Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Orange Drop Cookies

Do you find it interesting that orange season (at least for naval oranges) is now? I do because when I think orange, I think summer. Maybe that's because as a child I would go to Florida in the summer and drink lots of freshly squeezed orange juice.

Well, this lovely cookie is best when made while oranges are in season since they use the rind of the orange. It's a nice option to the normal, heavy, chocolaty, doughy, and super sugary holiday snacks showing up this time of year. Also, the smell of orange zest makes your kitchen smell so lovely!

So, what are you waiting for? Go make this now!

(Oh, and yes, I posted this recipe way back... Back in my dark ages with my simple point and shoot camera. It was time to shoot them the right way and show all the lovely orange colors!)
Orange Drop Cookies (from my Mom's Best Recipes Cook Book)
2/3 C butter
¾ C sugar
1 egg
½ C orange juice
2 T grated orange rind
2 C flour
½ t baking powder
½ t soda
½ t salt

Mix; drop on cookie sheet. Bake 375° about 8-10 minutes.

Cool partially, then frost with a mixture of the following
2 T soft butter
1 T grated orange rind
2 T orange juice
2 C powdered sugar

Blend and spread on cookies when they are mostly cooled.

Erika’s Extra’s: Buy 3 oranges just to be safe. Make sure the cookies are almost completely cooled so the frosting won’t run off them.
Bake well and prosper!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Viennese Chocolate Spice Cookies

It's the most wonderful time of the year! Wait...is it? Is it really the Christmas season? With 17 days to go, I guess it is! It approached quickly and then with all the unseasonably warm weather NYC has had, it hasn't seemed like it SHOULD be Christmas. The cold weather I woke up to this morning definitely helped to reassure me that indeed, it's Christmastime!

The lights that are up and the Christmas decorations in store windows and on houses also help get me in the Christmas spirit.

And the holiday music playing in stores helps.

And the elves making my bed. Wait, what? There are no such things as elves? Well that explains why my bed and room are so messy!

Also, all the goodies showing up at the office has helped get me to believe that Christmas is near.

Need a good cookie to bring in to work? I suggest these Viennese Chocolate Spice Cookies. They can be made crispy or slightly chewy, and the combo of chocolate along with a slight hint of spices makes them perfect for winter.

I hope you are preparing for Christmas and enjoying the season!
Viennese Chocolate Spice Cookies (adapted from One Perfect Bite)
1-1/2 cups flour, plus additional for dusting the work surface
3/4 cup cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-process
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 ounces cool, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces (1-1/2 sticks)
1 cup sugar
1-1/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, divided use
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 egg, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1) Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl until well combined. Set aside.
2) Using a stand mixer on medium speed, beat butter to soften, about 1 minute. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. If mixture is gritty beat an additional 2 minutes.
3) Beat in 3/4 teaspoon of pepper and all of allspice. Beat in egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Add in the flour mixture. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed.
4) Lightly dust work surface with flour and turn dough onto it. Roll into a 9-inch log. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate about 3 hours.
5) Position oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven. Preheat to 375 degrees F.
6) Slice log into 1/4 inch-thick slices and place on sheet about 1 inch apart. Bake for 6 minutes then rotate sheets top to bottom and front to back. Bake for 6 more minutes until slightly puffed or springy to touch. Cool for 2 minutes in pans, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
7) Mix confectioners’ sugar and remaining 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in a small bowl. Sift mixture over completely cooled cookies. Yield: 3 dozen cookies.
Bake well and prosper!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookies & Belated Blog Birthday

Since I've been so busy I missed posting on my blog's birthday which was October 4.  So I shall pretend it's today. Because I can. This is the internet after all.

My first post with a recipe 2 years ago was the Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe from my Mom's Best Recipes cookbook.

I just reread that post and I like how much has and hasn't changed since then. I still have this recipe memorized and I still run, sing, hedge fund, and socialize.

I thankfully have a better camera to document the cookies and have embraced natural lighting as the way to go for photo taking.

In the last year I've been very proud of a couple of baking related things:

1. I made croissants for the first time in my life and they were great!
2. Pillsbury liked my post on lemon pull apart bread which used their seamless dough baking sheets. They put a link on their facebook wall and made my day!
3. Way back in February I made an amazing black forest trifle and it's one of my favorite recipes of the year.
4. Lots of people have pinned me on pinterest. And that makes me feel loved. Aw!

So, here's to another year of blogging and baking. I can't wait to see what year 3 has in store for me!
Chocolate Chip Cookies from my Mom's Best Recipes Cookbook
1 stick of margarine/butter (I find that margarine will make them softer. Yum!)
1/2 cup of white sugar
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1 egg well beaten
1 cup and 2 Tablespoons of flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla (use the real thing....imitation vanilla is a poser!)
1/4 teaspoon of warm water (DO IT! TRUST ME!)
6 oz of semi sweet chocolate chip morsels

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix margarine, sugars, and egg together until margarine chunks are quite small and well beaten. Sift flour, baking soda, and salt together and then stir until well mixed. Add vanilla and then mix. Water and then mix. And then add in the chocolate chips last. Place dollops of dough on cookie sheet with plenty of room between each dollop. Bake 8-10 minutes.

Erika's Extra Notes: To get very lovely and soft cookies, take out of oven when they are still fluffy/slightly uncooked looking. They will cook more while cooling. If baking two sheets at once, make sure to switch the top to the bottom and vice-verse half way through baking.
Bake well and prosper!