It's that time of year when we are surrounded by sweets, people and if you are anything like me, you have flour handprints on your bum. A few weeks ago I attended a cookie exchange and Tammi was gracious to invite all of us social media types into her home. I was terribly nervous, anxious even to waltz into a stranger's home, laden with cookies and just myself. I am extraordinarily introverted and while I wanted to just stay home and not put my baking on the line and expose myself to people (gasp!) but when there's 80 cookies lined up on the dining room table, you don't mess around and you pack them up and go. An aside, Tammi and the ladies at the cookie exchange were all very sweet and I wouldn't be surprised if there were a few who felt the same as me, after all, we're social media types, right?
When faced with an impending cookie exchange, a good bet is a slightly sweet, tangy cookie with a rich white chocolate drizzle. I had tossed around a number of ideas, lemon poppyseed, orange poppyseed; basically anything with poppyseed because they were stuck in my mind. In typical "me" fashion I bought the bag of poppyseeds and the pack is still in the pantry waiting for their intended project, whenever I figure out what that may be. The dough for my cookies was just a basic chocolate chip cookie dough because it can carry the variety of flavours I wanted to add without taking over, not only that but it's great because you can play with the texture based on whether or not you use butter or shortening.
Adapted from the chocolate chip cookie recipe from Joy of Baking.
1 1/2 cups butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
zest and juice of 4 clementines
2 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1 1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup dry white wine
1. In a medium bowl cover the cranberries with the wine. Allow these to soak while you collect the ingredients and preheat the oven to 350º. Allow to sit for a minimum of 30 minutes.
2. In a separate bowl cream butter or shortening and add the sugars. Beat until fluffy (at that really tempting point when you kind of want to stick your finger in and try but remember it's straight butter and fat). Add the eggs at this point and the zest of the clementines. The specks of orange are beautiful but not entirely enough for flavour, hence adding the juice at this point.
3. In a separate bowl sift the dry ingredients.
4. Combine the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture of butter and sugars. When it is fully mixed, add the cranberries and mix until cranberries are evenly distributed. I found the mix a bit dry so I ended up using the wine too.
5. Drop onto a lined baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes, until a light golden colour and crisp edges.
4 squares white chocolate
1 1/2 - 2 cups icing sugar*
1. In a double-boiler melt the chocolate. Take extra care, white chocolate is quick to seize. Carefully add a dribble of cream.
2. Remove the double boiler from heat (but keep the bowl on the pot) and add the icing sugar 1/4 cup at a time. Mix quickly so there are no lumps to desired consistency. Mine dripped off the tines of a fork but was not overly liquidy, it kept its shape on the cookies.
3. Drizzle over the fully cooled cookies. Cool for about 2 hours.
*I think it was this much sugar, I was adding it slowly and lost count at one point.