Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Vegan Orange Doodles

Two things:
  1. I'm on a quest to bake the perfect cookie
  2. I've recently discovered that citrus is my achilles heel of baked goods. 

How do I bake so much and still look reasonably fit? I don't bake with citrus as much as I'd like to... Any other flavor, and I can take one piece/cupcake/cookie/whatever and walk away feeling perfectly satisfied, leaving the rest to tempt my friends, family, and coworkers. However, when there is fresh citrus in the batter, I want to eat handfuls of cookies and I greedily hide the leftover cake (no one from work even saw the Clementine Olive Oil Cake from a few months ago).

To kick off my Perfect Cookie Search, I baked an Orange Snickerdoodle Cookie (an Orangedoodle, if you will), adapting a recipe that yielded one of the best cookies I've had. Last summer, when I was just a wee novice baker, I made a batch of Vegan Lemon Lime Cookies, and was so pleasantly surprised to find that I loved them! They were chewy and flavorful, and everything that I want in a cookie. The question I sought to answer regarding these cookies was whether or not they were replicable with other flavors... for instance, orange.

Now, I'll be honest with you. These cookies are good... but they aren't perfect. They are really, really good.

I goofed on timing a bit and I think user-error was a component of my unhappiness with the end result — they baked for maybe one minute too long and were crispier than I remembered the first batch being. For this reason, I'm posting the recipe now, but I will continue to play around with this recipe/flavor combination until I can promise the perfect chewy citrus cookie. (I'll also be playing around with other flavors in pursuit of an all-around perfect cookie!)

Orange Doodles (adapted from my Vegan Lemon Lime Cookies and inspired by Mis-Cakes Oven Adventures):
Makes about 2 dozen cookies
  • 3/4 cup sugar, plus 1/3 cup sugar 
  • Zest from one orange, divided 
  • Seeds from 1 vanilla bean pod, divided 
  • 1/2 cup all vegetable shortening 
  • 1 3/4 cups flour 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 3 tablespoons almond milk 
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice 
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon 
  • Combine sugar, 3/4 of orange zest, and 3/4 of the seeds from 1 vanilla bean and let sit for 5 minutes
  • In a medium bowl, beat together sugar mixture and shortening on medium speed until light and fluffy
  • In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt
  • Add flour mixture slowly to sugar mixture, mixing until just incorporated
  • Add almond milk, vanilla extract, and orange juice and mix until incorporated
  • Refrigerate for 30 minutes or more
  • In a small bowl, mix together remaining zest and vanilla bean seeds with remaining 1/3 cup sugar and cinnamon, and let sit until ready to make cookies
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Once dough is cooled, use a small spoon to help form teaspoon-sized balls, roll each through prepared sugar and arrange on a parchment-sheet lined cookie sheet
  • Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until cookies just begin to color

Got a favorite cookie recipe? Flavor suggestion? Please, send it my way!

Happy Baking!

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