Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Orange Oat Cookies

I am obsessed with citrus flavours. I love lemon, grapefruit, and things that are flavoured with orange. I don't actually eat whole fresh oranges except at Christmas when we get the Mandarin oranges in. But I do love the flavour of orange. This is a cookie recipe that's come to be very popular amongst the staff where I'm working.

Orange Oat Cookies

1 cup oats
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tbsp orange zest
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cups coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 350F. In a shallow baking pan, spread out the oats and toast them for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool completely. Cream together the butter and the sugars with a mixer, adding the egg, zest and vanilla. Craem until light and fluffy. Combine flour, salt, soda, powder and add to the creamed mixture, beating at low speed until well blended. Add oats and nuts. Mix well. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 9 - 12 minutes, or until golden brown.

As usual, enjoy. And, as usual, let me know how you like them!

Monday, July 18, 2005

Baking for a Crowd

So I'm responsible for desserts for over 100 people now. Cookies are a popular choice for lunch, since I can bake lots off during the morning. But we wind up going through lots and lots of cookies. Thankfully, Chef Maurice, my advanced instructor at PICA, gave everyone a booklet of his own recipes to take out into the world with us upon graduation. I am so grateful for this, because many of them are suitable for commercial operations, such as the one I'm currently employed at. Here is a cookie recipe I've been using. It makes approximately 16lbs of cookie dough, which usually yeilds 300+ cookies for me. Don't try these at home! You'll need a huge mixer and a scale. I just thought I'd post this to give you an idea of what a professional, commercial-sized recipe looks like. It's kind of amusing, when you think about it.

Cookies for a Crowd (approx. 16lbs dough; 300+ small cookies made with #100 cookie scoop)

3 lbs white fat (use margarine, butter, Crisco shortening)
4 lbs brown sugar
8 eggs
2 oz baking powder
2 lbs oatmeal
4 lbs soft flour (all purpose or cake & pastry)
2 lbs raisins
pinch of salt

I have been dividing the dough in half and making half oatmeal raisin and half oatmeal chocolate chip. I have also added coconut and craisins and these were very popular, too.

The last couple of Sundays, I've served brownies for dessert. Who doesn't love brownies with their roast beef dinner? This recipe makes a large sheet tray measuring 16"x24", and I usually double it to feed over 100 people. I have iced these with a few things: strawberry icing, and last night I used a mocha buttercream.

Brownies for a Crowd (yield 1 large sheet, or 2 half sheets)

1 lb butter, softened
2 1/2 lbs brown sugar
12 eggs
6 oz pastry flour
6 oz all purpose flour
6 oz cocoa powder
1 lb roasted pecans

This is actually the most fudgey brownie recipe I've ever made. They are fairly thin brownies, unlike the thick cakey ones you usually see in bakeries and at the grocery store. Through trial and error, I've discovered that baking these at a lower temperature for longer yeilds a much moister product in the end. 325F for 40 - 45 minutes is usually just fine. You want them a bit underbaked when you take them out so they remain nice and fudgey.

Nice, eh? Such quantities are mind-boggling to the eye, I know. But trust me: I have been saved by these recipes! Thank you Chef Maurice!

Orange Cake

I have been neglecting this blog far too long! Finally, I have some uniterrupted time on the computer, so I can tantalize you all with a new recipe. This is something I've made at work a few times and have had rave reviews over it. It's so simple, so moist, so delicious...

Orange Cake

1 large orange
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup walnuts
2 cups flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup softened butter, margarine, or Crisco shortening
2 eggs

1. Juice the orange and reserve the juice until later. In a food processor or blender, grind the rest of the orange (it helps to quarter it first), the raisins and the nuts together until you get a consistent yet rough paste. Do not puree! Set this aside.
2. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a large mixer bowl. Beat at low speed just until blended, then on medium speed for about 3 minutes. Add the orange juice and the orange/raisin/nut mixture. Stir until just combined.
3. Spread evenly in a 9"x13" oblong cake pan. Bake at 350F.

I usually top this with a cream cheese icing containing orange zest and a little OJ.

This is a truly amazing cake. The paste made from the orange, raisins, and nuts makes it flavourful and moist. There are no other seasonings in it, and they are not necessary. The use of the whole orange is absolutely brilliant - no waste at all and pure orange flavour. Just remember: if there are seeds in your orange, pick 'em out first!

Enjoy! As usual, if you make this, let me know how it turns out.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin