The holidays are fast approaching, and that means everything sweet 'n spice is a go! These spiced currant and orange oatmeal cookies have the sweetness from the current, a hint of orange from the zest, and the spice of the nutmeg and cinnamon. They are sophisticated cookies, with a proper nice crunch on the outside and chewy deep flavours in the middle.
It recently occurred to me that since I will be sending Christmas cards to my family and friends from overseas this year, I really needed to post them soon (as in 2 weeks ago)! I sat down with a stack of Christmas cards to write, but quickly got distracted by my oven, my cookbooks, and my rumbling stomach. In all, I wrote 3 cards, got caught up in the kitchen, and ended up with 3 dozen delicious spiced currant and orange oatmeal cookies instead!
A few weeks ago, I went for a run and came across an innovative shop, Unpackaged. It's exactly as it is named: nothing is sold in a package, and you are suppose to bring your own tupperware to fill up. But you can see my problem... I didn't have any tupperware on me when I ran in to (literally) the store. I thought about leaving empty handed, but what fun would that be, when there were so many goodies in the shop tempting me. I ended up buying some currants and some cinnamon quills, which I guiltily put into an available paper bag, together of course, to save on packaging.
I came home, put the bag in my cupboard. And it sat there, the cinnamon scent infusing into the currants. It was only perfect that I would, when I started craving a cookie, flip to a recipe for orange - oatmeal - currant cookies in Elizabeth Pruett's Tartine cookbook. It almost seemed too well planned that the currants already had a light spiced flavour from sitting with the cinnamon quills.
The actual recipe I used, and posted below, however, is not from the Tartine cookbook. I just didn't have all the ingredients on hand, so I had to find a different way to create a cookie with orange, currants and oats. I ended up adapting a simple Oatmeal Raisin Cookie recipe from Joanne Chang's Flour cookbook. From that, I added orange zest, swapped out the raisins for currants, replaced some white flour with wholemeal flour, cut out some sugar, and added vanilla. The cookies turned out really nice and crispy on the outside, with a rich caramelized taste, and soft and chewy in the middle. If you prefer them crispier and lighter, simply leave them in the oven for a minute or two longer.
Spiced Currant and Orange Oatmeal Cookie Recipe
Makes about 30 cookies
1 c. (225g) unsalted butter at room temperature
½ c. (150g) granulated sugar
¾ c. (220g) light brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. all-purpose flour
¾ c. wholemeal flour
1 ¾ c. old-fashioned rolled oats
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 ½ c. currants
4 tsp. orange zest, grated
In a medium bowl, mix together the flours, oats, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon and set aside.
Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar on medium speed, until light and creamy, about 5 minutes. Add in the eggs, vanilla and orange zest, and beat until thoroughly combined, about 3 minutes. Be sure to stop and scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula, as needed.
On low speed, mix in the dry ingredients until they are well incorporated. Mix in the currants.
Chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, but preferably at 3-4 hours to overnight.
When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 175 C / 350 F. Roll the dough into 1 ½ inch balls and arrange them on a baking sheet, each 2 inches apart. Slightly flatten each ball with your palm. Bake for 12-17 minutes, until the edges are golden brown but the center is still pale. If you prefer a crispy cookie, leave the cookies in the oven until the center is no longer pale.
Transfer the cookie to a wire rack and let cool. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.