(Update: Jon thought I needed to show mint in this pic, so I Photoshopped in a little sprig. Voila!)
I have to thank my fellow Grub Clubber In-Young for this flavor combo, which--strange as it may seem--was inspired by a kind of Turkish tobacco she mentioned when she was talking about her trip to Egypt (I believe) and the stalls she saw at a market there. "Hmmm," I said, "orange and mint...that would make an awesome cookie!" Yup, that's how ideas come to me.
I knew I wanted a lot of orange flavor, but I was afraid my dough would end up too wet. (How else to make something orangey than by putting loads of orange juice in it?) So I decided to leave out the egg and replace that volume with orange marmalade.
(Yes. This is an eggless recipe for a totally egg-free cookie. I'm keeping my promise to develop allergen-free recipes for all my readers out there with food allergies.)
Then I decided to use one of my old citrus-flavor tricks: using fruit juice, zest, and extract to really deepen the flavor. For this recipe, I took it one step further and reduced 1 cup of orange juice by half over heat so that the liquid was bursting with concentrated flavor. I used fresh orange juice because I had fresh oranges on hand for the orange zest. A dash of orange extract rounded out the orange flavor.
I planned to use fresh mint in this recipe. I even picked up a few bunches from the grocery store. But I decided against it because I was afraid the flavor would be too woody or too week or that the mint itself would add too much moisture to the dough. So I nixed the fresh mint and went foraging through my cabinets until I found a box of Celestial Seasonings Mint Magic tea. Eureka! Strong mint flavor in a dry form. I cut open 2 tea bags and added the contents to the wet ingredients. To that I added just a little bit of mint extract--the perfect amount of mint to complement the orange.
(If flavor extracts are difficult to locate in your area, simply replace the extract with an equivalent amount of orange zest or mint tea.)
A rest in the refrigerator and a final roll in turbinado sugar before baking gives these guys that crunchy exterior/chewy interior texture I love.
Makes 2 1/2 dozen cookies. (To see this recipe in process, check out Picturing Orange & Mint Cookies.)
1 stick butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup orange marmalade
1/2 cup apple juice (reduced over heat from 1 cup)
2 tea bags of mint tea (approx. 2 Tbsp)
3 tablespoons orange zest
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons orange extract
1/2 teaspoon mint extract
2 cups oatmeal
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
- In a small saucepan, simmer 1 cup of orange juice over medium heat. Reduce the 1 cup of orange juice down to 1/2 cup. Set aside to cool for Step 3.
- In your Kitchen Aid or a large mixing bowl, cream together the creamables.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients and then add to the creamables. Mix together until smooth. (You might need to microwave the orange marmalade for about 30 seconds to make it whiskable.)
- In another large mixing bowl, add the dry ingredients. Using a spatula, fold together until evenly distributed. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the creamables and wet ingredients. Mix until evenly combined.
- Refrigerate cookie dough for 15-20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350º.
- Remove dough from the refrigerator and shape dough into balls--about 2 tablespoons each.
- Roll each dough ball in turbinado sugar.
- Place the sugar-coated dough balls about 2 inches apart on Silpat- or parchment paper-lined cookie sheets.
- Bake at 350º for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove the cookie sheets from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes. Then place cookies on wire racks to cool.