Cranberry-Orange Bliss

22 12 2008

So…I’m quietly surfing blogs, trying to catch up while I’m on a 2 week break from school…and I run across these incredible cookies on one website, and chase it back to the original post. OMGosh these are good.  I’ll figure out the problem with the consistency sooner or later.  The flavor is worth the work!  And when I figure it out, I’ll share. The recipe…the cookies are very difficult to share.


Fresh Cranberry Orange Cookies

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
1/4 c. brown sugar, packed
1 c. granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tsp grated orange zest
juice of 1/2 orange
1 tsp vanilla
1 c. chopped fresh cranberries (I used a food processor and pulsed about 8-10 times)

-Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment.
-In medium bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt, and whisk; set aside.
-In bowl of stand mixer, combine butter and sugars and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
-Add yolk and beat until fully incorporated.
-Add orange juice, then zest and vanilla and beat until fully incorporated.
-Turn mixer to low speed, add flour mixture and beat until just incorporated.
-Remove bowl from mixer, stir in cranberries, and place 1 Tbsp rounds of dough onto cookie sheets.
-Place cookies in the oven and bake, switching baking sheet positions half way through baking time,  for 12-14 minutes (they should not brown)
-Remove from oven and let cool on pans completely, about 10-15 minutes.

Makes about 18 very generous Tbsp-sized cookies
** I got 40 Tbsp sized cookies, but then, mine flopped.

I’m not sure what went wrong. My cookies look so adorable on the parchment, but they flattened like unleavened bread.  What did I do differently…?  I used frozen fresh cranberries…might have added additional moisture?  I chopped them frozen, and mixed them with the OJ…  Now, oranges are subjective.  What kind of orange are you juicing?  A small blood orange?  Or a big CA grown Valencia?  I used a valencia…lots and lots of juice.  And then…I used baking powder instead of baking soda. I don’t think that would make that much difference.  I think it’s more along the lines of the moisture from the fruits.  Next time I’ll add an extra 1/4 cup of flour and test it, then add another 1/4 cup as needed to get a stand-up cookie!

***Post edited 12/26/08

Ok, we know what the problem was now.  1/2 CUP of butter does NOT equal 1/2  POUND.  No wonder those cookies were so rich and yummy! LOL!  That was problem #1; 2nd – soda was the ingredient, I used baking powder.  Total brain fade there.  #3 – Half an orange can be a little or a LOT of juice.  I think 2 Tbsp. is a better call on the quantity there.  My oranges yielded a full 4 oz. of juice.  That made for a big difference in how the cookies behave.  When I used 2 Tbsp. of juice with the soda and 1/2 cup of butter, we had lovely cookies!

Congratulations. You have witnessed a full flop on my part.  If you tell, I’ll have to hunt you down and feed you cookies ’til you pop!

WW~Rewind to Classes 10 and 12- Stock and Hollandaise

22 12 2008

I joined Whisk Wednesdays just about the time they were finishing stocks and since it was July, I didn’t worry about trying to catch up right then.  I knew the long foggy, and rainy days of winter would be back soon enough.  Sure enough…they’re here. When I woke up yesterday, I knew it was a perfect day for roasting bones and making brown stock.  Veal bones still elude me, and I’ll be special ordering some for making stock for the duckling we’ll be cooking the first week of January.  This was a good time to work on a basic brown stock, before investing a small fortune in veal bones.  I picked up 3 packages of beefy bones from the frozen meat counter (the only way…sadly…to acquire bones), one was particularly “knuckly,” lots of good cartilage and natural gelatin.  I roasted them at 475º initially, but really felt it was too hot, and reduced the heat to 425º.  After about 90 minutes, we had lovely golden brown bones, and lots of fat had cooked off.  I popped the sizzling bones into a kettle of cold water, added 2 onions, 3 small carrots, tomato paste and a bouquet garni to the kettle.  I brought it to a boil, reduced the heat to a low simmer and left it alone for several hours.  I probably left it too long, but a carrot was still al dente when I took it off the heat.  I skimmed a lot of fat off and did a pretty good job, there wasn’t all that much left to take off when it was cooled.  Now we have a few quarts of lovely brown broth to freeze.beef-stock2

*Tip* When only using a small amount of tomato paste from a container, measure 1 tablespoon sized dollops onto a foil lined container.  Freeze and pop into a zip-lock bag to save.

I’ve made hollandaise from scratch according to Joy of Cooking in the past, and I’ve made blender hollandaise, and I’ve made instant (blech) hollandaise.   I hadn’t made hollandaise according to Le Cordon Bleu hefore.  This one had me going just a little bit.  Tempering the eggs made me incredibly nervous…and I don’t know if I did it right or not, but I got a lovely bright yellow (sorry, my chickens have really YELLOW, almost orange yolks) sauce in the end.  I got kind of tired and went to work on too much butter at one time, but adding the lemon juice brought it back together just fine, and adding warm water a bit at a time as well as beating the sauce over the hot water of the poaching egg did great to bring it to a happy finish for plating.  Unfortunately, you have to take my word for it this time.  I forgot to take pictures.  This time.  There’s a good chance we’ll have poached eggs (I’m starting to get the hang of that one!!) again sometime soon. With hollandaise.