Is there a particular time to make or eat cookies? The answer to that question is most definitely no, though a hot and sticky summer is definitely not the best time (for the person baking) to have the oven going.
Summer time in India, however, is school vacation time (which is 2 months starting from April through June, depending on which school board syllabus the concerned schools are affiliated to). If you have (or have had) growing children at home, you will know that they are very frequently hungry and their very active metabolism requires a lot of fuel to keep them going! Our daughter is no different, and was very happy to help me pick out a couple of bookmarked recipes for me to try out. One was Val's brother Neil's Shortbread Cookies and the other was Lisa's Chocolate Orange Cookies.
I signed up for Taste & Create this month after a long break and was paired up with Val of More Than Burnt Toast. I have previously been paired up with her and made her Mom and Dad's excellent Potato Bread. This time I made her brother's cookies!
If you are new to Taste & Create, this is an interesting event where one signs up to be randomly paired up with, explore a fellow food blogger's collection of recipes and cook from it. This is a nice way to discover a lot of new food bloggers and their blogs.
Akshaya just loves anything shortbread and making Scottish Shortbread from my cookie book is something she enjoys. So it wasn't surprising that she picked a shortbread cookie for me to try out.
I followed Val's recipe exactly (but quartered it as I was trying it out for the first time). I needed to add 2 tbsps each extra of flour and icing sugar to get a dough I could work with. I also forgot to chill the dough before shaping the cookies, so they spread out a bit.
According to Val, "the secret to tender, melt in your mouth shortbread is to really cream the butter!!!" While I, personally, find shortbread too rich for my taste I have to agree that creaming the butter did produce a very buttery and nice shortbread. Akshaya liked them so much that she was willing to forego dinner for these cookies!!
The Chocolate Chip Orange Cookies at Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen (which is the featured blog on Tried & Tasted that is hosted here this month) caught my eye for two reasons. The first one was that this recipe seemed to be a twist on a chocolate chunk cookie with the addition of orange juice and rind. The other thing was the addition of cream cheese to this cookie.
I halved Lisa's recipe and made a few changes because I didn't have a couple of the ingredients. I left out the orange rind, but used store bought unsweetened orange juice. I also added 1/2 tsp orange extract to increase the orange flavour. I substituted the cream cheese with home-made paneer (an Indian soft fresh cheese) which I blended into a smooth, creamy paste. I also substituted the egg with powdered flax seed and water.
I also used some "chocolate chip chunks".
I found a half bottle of chocolate chips in my kitchen had melted into something which was neither chips nor a paste. Yes, that's how hot it is here and the summer has just begun!!! So I put the bottle in the fridge and used some of that which was part chips and chunks, hence "chocolate chip chunks".
The texture of these cookies wasn't quite like I expected in a chocolate chip/ chunk cookie. In Lisa's own words, "Much like a savory biscuit, despite the big chunks of dark chocolate, these cookies will stay moist for a few days stored in an air tight container provided they are not devoured shortly after coming out of the oven."
These cookies were a bit chewy and biscuit-like (as in scone-like and not cookie-like) and a bit moist and sort of cake-like texture on the inside but crunchy on the outside. This is probably because of the addition of cream cheese and the creaming the butter and cream cheese till light and fluffy. They were less moist and more cookie-like the next day.
However, the cookies were nice and the combination of chocolate and orange could never be anything but good.
I am including a gentle reminder here, that there is just a week to the submission deadline (30th April) for Tried & Tasted. So if you have been planning to join in and haven't yet done so, then this is the time to it. I'm looking forward to hearing from you all.