Archive for the ‘Orange’ Category

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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Holiday Baking: Sweets for the Sweet (and my family!)

January 31, 2012

Okay, so I am way behind on my blogging.  Since I last posted, I’ve tried 5 new recipes, not to mention all the batches of old favorites I’ve cranked out (Sour Cream Cookies and Margarita Cookies were back by popular demand).  I found two of my experiments (Brown Sugar Drops from the Betty Crocker book & Buttery Fork Cookies from the 1001 book) disappointing, so I won’t waste time posting them.  However, three of my holiday dessert projects are well worth the making, so here we go!

The first recipe I want to share is one I made with my dear friend in The Kelly Kitchen just before Christmas, in between giving bottles to her darling twin boys!  She’d clipped this recipe from a magazine and bought all the ingredients, but hadn’t had the time to make it what with becoming a mom a bit quicker than expected, so when I came to visit the new arrivals, we carved out a bit of time for baking while Daddy minded the boys.  I’m not sure which periodical published this one, but it was submitted by Carol Stuber, and it was yummy:  a perfect fall treat!

Caramel Apple Bars

Crust:
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup shortening
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup chopped pecans, optional
Filling:
4 1/2 cups coarsely chopped peeled baking apples (see my previous post for tips on good baking apples)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 package (14 ounces) caramels
3 tablespoons butter or margarine

In a mixing bowl, cream butter, shortening and brown sugar until fluffy.  Add flour, oats, salt and baking soda; mix well.  Stir in pecans if desired.  Set aside 2 cups.  Press remaining oat mixture into the bottom of an ungreased 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking pan.  For filling, toss apples with flour; spoon over the crust.  In a saucepan, melt the caramels and butter over low heat; drizzle over apples.  Top with the reserved oat mixture.  Bake at 400° for 25/30 minutes or until lightly browned.  Cool before cutting into bars.  We were impatient and didn’t follow that last bit of instruction, and they fell apart into a crumbly mess.  They were still delicious though.

Caramel Apple Bars

This next recipe is one I had done previously, but never posted.  We buy fresh oranges from H & S Citrus every winter.  It is by far the best citrus I’ve ever eaten, and with such good fruit on hand, I decided to try the recipe for Orange Drop Cookies from Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book when my sister gave it to me last Christmas.  They were delicious, so I made them again this year.  It may become a Christmas tradition, but only if I get faster at it.  Once I promised cookies to my niece and nephew, I couldn’t disappoint, but apparently it was an excruciatingly long wait, if the number of times I was asked “Are they done yet?” is any indication.

The cookies have a cake-like texture, and the refreshing orange flavor really comes through.  I recommend using fresh orange juice for both the cookie and icing.  I know it’s a bit more work, but it’s worth it, and you need real oranges to get the rind anyway, so just do it.  🙂

Orange Drop Cookies

2/3 cup shortening
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup orange juice
2 tbsp. grated orange rind
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt
Orange Butter Icing (recipe follows)

Heat oven to 400°.  Mix shortening, sugar and egg thoroughly.  Stir in orange juice and rind.  Stir dry ingredients together; blend in.  Drop rounded teaspoonfuls of dough about 2″ apart on an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until delicately browned on edges.  Mine always seem to brown quicker.  Watch them closely.  Frost with Orange Butter Icing.

Orange Butter Icing

2 1/2 tbsp. soft butter
1 1/2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 tbsp. orange juice
2 tsp. grated orange rind

Blend butter and sugar together.  Stir in juice and rind until smooth.

Orange Drop Cookies

The last recipe I want to recommend is one I came across on Facebook.  It has already been blogged far more thoroughly than I could do it, so instead of reinventing the wheel, I’ll just link to it with this recommendation:  make these!  They are the perfect treat for those of you who eat so much cookie dough that you wind up baking very few cookies.  My darling nephew declared them “one of the best chocolate things I ever ate.”

And on that note, I’ll leave you to your kitchens.  I acquired three new dessert cookbooks recently (Chocolate, The New York Times Dessert Cookbook and Miette), so be on the lookout for new experiments to come!  Next on the docket is Chocolate Hazelnut Drops, from the 1001 book.  Wish me luck!