Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Orange Nutmeg Buttermilk Cookies

So, it's been awhile. A long while. I've had writer's block. I've also had a lot of things on my mind that have nothing to do with my baking, or at least nothing writeable. But I'm back now, and I suppose that's what matters.

Without delving too much into things, I will say that I have been dealing with depression for the past year, and went on medication for it in the past few months. One of the most annoying side effects of the medication was fatigue, to the point that I was sleeping until anywhere between noon and 2pm on weekends. I had lost all energy to do much of anything. My apartment turned into quite a pigsty, which was rather representative of how I felt on the inside.

Something that I have found when I tell someone that I have depression, is that the person's response is "what are you depressed about?" I am sure that the person is trying to get to the problem so that they can offer a solution, but sometimes when I am depressed, it isn't about anything really. Or maybe it's about everything. Some days I simply wake up feeling a sense of dread, like my body is filled with a black ooze that takes over my mind and tells me that I'm a nobody who will never do anything significant. Maybe the answer I should give to those who ask is that the future is scary as shit.

One thing that helps me keep going, however, is my baking. I love thinking about what I want to bake, concocting magical treats in my mind. Sometimes, I will make those ideas a reality. One such delicious treat is these orange nutmeg buttermilk cookies that I made a couple of weeks ago with my sister. I love the combination of orange and nutmeg, and these cookies are a wonderful way to enjoy that taste combination. The cookies are light and kind of cakey (sort of like a whoopie pie cake), with a little sweetness added by the orange glaze on top. We decorated the cookies with festive sprinkles in order to help get us into the holiday spirit. I highly recommend these to anyone- they're fairly easy to make, delicious, and a little unexpected.

Merry Christmas!

Orange Nutmeg Buttermilk Cookies

For Cookies
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp grated orange zest (more if you wish)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temp
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup well-shaken buttermilk

For Glaze (this is half the original recipe, which I find is more than enough to frost the cookies)
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
1 tbsp well-shaken buttermilk
1/2 tbsp fresh orange juice

Make cookies:
Preheat oven to 350°F with one rack in the upper-middle position and the other rack in the lower-middle position. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, zest, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt.

Using an electric mixer, beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl until pale and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in vanilla. Mix in flour mixture and buttermilk alternately in batches at low speed, beginning and ending with flour mixture, until smooth.

Drop tablespoons of dough about 1 1/2 inches apart onto baking sheets. Bake, 2 sheets at a time, until cookies are puffed and edges are golden, 12 to 15 minutes per batch, making sure to rotate the baking sheets halfway through the bake time. Cool cookies on sheets 1 minute, then transfer cookies to racks.

Glaze cookies:
Whisk together all glaze ingredients and brush onto tops of warm cookies. Add a flourish of sprinkled if you are so inclined.

Let stand until cookies are completely cooled and glaze is set.

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