Thursday, January 14, 2010

Orange-Oatmeal-Currant Cookies

99.9% of the time I love being a blogger... if that's a word? It's a creative outlet where I can share my ideas and some of the hidden gem recipes that most of the people who read my blog might not find on their own (and by reading other blogs, I see the recipes that they find, which I might not). There are also times where I find myself trying so hard to make a recipe that it makes me crazy. This usually occurs when I find a recipe with an obscure ingredient, or a seasonal ingredient.

When I was working on my Country Challenge, I found myself spending entire Saturdays hitting all of the grocery stores in Bloomington looking for things like fresh pomegranates, figs, peaches, currants, chayote squash, heirloom tomatoes, tomatillos and sopressata (I have very clear memories of these, I'm sure there were others). I know seasonal cooking is best, but sometimes you just see a recipe and no matter what obstacles are in the way, you just have to make it.

Then there are times when you're just on a regular weekly grocery shop, not looking for anything special, and you stumble upon one of those ingredients mentioned before... and it's on sale! As I was nearing the checkout line last week, I found this little box of dried Zante Currants on sale for $1.10! I spent 3 weeks looking for fresh, and another 2 looking for dried about a year ago when I made these Fiji Rum Currant Scones.  I grabbed the box and spent the drive home remembering what recipe I had decided to make when I found currants again.

A long time ago I saw this recipe pop up in my google reader, starred it and figured I'd get to it when the currants found ME. I waited a while, but the happy ending to this story is these cookies were everything I had hoped for and more! When you read through the ingredients, you'll see so many strong, competing flavors (orange, nutmeg, currants, molasses), but they all work so well together and create a balance that is delicious. They are perfect for afternoon snack with coffee or tea, and I think I'll be saving this receipe to make next Christmas.

Note - I omitted the corn syrup because I was out, and added 1 more tbsp. of molasses. This might be why my cookies spread more than Bridgets. I also think I rolled my log a little fatter.

Orange-Oatmeal-Currant Cookies
from Tartine, by Elisabeth Pruett and Chad Robertson

Makes 80 2-inch cookies
(I got about 50 fatter cookies)

1½ cups (7 ounces) zante currants
2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
1 cup (8 ounces/16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1¼ cups (8¾ ounces) sugar
1 large whole egg
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 tablespoon blackstrap or other dark molasses
½ teaspoon salt
4 teaspoon orange zest, grated
1½ cups (5½ ounces) old-fashioned rolled oats

In a small bowl, combine the currants and warm water to cover and set aside for about 10 minutes until the currants are plumped. Drain well and set aside.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, and nutmeg into a mixing bowl and set aside.
Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light and creamy.
Slowly add the sugar and mix on medium speed until light in color and fluffy.
Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
Add the whole eggs, egg yolk, vanilla, corn syrup, molasses, salt, and orange zest and beat until well mixed. Stir in the flour mixture, currants, and oats until well incorporated.

Divide the dough into 2 equal portions.
Working on a large sheet of parchment paper, shape each portion into a log about 14 inches long and 2 inches in diameter.
Gently Press each log to give it an oval shape.
Wrap tightly in parchment paper or plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator or freezer overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick liner.

Unwrap the logs.
Using a sharp knife, slice the logs into ovals about ¼ inch thick.
Arrange the ovals on the prepared baking sheets.
Bake until the edges of the cookies are lightly browned but the centers remain pale, 7-10 minutes.
You may bake both pans at the same time, but rotate them 180 degrees at the midway point if they are not baking evenly.
Transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool.
The cookies will be soft when they cool.
They will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.


Bridget said...

I love these cookies so much! I just moved to small town with limited grocery options - I wonder if I'll be able to find dried currants now?

One thing that's interesting about Tartine's recipe is that they never use brown sugar; instead, they call for granulated sugar with a bit of molasses.

Kelly said...

Yum. I love your sentiments about blogging because they pretty much echo mine. I have to admit I've never been a huge currant fan, but in the past few years I've learned to like a lot of things I previously thought I hated. Perhaps I should be more openminded.

The Paris Food Blague said...

wow, yum, what a great idea!

Joanne said...

Ash I totally commiserate. This happens to me all the time! It seems that whenever I'm looking for something it is nowhere to be found...but then the second I don't need it anymore - BAM there it is.

These cookies definitely look like they were worth the wait though! I'm glad you found the currants :p