Friday, May 20, 2005

SHF #8: Very Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have not been baking enough cookies lately. And cookies are one of my favorite things to bake! They travel well and can be subject to endless variations - even within one batch of dough. Even so, for this month's Sugar High Friday, with an end-of-winter citrus theme chosen by Alice, I had to think long and hard before deciding to bake cookies. Part of the reason for this is that, once again, IMBB is hot on the heels of SHF and the two themes kept melding in my brain.
But back to the cookies.
I couldn't quite decide on the cookie recipe I wanted to use. I almost made a ginger-molasses cookie, then the temperature skyrocketed here in LA and I wanted something lighter. I considered making a cardamom cookie. Then I found a bag of chocolate chips just begging to use used. And, of course, I had to incorporate some kind of citrus!
The citrus part was easy, since I have lemon, orange and lime trees in my yard. I decided that orange would go best with the chocolate chips. I threw a bit of everything into the bowl and out came some amazing cookies. When they are fresh from the oven they are crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside and have a great orange flavor. The molasses, cardamom and cinnamon enhance the orange and don't really assert themselves individually, creating a great blend. I don't often use shortening to make cookies, but I had some Earth Balance in the fridge already. In this instance I was really pleased with the way that there wasn't a buttery flavor to compete with the orange.
My dough was a bit crumbly, but very easy to work with. I formed it into balls by hand. This makes a small batch because I didn't want to be tempted by so many cookies - good thing, too, as I ate almost half straight out of the oven! You can easily double the recipe, though.

Very Orange Chocolate Chip cookies

1 cup flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
¼ tsp cardamom
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ cup shortening
¾ cup turbinado sugar
1 tbsp molasses
½ tsp vanilla
1 tbsp orange zest
1 egg
1/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F.
Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cardamom and cinnamon.
Cream together shortening and sugar. Add in molasses, vanilla orange zest and egg. Beat until well combined and light.
Add flour mixture to egg mixture and stir until just combined. Add chocolate chips.
Form cookies into tablespoon sized balls. Flatten before baking for a crisper cookie, or leave as a ball for a puffier cookie.
Bake, in a preheated oven, at 350F for 11-12 minutes, until very slightly browned at the edges.
Let rest on cookie sheet for 1-2 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack.
Makes 1½ dozen