vegan peanut butter cookies || vegan snickerdoodles|| lemon sugar cookies || lemon white chocolate biscotti || loaded brown sugar cookies || ginger turmeric sugar cookies || basic sugar cookies || cardamom shortbread || salted, spiced double chocolate cookies || chocolate chip cookies || cardamom molasses cookies || black tea butter cookies
The holidays seemed so far off in January, and yet here they are, looming over us menacingly. Maybe not menacingly. I love winter.
This winter feels different, though, because I started back in school in August and am still working part time. Next winter may be the same, or it may be better. The winter after that, who knows? And someday I’ll have a full time job again, and I’ll be just a little bit older than I am now (probably), so the winters will zoom on by, impatient and clumsy.
I love winter.
Originally, I was going to reveal some macaron recipes, the first macaron recipes of the Kitchen Klutz Blog, but those stubborn bastards were frustrating me so much, I gave up. I still have at least a dozen egg whites aging in the fridge and freezer, but I dread those little meringue shells and creamy centers so. This year I went with something I never would have done in the past.
It all started with the vegan chocolate muffins of November. I’ve never been much of a fan of chocolate muffins, and yet I posted two chocolate muffin recipes in a row. Those two muffins opened a kind of floodgate inside me, and I decided I wanted to do something with white chocolate. As little as I have liked chocolate muffins, I have always liked white chocolate less, and yet here we are, experimenting with white chocolate.
Spoiler: I ended up deciding not to make white chocolate anything this winter, but what’s important is that I was inspired to try.
Instead, I made cranberry orange cookies. Orange isn’t something I bake with a lot, and cranberries even more so, but after making a cranberry sage pie from Four and Twenty Blackbirds for Thanksgiving, I wanted to do more with those tart, red pimples.
These cookies are based on a snickerdoodle recipe, because of all the sugar cookies I’ve ever had, snickerdoodles have the best texture and flavor: tart, lively, and chewy. Instead of cinnamon and vanilla, I used Cointreau, orange zest, dried cranberries, and diced fresh cranberries, and instead of rolling them in a cinnamon-sugar, I topped them with homemade candied orange peel.
One thing I (re-)learned the hard way when making these and other cookies is that how successfully you cream the butter determines how much dough you end up producing. I rarely see a qualitative difference when I cream the butter superbly versus when I only beat it a little bit, but if you beat the butter, sugar, and liquids for a combined total of at least 7-ish minutes, you could end up with 9 extra cookies.
cranberry orange cookies with candied orange peel
makes four dozen small (2 tsp) cookies, or one dozen large (3 Tbsp) cookies
candied orange peel (for one large orange)
335 g water
300 g granulated sugar, plus an extra half cup of sugar for coating
peel of one large orange, including pith
350 g all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1 c butter, softened and at room temperature
300 g granulated sugar
2 eggs (~104 g total)
zest of 1/2 of a large orange
1 tsp Cointreau or Grand Marnier
candied orange peel, cut into 12 – 48 small pieces
Do-ahead: Make the candied orange peels. They dry overnight and can be kept for up to 10 days in a container after dried.
Make the candied orange peel
Combine the sugar and water in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil.
Peel the orange and cut the rind into strips, about half an inch or a centimeter wide.
Add the orange peel to the boiling syrup and reduce the heat to a simmer.
Let simmer for about 10 – 15 minutes, until the peel is tender.
Drain the peel and toss with extra sugar on a cookie sheet. Let cool and dry on a sheet of aluminum foil, uncovered, overnight.
Keep candied peel in an airtight container at room temperature.
Make the cookies
Preheat oven to 350 F/190 C and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt, cream of tartar, and baking soda.
In a large bowl or stand mixer, cream the butter and granulated sugar until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary.
Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat for about 2-3 minutes after each until well combined. After both eggs are added, keep beating for a few minutes until fluffy.
Beat in the zest and liqueur.
In 2-3 batches, beat in the flour mixture.
Finally, fold in the dried and diced fresh cranberries, and beat until dough is uniform.
Using a small (2 tsp) or large (3 Tbsp) cookie scoop, or a spoon, scoop the dough onto the baking sheets, and space the cookies about 2-3 inches apart. You’ll have one dozen small cookies on each sheet.
Top the cookies with candied orange peel and sprinkle with sugar. Alternately, when scooping the dough, drop it into a bowl of sugar and press down lightly on the back with your pointer and middle fingers to form a disc coated in sugar on the bottom, then lift the dough out and place on the cookie sheet, sugared side facing up. Press a piece of the candied orange into the center.
If you have extra dough after 2 cookie sheets are full, loosely cover it in plastic wrap and let chill in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Bake for 12 – 15 minutes, until just beginning to turn golden or bronze on the edges.
Remove from the oven, let cool in the cookie sheets for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling, and continue baking the rest of the dough.
Happy merry, to you and your kinfolks,
The Endlessly Humble Saint Nick-Claus