Monday, January 23, 2012

Chocolate Cookies with Orange Sugar Edges

This post should rightly be titled "Somebody Else's Really Good Recipe That I Tweeked Just a Little." But I thought "Chocolate Cookies with Orange Sugar Edges" would get more page views.

This recipe was just barely posted on Orangette. I believe Molly Wizenberg to be a friend to chocolate. A friend to chocolate is a friend to me. I've tried several chocolate cookie recipes where your roll the chocolate into a log, and then chill, slice and bake. And they've been good. They certainly haven't languished around our house or anything. But they haven't been, to me, worth adding to my list of regulars. In fact, I tend to take issue with log cookies in general. I find that they sometimes come out a bit dry or boring (where are the chocolate chips) or just too grown up for me in general. But usually, usually the nail in the coffin is that they require foresight (the horror). Who's got that? For me, there aren't a whole lot of fancy dinner parties going on. Cookies tend to fall into the Sunday evening afterthought category. And I like them that way: quick, easy, delicious, family-friendly, and ready for some lunch boxes the next day.

This cookie, however, is totally worth a little foresight and extra effort (it's really not that much extra effort I promise). They were just phenomenal. And busting out with chocolate. Yes, I still wish I'd tried making a few as drop cookies (aka at-home mom cookies) instead of the log ones to see if there was any difference in flavor or texture from refrigerating them. I'm guessing not much. But I can make no promises.

However, as a sliced cookie I can promise you that they were worth it: pretty and sugar-crispy edged and incredibly delicious with an intense chocolate you should find, but often don't find in a chocolate cookie.

Wizenberg's instructions are, as always, careful and precise. I can't much improve on them either. Except to say that you probably don't have to be that careful and precise (skip the whole paragraph of double boiler instruction in the first paragraph and just throw the chocolate in the microwave at 20 second intervals, mixing in between). And don't sweat it if you don't have a fancy dark chocolate hanging around. I used an Aldi brand 60% and it was good. I know it would have been better with something higher quality, but the regular-guy/girl chocolate worked well too. Also, she gets a little wordy (how's that for the tea kettle calling the pot black) and sometimes says things like "Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until creamy. Slowly add the sugar, and continue to beat until the mixture is completely smooth and soft, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed." Instead of just saying, "Cream butter and sugar." Which is what lazy and slightly less popular cooks would say.

But I do have a contribution to make to these cookies. Because as I was making them, I was also eating an orange (in an only moderately successful attempt to stop myself from eating all the dough as I cooked--that dough is seriously a dream from step one and with each added ingredient thereafter--oh my).

And then I got an idea. I zested me an orange peel and mixed it with sugar and tried it on half of one of my logs. [Note: My logs look slightly obscene; or crude; or at best like large, ugly cigars. This was not intentional and hopefully will not prevent me from running from public office should I ever find myself deficient in negative media attention and thus wishing to do so.]

The funny thing about the orange sugar edged cookies was that on first bite they weren't my favorite ones. I loved the sugary, slightly salty originals. Yet the orange sugar rimmed ones were the ones that hung in my memory. They were the ones that kept me coming back for more. And maybe more (though I am not stating that for the record, mind you). They ended the night as my hands-down favorites. And at the end of the night they were the ones I was pining for when they were gone...gone...  Which was surely for the best, but still.

If you like orange, or maybe even if you're not sure you do, give these cookies a try and then roll each log (we did Wizenberg's big logs) in 1 part orange zest per about 3 parts sugar (so if you're using 6 Tbsp sugar, you'll be wanting 2 Tbsp orange zest). The measurements will be somewhat imprecise as you're throwing sugar on the counter and rubbing orange zest in. But your orange sugar should be a pretty shade of orange and it should smell nice and orange-y if you've got enough zest in there.

Here is Wizenberg's recipe. Now go forth and roll your ugly chocolate logs in something pretty and sweet and memorable. Which again, comes off sounding potentially crude, though it was not meant to be so. I see that my political life is doomed.

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