Saturday, January 18, 2014

Chocolate-Orange-Pecan Cookies

Definitely not your run of the mill chocolate chip cookies, these have a complex yet subtle flavor that will appeal to many a chocolate lover. Orange and chocolate flavor combinations are a major hit in my family but this recipe takes matters to a whole new level with the addition of oats and pecans. The depth of the nuttiness plays off wonderfully against the fresh notes of the citrus. Depending on whether you choose to use dark or milk chocolate, these delectable cookies will take on yet another flavor profile, guaranteed to send your taste buds over the moon either way. :) Definitely give these a try! You will be SO glad you did!

2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3 tsp pure vanilla extraxt
2 tbsp Grand Marnier liqueur (or 1/2 tsp orange extract)
2 tbsp freshly grated orange zest
2 cups (12 oz) chocolate chunks (your choice of milk or dark chocolate)
1 cup (4 oz) coarsely chopped pecans


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick silicone baking mats. Set aside.

Process the oats in a food processor until finely ground. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Stir in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Put the butter in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Begin beating on low speed to soften. Increase the speed to medium and beat for about 3 more minutes, until light and creamy.

Gradually add the granulated sugar and then the brown sugar, beating until very light and fluffy.

Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat to incorporate, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula after each addition. Beat in the orange zest, vanilla extract and Grand Marnier (or orange extract) and when blended, slowly beat in the reserved dry mixture. Do not overwork the dough, mix until the dough is just blended.

Using a wooden spoon, stir in the chocolate chunks and pecans, mixing until evenly distributed. (You do not want to do this in the mixer, as heavy mixing tends to break up the chocolate and nuts and the baked cookies have an undesirable dry texture.)

Using a small ice-cream scoop (or tablespoon), make mounds of dough about 1 1/2 inches in diameter and place, about 2 inches apart, on the prepared cookie sheets.

Bake for about 12-15 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges and set in the center. Do not overbake.

Remove from the oven and, using a metal spatula, transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool. Store, airtight, at room temperature for up to a week.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.


Recipe adapted from "Milk & Cookies" by Tina Casaceli

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