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Christmas Cookies Redux


Jaymes
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I found my 12th cookie. I was a tad skeptical at first and then it occurred to me that just a few years ago I would have been super excited over a recipe like this... so I went with it. I'm doing Johnny Iuzzini's Ginger-Curry Sugar Cookies from his new book (Sugar Rush). I haven't baked them yet but I probably need to get it done quickly or I might end up eating all of the dough. It's really good.

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It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Did I say I wasn't going to do anything this year?

Maybe because my father is around, maybe because I was chatting with the owner of my local Italian deli, who actually comes from the town I was born, so I end up promising these sweets called cartellate, fried and dipped in vincotto ( or saba). I actually purchased the Turkish version on amazon, because it's easier to find, relatively cheaper and no added sugar, like an easier to find Lebanese version. I made 2 doughs just to compare, rolled the 1st dough today and doing the 2nd tomorrow. They need to dry 1 day before being deep fried. I also made purcidd or sannachiudr, they are slightly different than struffoli. Also here 2 versions. Today I fried some purcidd, plus trimming from cartellate which got transformed into chiacchiere, not to get wasted.

I am curios to compare the different recipes I tried.

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Franci - out of curiosity which brand did you buy on Amazon?  I was rather disappointed in the ones I found in the stores locally - weren't close enough to saba for me.

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Darienne, so sorry if it feels confusing, once I'm done I will write down names under each picture, talk about different names for the same sweet and possible regional variations.

The little fried balls above, just one town next to the other are called in a different way!

The other fried pastry strips above are usually called chiacchiere (ch in Italian is pronounced k) and are prepared for carnival (and I use a different recipe) but having trimmings from the other pastries which I'm still not done, I just decided to turn them into chiacchiere

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I got the Koska Pekmezi, I already used in the past to make cookies and saba bread, it's plain no added spices.

http://www.amazon.com/Koska-Grape-Syrup-Pekmezi-400g/dp/B000LRH6UO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1419130178&sr=8-1&keywords=Pekmez

Excellent - added to list to watch for in appropriate stores.

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grumble grumble grumble


So in the interest of extra fun, the last minute addition to complete the cookie list requires candied ginger which the only store in town managed to be completely sold out of when I went yesterday. So I'm candying my own ginger today so that I can bake the #%$& cookies tomorrow...






 

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It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Today I made a biscotto from a town called Ceglie Messapica, it's a Slow Food Presidia. It is really a delicious cookie. I used fine almond flour, toasted almonds with the skin coarsely ground, sugar, honey, egg and some orange peel, I didn't have rosolio and used instead some orange water. Filled them with a traditional cherry jam and a less traditional Seville orange marmelade. Also made 1/4 with a little bit of cocoa in the dough

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Edited by Franci (log)
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Today I made a biscotto from a town called Ceglie Messapica, it's a Slow Food Presidia. It is really a delicious cookie. I used fine almond flour, toasted almonds with the skin coarsely ground, sugar, honey, egg and some orange peel, I didn't have rosolio and used instead some orange water. Filled them with a traditional cherry jam and a less traditional Seville orange marmelade. Also made 1/4 with a little bit of cocoa in the dough

Nice! Wish I'd learned about this one before I finished my baking. Pretty sure I'm not adding more at this point though.

 

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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It was 10 years I didn't make cartellate, I wanted to compare 2 recipes. It was a lot of work. These are little pastries traditional from Puglia as well. It's the same ubiquitous dough from there, same almost to the one used above for purcidd, basically flour, extra virgin olive oil and white wine with a pinch of salt.

 

cartellate00001.jpeg

 

The dough is rolled in the pasta machine, small strips are cut, pinched and rolled into rosettes, then dried for a day. After they are deep fried.

 

cartellate00002.jpeg

 

Then afte a day, they are dipped in vincotto or honey. They are better after resting for quite some days, now after 3-4 day I already changed my mind on which I like better.

 

cartellate00003.jpeg

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It was 10 years I didn't make cartellate, I wanted to compare 2 recipes. It was a lot of work. These are little pastries traditional from Puglia as well. It's the same ubiquitous dough from there, same almost to the one used above for purcidd, basically flour, extra virgin olive oil and white wine with a pinch of salt.

 

attachicon.gifcartellate00001.jpeg

 

The dough is rolled in the pasta machine, small strips are cut, pinched and rolled into rosettes, then dried for a day. After they are deep fried.

 

attachicon.gifcartellate00002.jpeg

 

Then afte a day, they are dipped in vincotto or honey. They are better after resting for quite some days, now after 3-4 day I already changed my mind on which I like better.

 

attachicon.gifcartellate00003.jpeg

Years ago (before I developed diabetes) I used to make the struffoli and serve them on a plate with chopped toasted pine nuts and finely chopped candied lemon or orange peel.  The woman who taught me how to make them would add spices to the honey - she said it wasn't "traditional" but her family liked them that way.   I also have her recipe for pan pepato - somewhere in one of my recipe card files.  It is very spicy!

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"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I found the Orange Creamsicle Cookies on line two or three years ago and they live up to the hype.

 

RECIPE HERE

 

I used less sugar - substituted the sugar/stevia compound for the white sugar and the sugar/Splenda brown sugar baking mix for the brown because of my diabetes  and for me they turned out perfectly. 

I used a # 30 disher (ice cream scoop) as the 1 1/4 ounce measure is perfect for a medium-size cookie.  I did flatten the little mounds slightly with the back of the disher after the first batch which did not spread quite enough for my preference - not sure why but I a recommend a test pan with a few cookies before banging the whole batch into the oven.

 

I hope this helps, in my opinion these have the "flavor" of the holidays - that orange aroma during baking is wonderful...

 

Andie, I was intrigued by these cookies and gave them a go over my Christmas vacation. I copy and printed out the recipe but didn't include your comments with the recipe and now I wish I had.

As you mentioned, they are a tad sweet. I think next time I would cut back a little on the white sugar (dropping from 1/2 cup to either a third of a cup or just a quarter of a cup).

I was a naive goofball and thought I could get the requisite 2 tablespoons of orange zest from the one (small-ish) orange that I had. Ha! Live and learn. Thankfully, my mom had another small orange on hand so I barely got what was needed for the recipe (I seriously considered sneaking down the street and "borrowing" an orange from my mom's neighbor who had a tree full of fruit in his front yard but it was quite late at night and didn't want to risk the transgression). Next time I will buy extra oranges to make sure I get the quantity of zest that the recipe calls for. I was also thinking of trying a mixture of tangerine zest in with the orange zest for the cookies for an added flavor twist.

That being said, the cookies are quite good. Everyone who has tried them has enjoyed them. I got 34 cookies from the recipe and wish I had flattened them out a little as you suggested. But the cookie is a keeper! Thanks for posting the link.

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“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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Toliver, you should see if your mother's neighbor would give you a few oranges. Zest from oranges that haven't seen the inside of a packing house is better, and now is the time to find out. Tangerines or minneolas would also give that a nice twist; thanks for the suggestion!

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Andie, I was intrigued by these cookies and gave them a go over my Christmas vacation. I copy and printed out the recipe but didn't include your comments with the recipe and now I wish I had.

As you mentioned, they are a tad sweet. I think next time I would cut back a little on the white sugar (dropping from 1/2 cup to either a third of a cup or just a quarter of a cup).

I was a naive goofball and thought I could get the requisite 2 tablespoons of orange zest from the one (small-ish) orange that I had. Ha! Live and learn. Thankfully, my mom had another small orange on hand so I barely got what was needed for the recipe (I seriously considered sneaking down the street and "borrowing" an orange from my mom's neighbor who had a tree full of fruit in his front yard but it was quite late at night and didn't want to risk the transgression). Next time I will buy extra oranges to make sure I get the quantity of zest that the recipe calls for. I was also thinking of trying a mixture of tangerine zest in with the orange zest for the cookies for an added flavor twist.

That being said, the cookies are quite good. Everyone who has tried them has enjoyed them. I got 34 cookies from the recipe and wish I had flattened them out a little as you suggested. But the cookie is a keeper! Thanks for posting the link.

I really pack the zest into the spoon firmly so it is compressed.  I would equate that to the zest from at least 3 medium oranges. 

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I really pack the zest into the spoon firmly so it is compressed.  I would equate that to the zest from at least 3 medium oranges. 

Thanks for that tip.

The meager zest I came up with barely filled the measuring spoon (twice). Packing it into the spoon makes more sense and would make the orange flavor stand out better which I'm all for. 

Have you swapped out the orange zest for another kind of fruit zest? I think lime zest or lemon zest would offer enough of a twist to make it into a summer-ish cookie. There seems to be a lot of potential in this simple recipe.

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“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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Thanks for that tip.

The meager zest I came up with barely filled the measuring spoon (twice). Packing it into the spoon makes more sense and would make the orange flavor stand out better which I'm all for. 

Have you swapped out the orange zest for another kind of fruit zest? I think lime zest or lemon zest would offer enough of a twist to make it into a summer-ish cookie. There seems to be a lot of potential in this simple recipe.

The recipe is quite versatile.  I did do a cherry vanilla version - using the LorAnn cherry oil flavoring - with the white chocolate chips and they turned out nicely.

I haven't tried it but a baker friend took the idea and used lemon zest and called the cookies "Lemon Bisque" because they have the flavor of the 1950s lemon bisque ice box desserts.  Of course he converted the recipe so it made many more cookies.   And he used, besides the white choc chips, lemon chips.  He buys his commercially but they are now available from online sources - I ordered some from nuts.com but have not yet gotten around to using them. 

