Friday, 14 December 2007

'Tis the season... Part II

Posted by Bonita


What's more Christmasy than a plate or cookies? Perhaps several plates of cookies, which seemed to be the dilemma at my house these past two weeks as I got lost in the throes of holiday baking. I always like to give out cookies to my friends and the lovely admin ladies of my Department during the holiday season, so my tiny little kitchen in London turned into a full-on Cookie Workshop all last week.


I got a variety of different cookies going on this year. Naturally on the list were biscotti, since my Italian friends always look forward to them now. I made three different biscotti this year (pictured above - from top to bottom): Cranberry Pistachio, Cinnamon Mocha and Chocolate, Cherry and Almond. I also just realised that the three biscotti juxtaposed together creates a lovely brown colour palette, with the progressive shades of brown!


There were also several varieties of drop cookies, probably one of the simplest cookies to make: Ginger, Orange White Chocolate Chip, and Cranberry Coconut Oatmeal. The Ginger Cookies is actually a recipe from my brother, which he got off of a friend back in high school. These cookies are absolutely delicious and reminds me of everything Christmas with all the different spices going on. If you underbake them a little, they have a chewy tenderness to them, whereas if you leave them for an extra minute or two, these cookies turn into wonderful Gingersnaps. The Orange White Chocolate Chip was a new recipe I tried out (again wanting to try a variation on the popular but worn-out Chocolate Chip Cookie. The flavour of this beyond words. The orange-flavour from the zest packs a delightful punch to the cookie without being overpowering, and the white chocolate just adds that nice hint of sweetness that surprisingly works well with the orange. Next time, I think I'll try this recipe with dark chocolate chips and see how that will turn out!


I also made Coconut Macaroons. I was having cravings for them three weekends ago while writing papers and studying for midterms, but I don't like the store-bought ones because they are so sickeningly sweet. This recipe, however, is divine (as long as you use unsweetened coconut). The taste really reminded me of some that I had as a kid without having that cloying sweetness to it. Dipping the macaroons in semi-sweet chocolate also helps to cut the sweetness, and works really well with the cookie. Be warned though, these macaroons are highly addictive!


What is Christmas without the classic Shortbread? I absolutely adore the recipe my old roommate and friend, Nicole, gave me last year. It produces a deliciously buttery, decadent, melt-in-your mouth shortbread that has all my friends coming to me for more. The sprinkling of sugar on top make these lovely cookies even more irresistible!


There is also another classic Christmas cookie: the Sugar Cookie. What I love about the Sugar Cookie, besides it lovely buttery and vanilla flavour, is the fact that it makes anyone a kid again. The process of rolling out the dough, stamping out my shapes and decorating the cookies to my own liking is so therapeutic, and I quickly become lost in childhood memories of standing in the kitchen with my own mom as she stamped out cookies and I decorated them (or more likely stood around sprinkling a few candies and what not on the cookies, and then proceeded to munch on the rest).

So yes, aside from papers and finals, holiday baking has certainly been keeping me busy as well. In a few days, I'll need to start my holiday baking all over again for my family and friends back home! My next post will be about the Fruitcake I made, and wait till you see my new kitchen toy (just in time for Christmas! :D)!!!

Orange White Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes about 30
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line your baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and the sugar with an electric mixer until light. Beat in egg, vanilla and orange zest and mix until fluffy.
  4. Gradually add in the flour mixture, stirring only until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  5. Drop the dough by rounded tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheets and bake for 9-11 minutes, or until the edges are very lightly browned.
  6. Cool for 3-4 minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

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