Sunday, December 30, 2012

Orange White Chocolate Spritz Cookies

I know what you're thinking.  Why are you posting a cookie recipe five days after Christmas?!  I know most of you are all cookie-d out, but cookies seem to be all I've got at the moment.  Lots and lots of cookies coming at you in the very near future.  

But these ones aren't just good for Christmas - and to be honest, they were made a day after Christmas, anyway - they can be little colorful New Years' cookies, too.  After all, they've got sprinkles on them.  Sprinkles upgrade any baked good to a celebration status.  This is fact.

My cousin, O., is my long-time baking buddy.  For years now we've been creaming sugar, cracking eggs and scraping batter into pans together.   So this year, I chose a cookie press for her Christmas gift.

I figured I'd probably get a shot at using it, too.  I was right.  Not that there was any selfish reasoning behind the gift-giving.  Ahem.

We made these spritz cookies the day after Christmas, using three different cookie templates: the tree, the flower and the odd squiggly shape that has no name I can think of.  The scribble?

Here's the deal with cookie presses: they work, 90% of the time.  The other 10% is an endless process of gathering failed cookie scraps and shoving them back into the cylinder to shoot out another attempt.  

But with the ones that work, you get lovely cookies in shapes that are near impossible to make by hand.  We added orange extract to ours (leftover from the DB challenge).  The orange flavor is not that noticeable when you first bite into it but it seeps onto your tongue slowly, like an ice cube melting.  I thought that there was plenty of orange taste, but apparently I'm alone on that one because everybody else said the orange was barely there, so next time, I might add half a teaspoon instead.

We dipped the tops of these in white chocolate and covered them with sprinkles.  The white chocolate hid part of the orange taste, so if you'd like something a little less sugary then either skip the chocolate or add more orange extract.  That said, you could also skip the orange extract and add other flavorings - almond (which is what the original recipe called for), vanilla, lemon etc.  

This will be the last post of the year, so while I'm here I'd just like to say thanks to those people who subscribed to my blog - I never expected to get readers at all when I started this - and of course to you, if you're reading this right now, for stopping by.  This blog is past its baby stage but is still in its toddler stage, wobbling on two legs and trying to find its feet, and your support is what helps it grow.  I'm so excited to try more recipes, get more experience and hopefully gain more readers in 2013.

Now, I'll raise an imaginary glass of wine in your direction and wish you a wonderful year ahead - Happy New Year!

Orange White Chocolate Spritz Cookies
Adapted from the Holiday Cookie Cravings eBook by Maria & Josh Lichty (of Two Peas and Their Pod)
Makes 26 cookies

Note: this recipe is halved from the original, which is why some of the measurements look odd.  With the egg, you could possibly try just using the egg yolk instead of halving it if that makes it easier.

1/2 cup (110g) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Half of a beaten egg (see Note above)
1/4 tsp orange extract (or any other flavor extract you like)
1 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp table salt
White chocolate, melted (unfortunately, I neglected to measure how much I used, but I'd say about 1 heaped cup of white chocolate chips or 200g of white chocolate)
Rainbow sprinkles

Preheat the oven to 175C/350F.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour and salt.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add the half egg and extract, beat until well incorporated.  Add the flour mixture gradually and mix until just combined.  Wrap in plastic and chill the dough - either in the fridge for 30 minutes or in the freezer for 10 minutes.

Choose your cookie press plate shape and attach it to your cookie press.  Fill the cylinder with about half of your dough.  Hold the press perpendicular to your baking sheet and squeeze the trigger - usually, the first will end up looking wonky shaped or it won't work at all.  If it's not good enough, just scrape the dough off and put it back into the bowl to reuse.  Press out cookies 1 inch apart on the baking sheet.  Keep going until you've used all the dough.

Bake cookies 6-8 minutes, or until the bottom and edges are very faintly browned.  The surface will look pale.  Remove, transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

Melt the white chocolate over a double boiler and get ready your sprinkles.  When the cookies have completely cooled, either dip the surface of the cookie into the white chocolate or spread the chocolate on with a knife (the second option was easier for us because the compound white chocolate we used was pretty thick).  Top with sprinkles and leave on the rack to cool.

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