I had visions of doing at least a little holiday baking but simply tire too rapidly and get chest pain if I try to do too much. 

 

Here I have all these lovely ingredients for baking and they just sit there, mocking me, so I am anxious to have my "valve job" soon. 

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"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Franci your posts have brought me back to my childhood. I have nothing baking but I can swear I can smell those pictures. It reminds me of Christmas with my Nonna and my mother just baking away all day. Great post, great memories. Thank you.

"If you can crack an egg one-handed, you'll have no problems undoing a brassiere." -Newfie saying

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  • 4 weeks later...

Just a quick followup on the Orange Creamsicle Cookies that Andie recommended.

I made a batch for a Super Bowl party I attended and they were a huge hit (again).

This time I did cut back a little on the white sugar (from a half cup to a generous 1/3 cup). I left the brown sugar measurement alone because that made the cookie a soft cookie (as opposed to a crisp cookie) which I liked. 

I also bought extra oranges for the zest. I even tried zesting a couple of tangerines but failed at that rather quickly. It turns out that tangerines don't give up their peel so easily and you quickly pass through the peel and pith and get right to the fruit itself if you're not careful.  :shock:

I am seriously considering throwing my kitchen rasp away. The first time I made this recipe I used my rasp to zest the oranges and it seemed to take forever to get enough zest. This time I used the smallest side of my box grater and was floored to see it make quick work of the job. I have a dedicated (for food use) toothbrush I used to get all of the zest off the box grater and out of the small grater holes. This time I was able to firmly pack the two tablespoons of orange zest with probably a half-tablespoon of zest leftover. 

 

Is there any reason why the zest is added at the end (with the white chocolate chips)? It would make more sense (to me) to add the zest when you're creaming the butter and sugars together to make for better distribution. Or add it when you add the egg and vanilla. When you add the zest at the end the dough is drier and it seems to me that you're more likely to get clumps or pockets of zest in the final cookie. Unless that's the point. 

Still...a great cookie.

 

edited for clarity

Edited by Toliver (log)
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“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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Just a quick followup on the Orange Creamsicle Cookies that Andie recommended.

I made a batch for a Super Bowl party I attended and they were a huge hit (again).

This time I did cut back a little on the white sugar (from a half cup to a generous 1/3 cup). I left the brown sugar measurement alone because that made the cookie a soft cookie (as opposed to a crisp cookie) which I liked. 

I also bought extra oranges for the zest. I even tried zesting a couple of tangerines but failed at that rather quickly. It turns out that tangerines don't give up their peel so easily and you quickly pass through the peel and pith and get right to the fruit itself if you're not careful.  :shock:

I am seriously considering throwing my kitchen rasp away. The first time I made this recipe I used my rasp to zest the oranges and it seemed to take forever to get enough zest. This time I used the smallest side of my box grater and was floored to see it make quick work of the job. I have a dedicated (for food use) toothbrush I used to get all of the zest off the box grater and out of the small grater holes. This time I was able to firmly pack the two tablespoons of orange zest with probably a half-tablespoon of zest leftover. 

 

Is there any reason why the zest is added at the end (with the white chocolate chips)? It would make more sense (to me) to add the zest when you're creaming the butter and sugars together to make for better distribution. Or add it when you add the egg and vanilla. When you add the zest at the end the dough is drier and it seems to me that you're more likely to get clumps or pockets of zest in the final cookie. Unless that's the point. 

Still...a great cookie.

 

edited for clarity

I think your idea of adding the zest to the butter/sugar mixture is very good. 

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Is there any reason why the zest is added at the end (with the white chocolate chips)? It would make more sense (to me) to add the zest when you're creaming the butter and sugars together to make for better distribution. Or add it when you add the egg and vanilla. When you add the zest at the end the dough is drier and it seems to me that you're more likely to get clumps or pockets of zest in the final cookie. Unless that's the point. 

 

 

Whenever I remember to, I like to rub citrus zest into the sugar before combining with butter or other ingredients.  I do think it releases the aromatic oil into the mixture better.  I think I picked up that trick from Dorie Greenspan's Baking book.  

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Whenever I remember to, I like to rub citrus zest into the sugar before combining with butter or other ingredients.  I do think it releases the aromatic oil into the mixture better.  I think I picked up that trick from Dorie Greenspan's Baking book.  

Now that sounds like an even better idea than just plainly adding the zest. 

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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Whenever I remember to, I like to rub citrus zest into the sugar before combining with butter or other ingredients.  I do think it releases the aromatic oil into the mixture better.  I think I picked up that trick from Dorie Greenspan's Baking book.  

 

Ditto, and I definitely picked up that trick from Dorie Greenspan. She says it's both to help distribute the flavour and prevent the zest from clumping. Now whenever I'm making something with zest, I modify the recipe to include this technique.

I'm gonna go bake something…

wanna come with?

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