If you like giving personalized Christmas gifts and you think that brownies and chocolate chip cookies are already too common and boring, there are worlds beyond brownies and chocolate chip cookies — colossal worlds that are bright with exciting flavors and exotic aromas.
Take, for instance, these orange and caraway seed butter cookies made with premium butter, caraway seeds and the zest of fresh oranges. They smell and taste of a far-flung exotic place. And if you use premium butter, the light yet crisp texture is really amazing.
You can use the zest from any orange variety. Just make sure that you don’t include the white pith which tastes bitter.
Caraway seeds can be bought in small jars in the spice section of supermarkets. The best way that I can describe the aroma of caraway seeds is a combination of anise and cumin. They are used as an aromatic both in food (breads, liquors, casseroles) and non-food products (soaps, lotions, perfumes). That’s how attractive the aroma is.
- 1-1/2 c. of all-purpose flour
1 tsp. of baking powder
a pinch of salt
1/2 c. of unsalted butter, softened
2/3 c. of sugar (if you prefer darker cookies, use dark brown sugar)
zest of three oranges
2 tbsps. of caraway seeds
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg. Mix until smooth. Stir in the caraway seeds and lemon zest. Add the flour mixture and mix just until blended.
Form the cookie dough into balls about an inch and a half in diameter. Arrange on an ungreased cookie sheet about two inches apart (I lined my cookie sheet with baking paper).
Using a fork, flatten the cookie balls, forming indentations on the surface.
Reposition the fork by 45 degrees and press down again. If you want to work faster, you can use a lightly floured kitchen mallet to flatten the cookie dough and form those indentations.
The cookies will spread a little so keep them at least an inch apart.
Bake in a 350F oven for 15 minutes to 18 minutes, depending on how brown you like your cookies. I baked mine for about 16 minutes only.
After baking, the edges and underside of the cookies will be lightly browned. Cool the cookies on the sheet for a minute or two to firm them up.
Transfer the cookies to a rack and cool completely. Do not skip this step to prevent the cookies from turning soggy. Your cookies are still hot at this point and emitting steam. Cooling your cookies on a rack allows the moisture from the steam to evaporate. On a solid surface, the moisture will be trapped at the bottom of the cookies.
The cookies have no moist surfaces so, for gift-giving, they can be stacked on top of one another without any problem. I don’t know if they’ll stay as dry if kept in the freezer. As with any baked item, I really recommend that the cookies be consumed within a day or two.
Cooking time (duration): 45 minutes
Number of servings (yield): 15 cookies, 2-1/2 inch in diameter
Meal type: snack