Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Orange Complements Chocolate In These Cookies


One of the pleasures of being a baker is spending time paging through cookbooks and surfing online on cooking sites to find ideas and recipes. Many experienced cooks then make little changes to the recipes they find to make the recipe their own. The important thing with baking recipes is to keep the proportions very close to or exactly like those in the recipe since baking is really chemistry and the right proportion of leaveners and salt and liquids to starches is important to avoid baked bricks or items that run all over the pan. An easy change is to swap out flavorings. Often you can jazz up a recipe by just exchanging almond extract for vanilla or coconut extract instead of lemon extract. Citrus zest...the colored part of the skin that has lots of essential oils...is another way of perking up a baked good.

These cookies are ones I found online at bettycrocker.com. They were called the Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie and I was drawn to them because they make a soft cookie and that's the kind that Sweetie likes. I wasn't feeling like having nuts in them and I had a beautiful orange sitting on the window sill almost begging to be used, so I took out the nuts and added orange zest since I think that orange and chocolate is a great pairing. You may get a few less cookies without the nuts, or you can add in 1 cup chopped nuts of your choice as well as the orange zest, but these were really nice just the way I made them...soft, a little cakey in the center, crisp at the outer edges and truly delicious.

Because the garden continues to demand attention, today I planted some sprouted seeds of blue morning glories into pots. I had saved the seeds last fall from the plants that grew and twined around the tomatoes and the beans on the netting. They seem pretty vigorous so I hope to get enough plants to set out around this year's veggie seedlings in the next week or so. Hope you are thinking of growing something too. It's a great way to honor the coming of spring and having the mindfulness to keep plants going is a handy skill to develop. If you plant flowers you'll get something beautiful to make you smile and if you plant veggies, herbs or fruits you get the added bonus of something to eat.

Betty's Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies
a variation of a recipe found at bettycrocker.com

3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Make sure you have a couple of baking sheets/cookie sheets
.
In a large bowl, cream the sugars and the butter. Add the vanilla and egg. Mix thoroughly. Add the flour, baking soda, salt and orange zest. Stir until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Drop by generous 1 tablespoon dollops onto an ungreased baking sheet/cookie sheet, spacing 2 inches apart.

Bake 8 - 10 minutes until light brown. The center will be soft. Cool slightly on the pan, then transfer with a spatula to a cooling rack and finish cooling. Store in an airtight container.


Makes about 48 cookies.

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