Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Chocolate Orange Cranberry Cookies

This cookie combines 3 of my favorite baking ingredients: chocolate, citrus zest, and cranberries.  I whipped these up for my mom and the wonderful nurses she works with.  I used orange flavored cranberries to enhance the orange flavor and used semi-sweet chocolate chips to balance out the sweetness of the cranberries.

Chocolate Orange Cranberry Cookies
Makes 3 1/2 - 4 dozen cookies
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. Using an electric or stand mixer, cream together melted butter and sugars. Mix in the eggs, stirring them in one at a time, then add the vanilla and orange zest.
  4. Stir in the flour mixture, then the dried cranberries and chocolate chips.
  5. Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheet leaving about 2 to 3-inches between cookies to allow for spread.
  6. Bake for 9-11 minutes, until cookies are set at the edges and tops are slightly cracked looking. Cool on baking sheet for 5-10 minutes, until firm enough to transfer to a cooling rack.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Lemon Blueberry Scones

My sister took me to this great place in the city for brunch a few weeks ago that had the most wonderful food.  We started our meal with blood orange scones served with lavender honey.  They were delicious beyond description.  Ever since our brunch date I've been printing out scone recipes to try and started with this one.  I love the combination of lemon and blueberry.  The tart clean flavor of lemon and the sweet blueberry flavor just compliment each other in a way that screams SUMMER!  You can drizzle them with the glaze recipe below (recommended if serving them within 1 day or they can get a little soggy), honey, or butter (not that they need it).  If you're serving these for a brunch of your own, try tripling the glaze recipe and let guests drizzle on as much as they'd like while eating.

Lemon Blueberry Scones
Makes 8 scones
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons of butter, chilled
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries (do NOT thaw) 
  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. 
  3. Cut butter into 6-8 chunks and add to flour mixture, tossing to coat. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until mixture is sandy and butter is well distributed, with no pieces larger than a pea.
  4. Add in milk, lemon juice and lemon zest and stir until dough comes together. If dough is too wet, add an additional tablespoon of flour to the dough.
  5. Either keeping the dough in your mixing bowl, or turning it out onto a lightly floured surface, knead dough for about 1 minute. 
  6. Here's where it gets messy.  Flatten dough and add blueberries. Knead gently for 30-60 seconds to distribute them. If you have unruly blueberries like I did, try adding half at a time or dividing the dough in half and working the dough as two separate sections.
  7. Divide dough into two balls and press each into a disc about 3/4-inch thick. Use a knife to divide each disc into quarters and place scones on prepared baking sheet.
  8. Bake for 17-22 minutes, until scones are golden brown. 
Lemon Glaze
  •  1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  1.  Whisk glaze ingredients together until smooth, then drizzle over still-warm scones before serving.