Yes, I know.
I have not been blogging at my old pace. And now that I’m baking at my old pace again (sort of), I find myself revisiting a lot of old favorites. They are favorites for a reason, of course, and this winter, I’ve been looking for comfort and security in my baking adventures. Sounds lame, I know, but so it goes.
I did try a new banana muffin recipe. It had an oat crumble on top, which I always love, and they sure looked pretty coming out of the oven.
They were vile.
Nathaniel and I each ate one, and with his immediate agreement, I pitched the rest. I don’t know what happened, but they were just nasty. It wasn’t even worth licking the oat crumble off the top.
I made up for it with some familiar favorites. Chocolate Cupcake Muffins, Meyer Lemon Blood Orange Poppy Muffins, Meyer Lemon Poppy Muffins, Pumpkin Cinnamon Muffins, and piles of cookies, not just for Christmas, but also to warm the kids up as the temperature has been preposterously low as of late.
And then it was time for something new.
Orange Crinkle Cookies sounded pretty good, but Blood Orange Crinkle Cookies sounded more daring, especially when I decided it would be worth skipping the powdered sugar coating to experiment with one of the citrus sugars my friend Scratchy sent me before the holidays. There are two of them, and I invested quite a bit of time tasting one, then the other, then the first again, then the second again, then … then it got silly and I was just eating sugar. I finally settled on the grapefruit hibiscus sugar (after yet another tasting), and got to work.
These were ridiculously easy to make. I wasn’t in the mood for dough-chilling, and I was nervous they’d get sticky and I’d be forced into it, but nope! They rolled up nicely, enjoyed their spin in the sugar bowl, and baked beautifully. I changed up the recipe here and there, too, and ended up with magic. Juliet, the fussiest of all, devoured them, and Dave, who prefers his flavors straightforward and classic, suggested I photograph them quickly before he ate them all. Ding-ding-ding! We have a winner.
Some came out a little more crisp than others, and all of them have a delicate citrus tang that mellows perfectly with their sweetness. Dave says that when you finish it, you almost get a little candy taste in your mouth afterwards, and I agree. I did add a little more flavor than the original recipe called for, and I used some of the more interesting ingredients I have around, but you could make these with regular oranges and plain old sugar and I think they’d still be wonderful.
I’m still baking healthy, and I’ll go back to trying out new recipes soon. I have my eye on a few, so don’t give up on me! I’ll be back with more experiments and adventures, and modifications to old favorites. In the meantime, eat cookies.
BLOOD ORANGE CRINKLE COOKIES RECIPE
(adapted from Straight to the Hips, Baby)
yields about 30-35 cookies
1 1/2 cups whole wheat white flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (extract is fine)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla powder (or just add a little more extract; I was experimenting)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon blood orange zest (2 small blood oranges)
1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon blood orange juice
1/3 cup grapefruit hibiscus sugar (or any sugar of your choosing, from plain to fancy)
Heat oven to 350, and line a couple of baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
Whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Using a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Lower the speed, and mix in the vanillas, egg, zest, and juice. Once they’re combined, mix on high speed again for a minute.
With the mixer on low, gradually add the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. I always do the last few spins with a spatula.
Pour the rolling sugar into a small bowl. Measure out heaping teaspoons of the batter and roll them into balls, then give them a spin in the sugar. Place them on the baking sheet, leaving room for them to spread.
Bake for 10-13 minutes, until the bottoms have just begun to brown. Mine didn’t get that super cracked look on top, but they did get crinkly!
Let cool on the baking sheet for at least 5 minutes, then move to a wire rack. I have no idea how long they last because we keep eating them!