I could hang with Stanley Tucci, but is rather miserable under the circumstances), I think my time is best served by blogging cookie recipes and eating the ridiculously expensive chocolate-covered cherries I bought in the gift shop.  Wait; scratch that last part.  The cherries turned out to be encased in standard consumer packaging, and when I attempted to open the bag, it refused to rip just long enough to make me put some muscle into it, then gave way suddenly, showering chocolate-covered cherries all over the carpeting of gate D9.  Denied.  I am depressed.

So anyway, cookies.  This recipe comes from 1001 Cupcakes, Cookies & Other Tempting Treats.  The cookie is extremely rich.  You know a cookie is rich when you have to use Nutella to cut the sweetness.  I’d double.  The daubs of dough are comparatively large, and the subsequent cookies disappeared fast.

Chocolate & Hazelnut Drops

1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup superfine sugar
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
Pinch of salt
2/3 cup ground hazelnuts
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
4 tbsp chocolate and hazelnut spread

Preheat the oven to 375° F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Place the butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat together until light and fluffy, then beat in the egg yolk and vanilla extract.  Sift together the flour, cocoa and salt into the mixture, add the ground hazelnuts and chocolate chips, and stir until combined.

Scoop out tablespoons of the batter and shape into balls, then place them on the baking sheets, spaced well apart.  Use the dampened handle of a wooden spoon to make a hollow in the center of each cookie.  Bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes.

Let cool on the baking sheets for 5-10 minutes, then transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely.  When cold, fill the hollows with the chocolate and hazelnut spread.

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Om nom nom and repeat!