Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

This is a recipe I adapted from an oatmeal cookie recipe on Weightwatchers.com.  Instead of the suggested raisins, I added dried cranberries and some orange zest.  They come together really fast and are easy to make  The best part is that you can eat two of them and only cost yourself 4 points!

NOTE: The recipe calls for softened butter.  If you’re like me the cookie-making urge strikes with little warning — certainly less than would be required for softening butter.  If you find yourself in this position, don’t melt the butter, it’ll completely change your cookies.  Just stick it in the microwave in a ramekin for about 15 seconds.

INGREDIENTS

  • ¾ cup flour
  • 1 ½ cups uncooked quick oats
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ cut butter, softened
  • ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 large egg white
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ tbsp fresh orange zest

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Whisk together flour, oats, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in a medium bowl. Place butter in a large bowl or in the bowl of a mixer and beat butter for a few seconds. Gradually add sugars and beat to combine.
  3. Add egg white to butter mixture and beat to combine. Add dry ingredients and beat to combine.
  4. Drop batter by tablespoonfuls onto 2 ungreased cookie sheets, leaving 2 inches between each cookie. Bake until set and golden, about 11 to 14 minutes. Remove cookies to wire racks to cool. Yields 2 cookies per serving.
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Five-Spice Ice Cream and Almond Cookies

5 Spice Ice Cream and Almond Cookies

From last night’s Chinese dinner party, here are two of the recipes that I have.  The 5 spice ice cream is really tasty and works extremely well with Darlene’s gingerbread cake — I’ll work on getting that recipe too.  The almond cookies were the also-ran of the desserts last night, but I’m actually really enjoying them today.  They practically demand that you brew some tea.  They’re very bossy cookies.

I found the recipe for the ice cream from the food network from everyone’s favorite Chinese chef, Emeril Lagasse.  Go Figure.  The almond cookies came from about.com.

Five-Spice Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 4 cups half-and-half
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1/2 vanilla bean pod, split and seeds scraped
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 8 whole egg yolks

Directions

Combine the half-and-half, five-spice, vanilla bean, vanilla seeds and salt in a nonreactive saucepan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil, then immediately remove the saucepan from the heat.

In a large bowl add the sugar and egg yolks and whisk to combine. Add the half-and-half mixture, about 1/4 cup at a time, to the beaten eggs and sugar, whisking after each addition. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl. Transfer the bowl to an ice bath and stir frequently until custard is completely cool. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.

Pour the filling into an ice cream machine and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for churning time. Remove the ice cream from the machine and transfer it to a freezer-safe container and freeze until firm, about 8 hours.

Almond Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup white sugar (can add up to 2 more tablespoons, if desired)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 30 whole, blanched almonds (one for each cookie)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

Preparation:

  1. In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter or margarine, shortening, and sugar. Add the egg and almond extract and beat until well blended. Add to the flour mixture and mix well. Note: The dough will be crumbly at this point, but don’t worry – that is what it’s supposed to be like.
  2. Use your fingers to form the mixture into a dough, and then form the dough into 2 rolls or logs that are 10 to 12 inches long. Wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours (this will make it easier to shape the dough into circles).
  3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  4. Take a log and lightly score the dough at 3/4 inch intervals so that you have 15 pieces and cut the dough. Roll each piece into a ball and place on a lightly greased cookie tray, approximately 1 1/2 inches apart. Place an almond in the center of each cookie and press down lightly. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  5. Brush each cookie lightly with beaten egg before baking. Bake for 15 minutes to 18 minutes, until golden brown. Cool and store in a sealed container.

Jasmine Shortbread Sandwiches with Grapefruit Curd

I’m not sure if I was just overly hungry over the weekend or what, but it seemed like every recipe I looked at was something I wanted to make.  The pizzas were so good and so easy that my confidence and ambition got the best of me.  These cookies are delicious, but be warned, they don’t throw together in 15 minutes.

Make the curd first because it has to be refrigerated for 4 hours.  The cookie dough itself has to spend at least an hour in the fridge after it’s made so think in terms of stages; don’t get yourself all whipped up into an impatient cookie frenzy (like I did) that you’ll have to ride out while everything cools.

They are worth the wait, though.  I promise.

Jasmine Shortbread Sandwiches with Grapefruit Curd

Adapted from recipes in Martha Stewart Living, March 2012

Ingredients

  1. 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  2. 3/4 cup of confectioners’ sugar
  3. 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  4. 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  5. coarse salt
  6. 2 tbsp ground organic jasmine tea
  7. fine sanding sugar for pressing
  8. 1/3 cup of grapefruit curd (recipe below)

Method

  1. Beat together butter and confectioners’ sugar with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until smooth, about 3 minutes.  Beat in vanilla.  Add flour, 1/2 tsp of salt, and the tea and beat on low speed until just combined (do not over mix).  Form dough into 2 disks, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 325.  Working with 1 disk at a time, roll out dough between pieces of parchment to a 1/8” thickness.  Freeze until firm, about 10 minutes.  Cut out 20 squares with a 2 3/4” square cookie cutter, then cut each in half to make 40 rectangles.  Since we don’t actually own any cookie cutters, I opted for using the round metal cap from our martini shaker.  Worked perfectly.
  3. Gently press 1 flat side of 20 rectangles in sanding sugar and arrange on a parchment lined baking sheet, sugar side up.  Bake until pale gold, 16 to 18 minutes.  Let cookies cool on a wire rack.  Repeat with remaining rectangles.
  4. Spread 1 generous teaspoon of curd onto unsugared side of cookies, then sandwich with other cookies.

Grapefruit Curd

from Martha Stewart Living, March 2012

Reducing the grapefruit juice concentrates the flavor in the curd.  You will need only part of it for the cookies, but you’ll find plenty of ways to use up the remainder.  Serve it with scones, biscuits or pancakes, for instance.

Ingredients

  1. 1 cup fresh Ruby Red grapefruit juice (from 2 grapefruits), plus 3 tbsp finely grated Ruby Red grapefruit zest.
  2. 3 large eggs plus 3 large yolks
  3. 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
  4. coarse salt
  5. 4 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and softened

Method

  1. Bring grapefruit juice to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.  REduce heat and simmer until juice is reduced by half, about 5 minutes.  Let cool.
  2. Whisk together eggs, yolks, sugar, grapefruit juice, grapefruit zest and a pinch of salt in a double boiler or a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a pot of simmering water.  Cook, whisking constantly, until thickened (6 to 7 minutes).  Remove from heat and whisk in butter, a few pieces at a time.
  3. Pour mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl set in a larger bowl filled with ice water, and stir until cool.  Cover surface of curd with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours and up to 2 days.