Cranberry Oat Cookies With Almonds & Chocolate

My toddler likes to think she’s the original cookie monster. She can inhale a whole batch of cookies in a couple of sittings – if allowed to. Though I am not much of a cookie person myself, we do go through quite a few batches around here. I prefer baking cookies that have a savory quality to them. I also need them to taste less like a dessert and more like a healthy-ish snack that wont have me running to closest treadmill after snack time.

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Fortunately, my current food idol, Ottolenghi, has just what I need. His latest release, Sweet, is my favorite bedtime reading. I plan to bake my way through the book and this recipe is a great starting point. It has something for everyone. It is sweet without being excessively so. It’s chewiness is punctuated by the crunch of the nuts. The tartness of the cranberries plays beautifully with the bittersweet notes of chocolate.

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That’s not all. This recipe has the goodness of wholewheat flour and oats. The cookie dough doesn’t need to be chilled before baking and the cookies will stay good for up to a week in an airtight container at room temperature.

Have I convinced you to bake a batch yet? Let’s get started!

Ingredients

  • All purpose flour – 50 grams or 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp
  • White whole wheat flour – 25 grams or 3 tbsp
  • Old fashioned oats – 50 grams or 1/2 cup plus 1.5 tbsp
  • Whole almonds – 50 grams or 1/3 cup*
  • Dried cranberries – 42 grams or 1/3 cup
  • Orange zest – 1/2 tbsp or the zest of a small orange
  • Orange juice – 1 tbsp
  • Unsalted butter – 75 grams or 1/3 cup (softened to room temperature)
  • Granulated sugar – 34 grams or 1/4 cup minus 1 tbsp
  • Salt – a pinch
  • Bittersweet chocolate bar (at least 60%) – 3 oz or 90 grams

*I used slivered almonds instead of whole almonds while testing the recipe and they turned out just as good. You will need 2/3 cup of slivered almonds. You can skip the roasting step and add them to the recipe as is

Yield – 10 to 12 cookies that are 2.5 inches in diameter. Recipe can be doubled

Method

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Spread the whole almonds out on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes till they’re just roasted. Set them to cool on a rack. Once cooled, chop them roughly into bite sized pieces. Set aside. If using slivered almonds you can skip this step
  • Increase the oven temperature to 375 F or 190 degree Celsius and preheat
  • Rough chop the dried cranberries. Soak them in the orange juice for about 10 minutes
  • In a medium bowl combine the all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, oats, almonds and salt and set aside
  • In the bowl of a mixer cream the butter, granulated sugar and orange zest till it turns light and fluffy and increases in volume. This takes at least 5 minutes
  • Add the flour-almond mixture to the butter-sugar mixture and whip to combine
  • Add the cranberries soaked in orange juice and whip briefly
  • Lightly dust your work surface with flour. Turn the dough out onto it and gently bring it together into a ball
  • Roll the dough out between two sheets of parchment paper or cling film into a rough circle which is 1/4th of an inch thick
  • Using a 2.5 inch cookie cutter punch out the cookies. Using a spatula gently transfer the cookies onto a tray lined with parchment paper. Place the cookies about an inch apart. They do not expand in the oven
  • Bake in a preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes till they are uniformly golden brown
  • Cool the cookies on the tray for 5 minutes then transfer them to a wire rack
  • While the cookies are cooling, melt the chocolate in a double boiler (set a small sauce pan with an inch of water in it over the stovetop on low heat. Place the bowl with chocolate over this saucepan and stir periodically till the chocolate melts). Set aside to cool slightly
  • Dollop about a teaspoon of chocolate on the cookies and spread it out evenly using the back of a spoon. Set the cookies back on the rack to cool completely and till the chocolate sets
  • The cookies will stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week

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Recipe adapted from the Cranberry and Oat Cookies recipe from his latest book Sweet

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Orange and Honey Madeleines

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I did not know what Madeleines were, to be honest. I spotted the pan in the baking section of my favorite Home Goods store and thought they’d make interesting brownie or cookie moulds. It was only when I got home and googled them that my interest was truly piqued. One look at their delicate shape, their soft cake-cookie texture and their sophisticated simplicity and I was deeply in love!

They combine the scrumptiousness of cakes with the portability of cookies. They look good, they taste great and are very easy to make. What more does a blogger want?

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The fresh orange zest folded through the batter makes these tea cakes absolutely irresistible! The orange glaze I used is optional. Of course it sets off a flavor bomb in your mouth and makes you immediately crave another bite. But these cookie-cakes are still great without it.

You will not be able to stop at one. I initially planned to make a batch or two in the name of recipe testing. But they were such a super hit with friends and family that I ended up baking 4 batches. In two days. It’s a fool proof recipe that you ought to try too. The sooner the better!

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You do need a special madeleine pan for this project. It is quite an inexpensive piece of equipment and you can put it to other uses such as making brownies or chocolates. So I definitely recommend getting one.

Ingredients

Madeleines

  • All purpose flour – 75 grams or 1/2 cup
  • Baking powder –  3/4 tsp
  • Salt – 1/4 tsp
  • Granulated sugar – 55  grams or 1/4 cup
  • Large egg – 1  (at room temperature)
  • Vanilla extract – 1/4 tsp
  • Orange zest – 1/2 tsp
  • Unsalted butter – 70 grams or 5 tbsp
  • Honey – 1 and 1/2 tsp

Orange glaze

  • Icing sugar – 1/2 cup
  • Fresh squeezed orange juice – 2 to 3 tbsp

Yield – 10 madeleines

Method

  • Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
  • Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Once it is all melted set aside 1 tbsp of the butter. We will use this to grease our madeleine pan. Add the honey to the remaining butter and continue to warm it through on low heat, stirring gently till the honey is completely mixed in. Set this aside to cool for 20 to 30 minutes
  • In another bowl whip the egg using a whisk attachment till it turns foamy. Gradually add the granulated sugar to the egg while continuing to whip. Once all the sugar has been added stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue to whip on medium high speed till the egg-sugar mixture doubles in volume and the whisk leaves a visible trail when lifted from the bowl. This takes at least 5 minutes
  • Add the vanilla extract and whip briefly to combine
  • Sift the flour mixture over the egg-sugar mixture. Add in the orange zest and gently fold everything together using a spatula just till all the dry ingredients are combined.
  • Pour in the butter-honey mixture and fold it through the batter with a spatula till it is combined. Do not over mix
  • Cover the mixing bowl with a clingfilm and set it in the refrigerator to chill for at least 1 hour or up to 12 hours
  • While the batter is chilling, brush all  the moulds in the madeleine pan with the reserved 1 tbsp of butter and set it in the fridge to chill too. Both the batter and the pan need to be cold before going into the oven
  • While the batter is chilling preheat the oven to 350 F or 175 degree Celsius
  • After an hour, spoon the batter into the moulds using a 1 tablespoon measure. This ensures you get the right quantity of batter into each mould and they all turn out uniform

batter

  • Place the madeleine pan on the center rack of the oven and bake for 8 minutes. The madeleines should turn golden brown around the edges, have a hump in the center and should bounce back with touched lightly
  • Remove the pan from the oven and set it to cool on a wire rack
  • Take the madeleines off the pan after 5 minutes and continue to cool them on the rack
  • While  the madeleines are cooling combine the glaze ingredients together. Dip the still warm madeleines into the glaze to coat and place them back on the wire rack till the glaze sets.

These madeleines are best when eaten warm, straight out of the oven. You can store them in an airtight container at room temperature for a couple of days. Warm them up in the microwave for 5 to 7 seconds before serving.

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Recipe adapted from Tasting Table and Epicurious