orange chocolate chunk cookies
For the first time since I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, it feels like winter. This morning when our darling child woke us up at 5:30 in the morning it was a crisp 28 degrees outside. That is pretty uncommon for the Silicon Valley where the wardrobe consists of light terry Google hoodies and flip flops year round. The day after Thanksgiving, we went to chop down a Christmas tree up in the nearby mountains and expecting it to be chilly (since it was the last day of November), we bundled up in coats and scarves and went along our merry way. By the time we actually reached the tree farm we had stripped down to our last layer and were happy we had remembered deodorant. I was roasting, and felt like I should be taking a dip in the pool instead of kicking off the Christmas season. Thankfully, this week it really feels like Christmas is only two weeks away (yea, I’m not ready either!), so I’ve joyfully jumped into cookie baking mode, and this time, I won’t be dreaming of having an icy cocktail by the pool!
Cookies are the perfect gift for someone who isn’t particularly on your Christmas list but you’d still like to let them know you appreciate them. I mean, who doesn’t love an assortment of home baked cookies around the holidays? The best part is they are easy to prep ahead of time, allowing you to focus on the things that really matter like keeping grandma from giving your son a swig of egg nog and your husband from knocking over that freshly poured glass of red wine with his new nerf gun. So, if you make the dough in advance, freeze it in pre-portioned sizes, all that’s left is some oven time and a little sprinkling of salt and voila! you have a fast and thoughtful gift for the carpet guy when he comes to get that red wine stain out of your dining room floor.
These cookies would be excellent with toasted pecans or walnuts. You could even sub the dark chocolate for good quality white chocolate and add cranberries, that would be delicious.
orange chocolate chunk cookies
makes 48 cookies
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 rounded teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (can substitute jarred ground nutmeg, but reduce the amount to 1/4 teaspoon)
- 6 oz good quality dark chocolate, chopped (I used dark guittard discs)
- sea salt
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl, using a hand mixer), cream the butter and both sugars together until lighter in color and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add the eggs, vanilla and orange zest and mix thoroughly, scraping down the sides of the bowl if necessary.
- Add in the flour, baking soda, salt and spices. Mix until just combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and add the chocolate, fold in with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.
- With a cookie scoop, or a tablespoon, portion out the dough in tablespoon sized balls, leaving two inches between cookies to allow for them to spread. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the tops look dry and the sides are just beginning to brown. (This will take about 12-14 minutes if the cookies are coming directly from the freezer.)
- Remove the pan from the oven and allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for about 3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Sprinkle with sea salt.
DO AHEAD: The cookies can be portioned onto a cookie sheet, placed in the freezer uncovered for at least one hour or overnight, then stored in a plastic ziploc bag in the freezer until ready to use. The frozen cookie dough will be best if used within one month. The cookies can go directly into the pre-heated oven from the freezer (no thawing necessary) but you will need to add a couple of minutes to the bake time.
December 9, 2013. Tags: christmas baking, cinnamon, dark chocolate, edible gift, freezer friendly, make ahead, nutmeg, orange zest, quick and easy, sea salt. baking, chocolate, cookie, dessert, quick and easy.