Sunday, April 25, 2010

Orange and Chocolate in a Cookie

The siren song of the garden has been drawing me out of doors, plus Sweetie and I celebrated a big anniversary this week (no, not the 50th! ...that one will require fireworks or something), plus clinic, so not much of interest has been going on in the kitchen lately. The exception is a bread I baked this week which will soon be revealed on the Bread Baker's Dog and the second exception are these cookies.

The other evening I made Orange Chicken with Mustard (which has been blogged about in its lemon and orange variations) and I grated way too much orange zest to use in that dish. I saved it because God punishes people who waste good things like fresh orange zest.

You probably think that I'm all organized and always know what I'm going to make or bake, good old Elle the competent one. Wrong! Some days I forget to brush my teeth. Others I forget to eat lunch. Sometimes I even put out butter to soften for baking but forget to bake anything...or don't know exactly what I want to bake.

These cookies were the result of such an experience. I knew I had butter, eggs and buttermilk. All were put out to soften/warm for baking but then the garden took over followed by extreme fatigue. Who knew that an urn full of potting soil and a rose bush could weigh so much? Same for bags of potting soil that needed moving.

I got my stairmaster workout by transfering the veggie flats from the sunspace to the deck for watering and sunbathing, which requires going up and down quite a few steps quite a few times. We won't even talk about the weeding, hauling pulled weeds to the compost area or green bin, more weeding, more hauling. The end result was no baking that day. Used the buttermilk the next day for the bread. Tried again with the re-chilled butter the following day. Then realized I didn't know what I wanted to make with it. See? I can be pretty disorganized.

Finally decided that I wanted to make chocolate chip cookies. That may have had something to do with a few bloggers like Lynn of Cookie Baker Lynn, Peabody of Culinary Concoctions by Peabody and the sweet blogger at Sinful Southern Sweets who have been making variants of chocolate chip cookies recently. It may have been because the idea of cc cookies with orange somehow sounded so appealing knowing that I had leftover orange zest waiting.

Whatever the reason, that's where the softened butter went, along with sugars, an egg, flours (including barley flour!) and both baking soda and apple cider vinegar. I used all the rest of the orange zest, which was more than a tablespoon, but a tablespoon would be sufficent to get that orange grove flavor and fragrance that goes so well with dark chocolate. I added chopped walnuts because I love 'em in cookies.

We have a picnic coming up at the end of the week. These cookies will be great picinic food...if there are any left! They are full flavored, crispy but with a soft middle, full of chocolate chips and the chocoalte is well balanced with the orange. Yummy!

Orange - Chocolate Chip Cookies
based on a recipe from King Arthur Flour website Makes about 33 cookies

¼ cup (1/2 stick, 2 oz.) unsalted butter
½ cup vegetable oil
(Note: I used 1 ¾ sticks of butter instead …it was softened, twice)
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon orange zest
3//4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 cup whole barley flour (If no barley flour available, substitute unbleached all-purpose flour)
1 cup whole wheat flour, traditional or white whole wheat flour (I used ½ cup whole wheat and ½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour)
2 2/3 cups (16 oz) semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment or a silicon baking mat) two baking sheets.

In a large bowl, beat together the butter, sugars, vanilla, orange zest, and salt until smooth.

Beat in the egg to combine. Beat in the cider vinegar. Beat in the baking soda and baking powder and as soon as they are beaten in add the barley flour and whole wheat flour, combine thoroughly, then add the chocolate chips. It looks like too many chips, but don’t worry. If using walnuts, add at the same time as the chocolate chips.

Drop the dough, by tablespoonfuls, onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 15 – 17 minutes, until the cookies are an even golden brown, without any hint of softness in the center. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.


  1. I'm glad someone else lives with periodic competence issues!!! I sometimes do that "ingredients on the counter - hours later, oops, oh, yeah, I was baking" thing.

    Heh. God punishes people who waste zest. I knew there was an Eighth Deadly Sin.

  2. That totally sounds like the way my brain works (or doesn't). I'm always up for another chocolate chip cookie recipe. Add in orange zest and my husband is your friend forever.