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Very Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have not been baking enough cookies lately. And cookies are one of my favorite things to bake! They travel well and can be subject to endless variations – even within one batch of dough. Even so, for this month’s Sugar High Friday, with an end-of-winter citrus theme chosen by Alice, I had to think long and hard before deciding to bake cookies. Part of the reason for this is that, once again, IMBB is hot on the heels of SHF and the two themes kept melding in my brain.
But back to the cookies.

I couldn’t quite decide on the cookie recipe I wanted to use. I almost made a ginger-molasses cookie, then the temperature skyrocketed here in LA and I wanted something lighter. I considered making a cardamom cookie. Then I found a bag of chocolate chips just begging to use used. And, of course, I had to incorporate some kind of citrus!

The citrus part was easy, since I have lemon, orange and lime trees in my yard. I decided that orange would go best with the chocolate chips. I threw a bit of everything into the bowl and out came some amazing cookies. When they are fresh from the oven they are crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside and have a great orange flavor. The molasses, cardamom and cinnamon enhance the orange and don’t really assert themselves individually, creating a great blend. I don’t often use shortening to make cookies, but I had some Earth Balance in the fridge already. In this instance I was really pleased with the way that there wasn’t a buttery flavor to compete with the orange.

My dough was a bit crumbly, but very easy to work with. I formed it into balls by hand. This makes a small batch because I didn’t want to be tempted by so many cookies – good thing, too, as I ate almost half straight out of the oven! You can easily double the recipe, though.

Very Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup all purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
¼ tsp cardamom
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ cup shortening
¾ cup turbinado sugar
1 tbsp molasses
½ tsp vanilla
1 tbsp orange zest
1 egg
1/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F.
Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cardamom and cinnamon.
Cream together shortening and sugar. Add in molasses, vanilla orange zest and egg. Beat until well combined and light.
Add flour mixture to egg mixture and stir until just combined. Add chocolate chips.
Form cookies into tablespoon sized balls. Flatten before baking for a crisper cookie, or leave as a ball for a puffier cookie.
Bake, in a preheated oven, at 350F for 11-12 minutes, until very slightly browned at the edges.
Let rest on cookie sheet for 1-2 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack.
Makes 1½ dozen

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  • Jennifer
    May 20, 2005

    Nicole, these cookies sound like the perfect start to spring!

    I too have the problem of IMBB and SHF melding…I found myself thinking of orange jello…from a box. Because I’m THAT lazy these days. 😉

  • cookie jill
    May 20, 2005

    This heat is crazy! Very brave of you to go into the kitchen…

    I’m striking until talks regarding natures heat come to some agreement.

    Do we want coolness? Yes. when do we want it? NOW!

  • Nic
    May 20, 2005

    Jennifer – You have no idea how many times orange jello crossed my mind!

    Jill – I agree about keeping the heat down. On the plus side, bread will proof much faster in a hot kitchen. =)

  • chronicler
    May 20, 2005

    Oh my heck! has it been too hot here in SoCal? first seattle’s rain and now palm springs’ heat!

    I love orange and chocolate together, and would never have thought of mixing them in a chocolate chip cookie. When, or if, it cools off I’m baking a batch!

  • Dawna
    May 21, 2005

    Nic, have you ever tried adding ground coriander seed to your chocolate chip cookies? I make one like that, that also uses orange extract instead of vanilla. They’re quite addictive! But, now I must try making yours, as I like the idea of molasses in there, and I’m a huge fan of cardamom, too.

  • Nic
    May 21, 2005

    Chronicler – I agree that it’s been too hot. It’ll have to get hotter before I can completely resist the siren song of my kitchen, though!

    Dawna – I’ve never put coriander into chocolate chip cookies, but I love it in banana bread. It would probably go well in these or other cookies with citrus.

  • Alice
    May 21, 2005

    Nic, I’m so glad you went with these cookies over orange jello! 😉 Anyway, these sound scrumptious…I would have never thought to add orange to the old standard chocolate chip cookies, but now that you’ve done it…I’m going to have to give it a try myself!

  • pinkcocoa
    May 21, 2005

    hey Nic
    I loveeeee choc chip cookies, and even better with a orangy ting in it!

  • Nic
    May 22, 2005

    Alice and Pinkcocoa – I hope you both get the try this. I have to admit that orange and chocolate, while I good combination, is not always my favorite. These won me over in two bites. I know you’ll love them!

  • emily
    May 23, 2005

    Your using the words orange, chocolate and cookies in a sentace is making me drool! Three of my favourite things combined….I’m sad that I didn’t think of it first. Its nice to see that chocolate chip cookies are finally getting the recognition they deserve!

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  • Melanie
    January 26, 2009

    I made this recipe over the weekend, and its crazy good, but my friends and I agree that its not very orange. Next time I make it, I’m gonna try using some orange extract instead of the vanilla.

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