Saturday, December 13, 2008

That's Good Enough For Me

One of the few holiday activities I have done this year is bake. I tried a new chocolate chip cookie recipe for a mini-road trip, made a carrot cake for Eid, and and ear-marked about two dozen desserts I want to try for Christmas. I like to tinker with recipes, but can rarely justify it.

I finally had a reason to experiment this week. I wanted to send orange-cranberry cookies to Anami and Joe, and the original recipe wouldn't do. I got the recipe from Evil Ducky, who got it from the internet. The first time she shared them I shoved as many into my gaping maw as I politely could, then silently wished for many more. I made my own batch a few weeks ago with dissimialr results. The flavor was awesome, but my cookies spread out and were more crispy than tender. On top of this, Joey is allergic to eggs, a staple of about every baked good on the face of the planet.

I began by halving the recipe, because I didn't want to waste too much sugar and butter on a potential failure. My taste is along the lines of there can never be enough cranberries, so I increased them by 50%. I also threw in more walnuts to give it better crunch. Then I was stumped. I knew egg replacer was an option, but I didn't know where to buy it. I usually decrease the butter to reduce spread, but with so many nuts and berries I really needed that batter to hold it together. So, I hit the books. Last week I got stood up at Barnes & Noble, so I perused the cookbooks to make the evening less of a waste. That's when I discovered Shirley Corriher. Her explanations about why recipes succeed or fail made sense, and I incorporated her teachings. I replaced the egg with more orange juice for liquid compensation, used cake flour rather than all-purpose for less gluten, and increased the brown to white sugar ratio to absorb more moisture upon standing. I would have used ghee instead of butter to reduce spread, but I didn't have any. It's not something I just have sitting around, OK? I chilled the batter for 24 hours and kept it in the fridge between spooning it onto baking sheets to help them keep their shape. I made them smaller than usual, because I imagined Joe would have them with tea. Hey, it made sense to me.

Ta daaa!

Cream 1/2 cup softened butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and 1/4 cup white sugar together till smooth. Add 2 1/2 tablespoons orange juice and 1/2 teaspoon orange zest. In a separate bowl combine 1 1/4 cup cake flour, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda and 1/4 teaspoon salt; stir into the orange mixture. Mix in 1 1/2 cups chopped, fresh cranberries and 1/3 cup chopped walnuts. Bake on ungreased cookie sheets for 12 minutes at 375 F, until the edges are golden. Let them continue to bake on the sheet for a few minutes, then remove and cool on wire racks. In a small bowl, mix together 1/4 teaspoon orange zest, 1 1/2 tablespoons orange juice, and 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar until smooth. Spread over cooled cookies. Makes 32 to 36.


EvilDucky77 said...

those look fab! is the taste similar to the original?

Anonymous said...

gosh that looks tasty!! i'm drooling over the picture. :) --anami

Joe Blaylock said...

OMG! Those look scrumptious!

And the work to make it eggless is super sweet of you. I can hardly wait to try them. :)

Danger said...

Evil Ducky- You'll have to make a batch to refresh my taste buds.