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Saturday, September 30th, 2006

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Orange cookies, better yet
I think I've successfully fixed several of the problems with my orange cookie recipe. Previously, the cookies turned out very caky, or very flat, and the white chips had a tendancy to pop out of the dough while baking. I made a batch of cookies tonight that had none of these problems. And man are they tasty. Fresh out of the oven, the white chips are still gooey, the cookies are just a little crunchy on top and bottom, and dense like a cookie ought to be, not light like bread. Here's tonight's recipe:

2 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp apple butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp orange extract
4 Tbsp blood orange marmalade
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c cane sugar
8 oz. white baking chips
2 c flour
1/2 tsp baking soda

Begin with soft butter (microwaved butter from the 'fridge works fine) and add the apple butter. Whisk thoroughly -- the end result should be a homogenous paste. Add in the egg, extracts, marmalade, and salt, whisk more (only to the point of incorporating the ingredients together), and blend in the sugar. The mixture ought now to be viscous but neither "thin" nor "dough". Fold in the white baking chips and mix to unsure all the chips are covered. Sift together the flour and baking soda and fold in. After some arm work you should have a mass of dough that's not especially wet but not dry and crumbly. Dry and crumbly probably meant you should use less flour.

Refridgerate the dough for 20 minutes or more; I chilled it for an hour (dinnertime). Heat an oven to 375F, position a rack near but not at the top, grease a cookie sheet, and drop balls of chilled dough onto the sheet. Bake for 9 minutes, and leave the dough in the refridgerator when it's not being formed into cookies. The cookies are done when they're just getting golden brown on their top parts. The white chips probably also will begin to bubble or simmer. Cool on a cookie rack and enjoy. While the cookies are still warm the white chips will be gooey. Mmmm....

Apple butter is a lot like apple sauce but with a lot less water. It's 100% apples, nothing more, so it's not adding fat to the recipe. But I expect that omitting the water and adding the extra Tbsp of butter made the difference in the density. Chilling the dough also makes a difference because the flour gets to hydrate, rather than letting all that valuable moisture just evaporate in the oven. Finally, the choice of white baking chip is important. I had previously used Nestle or some large-production chip and the taste is a bit ... oily, I guess. This time I tried a bag of vanHouten white baking chips. These faired much better, especially because the chips get sorta runny rather than carmelized. I suspect the melting point of these chips is lower than the ones I used before.

So, anywhere, there you have it. This is my new orange cookie recipe. Mmmm....

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