A lesser proof than old Voltaire's, yet greater,
Proof of this present time, and thee, thy broad expanse, America,
To my plain Northern hut, in outside clouds and snow,
Brought safely for a thousand miles o'er land and tide,
Some three days since on their own soil live-sprouting,
Now here their sweetness through my room unfolding,
A bunch of orange buds by mail from Florida.
Today is the tenth incarnation of Is My Blog Burning? and the "Holiday Cookie Swap" is being hosted by the Domestic Goddess.
Holiday cookies are too often basic sugar cookies with decorations and frosting and little metallic balls that look like they would be more suited for use in tiny machine parts than on top of my wintertime treat.
The holiday season certainly does include elements of metallic ball and sugar sprinkle glitz and pageantry, but when I think about the flavors of the holidays I think about foods with citrus and spice - specifically oranges. In the days before megamarts and shipping of produce from one end of the country to the other, oranges were a special treat.
The Victorians adored oranges, picked in the Azores and shipped in to cold wintertime London to be sold on the street and turned into marmalades and jams. On other ships at the London docklands, spices from India arrived including fragrant sweet cardamom. Together, the scent of orange and cardamom evokes the holidays.
With that in mind, I added those flavors and perfumes to another scent I find wintery - oatmeal cookies. This recipe is based on the simple "Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies" recipe from the inside of the top of a Quaker Oats container. You can reproduce the flavor using your own favorite oatmeal cookie recipe and adding orange peel and cardamom seeds.
Orange-Cardamom Oatmeal Cookies
based on a recipe from Quaker Oats
1 cup (2 sticks) softened butter
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 c. AP flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups quick or old fasioned oats
1 cup raisins
zest from one orange, grated
6 cardamom pods
Heat the oven to 350 F
Crush cardamom pods and extract small black seeds inside. Taste one - they're extraordinary. Discard pods, keep seeds. Crush lightly with a mortar or the side of a knife.
Beat together butter and sugars until smooth
Add eggs and vanilla, beat well
Add orange zest and cardamom, mix well.
Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a separate bowl
Mix flour mix into egg/butter/sugar mix. Mix well
Stir in oats and raisins. Mix well
Drop by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheet
bake 10-12 minutes
Cool on cookie sheet criefly, then move to wire rack.
The sugar in these cookies will make thma little bit tough after they cool. Put a cookie in a microwave for about 15 seconds and try. They're delicious.