Today, I'd like to share another cookie recipe with you. This recipe is based on yet another of Joanne Fluke's recipes. The original recipe for "Orange Fudge Cookies" was included in her 2017 Hannah Swensen mystery "BananaCream Pie Murder".
I first tried making these in May of this year with these changes:
The original recipe called for unsweetened baking chocolate squares. I almost never have these in my pantry so used the standard substitution: "3 level tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder and 1 tablespoon butter, margarine or shortening for every 1-ounce unsweetened baking chocolate."
As always, I also used block margarine rather than butter - mostly because butter is generally over $5/pound here and that is more than I can afford. A good quality block margarine such as Imperial or Parkay will work quite well. I watch for sales and can usually get a 3 pound /1.36kg box for about $3 to $3.50. I've never had anyone complain about me using margarine or the resulting flavour in my recipes.
I also toasted up some chopped almonds and added those as they go so well with orange and chocolate! Naturally, I added more chocolate chips.
The cookies were good but not quite what I had imagined. The orange flavour wasn't really there and they weren't really that fudgy. I knew I had to make a few more changes.
I made them again in October and slightly reduced the amount of margarine while upping the orange juice concentrate. I also added a bit of orange extract.
The other major change I made was actually an accident! The original recipe instructions called tor melting the butter/margarine with the unsweetened baking chocolate. That first time, I had just melted the butter/margarine and added the cocoa powder with the dry ingredients. When I made them in October, I actually FORGOT to melt the butter/margarine! I just added it with the sugar to the bowl of my stand mixer and whipped it up to light and fluffy!
I know that melting can change the way a recipe turns out but I'm not sure if this was the case here or whether it was my other changes. Either way, this version turned out moist, fudgy and loaded with flavour! It was EXACTLY what I had imagined to could be!
I took samples to several people and got rave reviews!
Yes, this recipe makes a LOT of cookies (8-9 dozen) but they freeze well. They would also make great gifts for the upcoming holiday season - or any time of year!
I hope you and yours enjoy this recipe!
Orange Almond Fudge Cookies
1 cup chopped almonds, toasted*
4 cups flour (I use 2 cups all purpose and 2 cups whole wheat)
1/2 unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups butter or block margarine softened to room temp.
1 3/4 cups white (granulated) sugar
3/4 cup frozen unsweetened (pulp free) orange juice concentrate, thawed to room temp
2 large eggs, fork beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
1 1/2 cups dark or semi sweet chocolate chips
*Place the chopped almonds on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and toast in a preheated 350F oven for about 5-7 minutes - stirring at least once. These can burn easily so keep an eye on them while preparing other ingredients. Once the almonds are toasted to the desired degree, place the baking sheet on a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before adding to the cookie dough.
Place the butter/margarine and white sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix thoroughly then whip to light and fluffy. Add the thawed orange juice concentrate and the extracts. Mix in completely.
Gradually add the flour combo in (about) 1 cup increments mixing well after each addition. Reserve about 1 Tablespoon of the flour mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl between additions of flour mixture to ensure all ingredients are well combined.
Combine the cooled almonds, chocolate chips and the reserved flour. (Coating the nuts and almonds will help create a more uniform distribution. Add the nuts and chips to the dough and mix in on low speed till well incorporated. The dough will be really soft.
Scrape down the bowl and the mixing paddle. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and cover with plastic wrap - or transfer the dough to a smaller bowl and then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least two hours or overnight. (I prefer transferring the dough to a smaller bowl before chilling as it takes up far less space in my fridge.)
Once the dough is chilled - line your baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll the dough into balls about an inch in diameter. Place on the prepared sheets and flatten slightly - just enough so that the balls don't roll around when you are transferring the pan from the counter to the oven. These spread while baking so leave a couple inches between each ball.
Makes about 9-10 dozen.