Monday, January 2, 2012

Melting Moments:Modern Baker Challenge

Yesterday seemed like the perfect day to bake cookies.  It was sunny with a few big puffy clouds outside and not too cold.  All the gingerbread men were gone, and since I missed out on most of my holiday cookie baking due to our move, I was not all baked out.

When I was at Whole Foods this week I picked up a plump, organic navel orange.  I love this time of year when the citrus fruit from Florida begins filling the supermarket bins.  I was searching for a cookie recipe to try & noticed that the recipe for Melting Moments from Nick Malgieri's book The Modern Baker, called for lots of orange zest.  This was one of my picks for The Modern Baker Challenge,  so I zipped back over to Whole Foods yesterday and got me another orange so I could try out this recipe.

The first step in the recipe calls to beat together 1 cup confectioners' sugar and one stick of unsalted butter.  I was already a bit hungry and craving something sweet, so when I saw the sugar and butter coming together in the mixer bowl, all I could think of was buttercream frosting, and had a strong urge to stick my finger down in the bowl to sample some of it.   I was good though, and resisted.
This recipe is kind of unusual in that it calls for lots of cornstarch, 3/4 cup worth.  I have made another cookie recipe before and it calls for a lot of cornstarch too, and sometimes it seems like I can taste the cornstarch and I don't like that, so I wondered if these cookies would be the same.

For the first sheet of cookies, I slid a small amount of dough off of a spoon with my finger onto the parchment sheet (since I don't have a tiny cookies scoop).  The first finished batch of cookies came out sort of irregular in shape, though, so on the remaining sheets of cookies,  I rolled balls of dough between my hands to make my rounded teaspoons.  The finished cookies came out much rounder that way.  I baked my cookies for 19 minutes and only one sheet at a time and I got exactly 48 cookies.
These cookies baked up firm with a very assertive orange flavor from the orange zest and orange extract.  I don't know that they melt in your mouth, like I thought the name implied, but they are very good.  I think these would be a good cookie to make at Christmas time to complement all the other goodies.

Before you bake the cookies you're supposed to make a crisscross design on top with a fork, but the pattern didn't show up very well on my finished cookies.  I tried flattening the cookies more, but the pattern still wasn't very visible.  I wanted to add a bit of pizzazz to the cookies, so since chocolate goes well with orange, I decided to melt some semi-sweet chocolate chips and drizzle the melted chocolate over the cookies.
There, that's much better!  You couldn't taste the chocolate much since the drizzle is so thin, but they sure looked prettier.  I think I'll have to drizzle more chocolate on next time.  Hubby and I are really enjoying these cookies.  Since they're small, its kind of hard to eat just one, and they are wonderful with milk or hot tea.

We are enjoying the cookies, bars and biscotti section of NM's book, so I'll definitely be on to the next recipe as soon as we're finished with our Melting Moments:)

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  1. These sound delicious and I will absolutely be trying the drizzled chocolate trick! I love the chocolate-orange combination. Not sure I'm quite ready to bake cookies again yet....I must've missed you mentioning moving...did you move far? Glad you're back to baking again! :)

  2. Hi Abby,
    We didn't move too far, just 4 or 5 miles. Instead of renting, now we own a home here, which is nice.

  3. Mel, your cookies look great! I'm looking forward to trying these. Although I've decided I need to blog some of the ones I've already made before I bake more.

  4. Gorgeous cookies! Love the chocolate drizzles on top.

  5. Oooh Mel, they look yum! I've just bought NM's Bake! - Modern Baker is now out of print. Love his recipes!

  6. Cookies are the thing I've been missing since the holidays too. These sound delicious. Love the chocolate drizzle on top.

  7. They look very pretty with their are very good at drizzling. Looking forward to these!