Fruity inspirations: apple-orange spice drops

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These drop cookies are fast and easy to make, but they deliver big, bold flavor just right for the holidays.

Apple-orange spice drops feature a blend of cloves, all-spice, nutmeg and orange zest.  MATTHEW MEAD/ASSOCIATED PRESS
MATTHEW MEAD/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Apple-orange spice drops feature a blend of cloves, all-spice, nutmeg and orange zest.

We take a basic brown sugar and butter-based drop cookie dough, then add tons of deliciousness with a blend of cloves, allspice, nutmeg and orange zest. We also tinker with the texture, adding the delightful chew of tender dried apples. Top it all off with an orange glaze, and you have a cookie that begs for an eggnog accompaniment.

APPLE-ORANGE SPICE DROPS

Start to finish: 30 minutes

Makes 4 dozen cookies

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

¾ cup packed brown sugar

½ teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon ground allspice

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 egg

Zest of 1 orange

2 tablespoons orange juice

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups chopped dried apple

¾ cup toasted slivered almonds (optional)

For the glaze:

1 tablespoon orange juice

2/3 cup powdered sugar

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with kitchen parchment.

In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together the butter, brown sugar, almond extract, vanilla extract, baking powder, salt, cloves, allspice and nutmeg until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg. Stir in the orange zest and orange juice, then the flour. Stir in the apples and the almonds, if using.

Working in batches, scoop tablespoon-sized balls of dough onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving 1 inch between cookies. Bake for 10 minutes, or until just pale golden brown on the bottoms. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before moving to a rack to cool completely. Allow the baking sheet to cool slightly between batches.

To make the glaze, whisk together the orange juice and powdered sugar. Use a spoon to drizzle the glaze over each cookie. Once the glaze sets, store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature.

Nutrition information per cookie: 70 calories; 20 calories from fat (29 percent of total calories); 2 g fat (1.5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 10 mg cholesterol; 12 g carbohydrate; 0 g fiber; 7 g sugar; 1 g protein; 40 mg sodium.

READER RECIPE: CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

This cookie recipe came from my 91-year-old mother. It is over 70 years old. I make them each Christmas and for some reason they never do taste like mom’s. Because I wanted to send this to The Augusta Chronicle, I thought I had better call her. So I asked her what I might be doing different. She said, “Why you know I never stick by the recipe. I always add a few more chips, nuts and even maybe some extra flour.” Wow, no wonder.

– Sheila A. Stahl

Makes about  12 dozen

1 cup shortening

2/3 cup of light brown sugar

2 tablespoons orange juice

1 egg

¼ teaspoon of soda

¼ teaspoon of salt

2 cups plain flour

4 ounces chocolate chips (plus a little more)

½ cup chopped pecans (plus a little more)

Cream sugar and shortening. Mix orange juice and egg together. Sift flour, salt and soda. Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture, alternately with orange juice and egg mixture.

When thoroughly mixed, add chocolate chips and nuts. Mix the nuts and chips in by hand. Fill a spoon with the dough, pinch off enough and shape in a mound. Place on greased cookie sheet. They will not spread. They will keep the mound shape.

Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes. When cool to the touch, place the cookies on an Augusta Chronicle newspaper until they are completely cool. The newspaper will absorb any extra oil. Store in cookie tins. They are not real sweet and make a good morning coffee and cookie treat.

SHARE YOUR FAVORITE RECIPES

Send us your favorite Christmas cookie recipe, and we’ll include some of your submissions during the 12 Cookies of Christmas series. Send e-mails to james.folker@augustachronicle.com; letters to 725 Broad St., Augusta, GA 30913; faxes to (706) 722-7403.


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