Are there any super-sleuths out there? Anyone notice a bit of a "theme"at The Café recently? Check out the last few posts, here and here ................ look close .................. have you figured it out? ...................
................ I knew you'd get it! I was sure you'd see those gorgeous oranges in so many of the photos. I had a fun and delicious challenge ................ and a sweet story to go with it ................
I had a crazy work schedule several weeks ago, but luckily my husband was on vacation. He didn't have any big plans and was able to take up a bit of the slack at home. I asked if he could stop at the market for me and pick up a few items for some cooking I wanted to do. He kindly obliged and decided to do the shopping at a nearby Sam's Club. If any of you shop at Sam's, you know that most everything comes in massive quantity packaging, perfect for large families and commercial purposes.
Though it's just the two of us most of the time here at The Café, I do like to stock up at big box stores like Sam's and Costco on pantry and freezer items. That way, when the urge strikes me to bake, cook or create, I don't have to go running off to the grocery store. One of the items on my list was oranges and Scott came home with a huge bag of the sweetest, juiciest oranges you'd ever want to have the pleasure of meeting.
I was thrilled and mentioned several times how delighted I was with the yummy oranges ................ You'll never guess what happened a few days later when I went to grab a snack! My humungous bag of oranges had multiplied and now a second bag awaited by astonished gaze! A magical refrigerator? No ............... something even better ............... a sweet, kind husband, who, knowing how I loved those oranges, had picked up another (huge) bag for my pleasure :)
Oh dear, are you seeing why I had a challenge? Though I've enjoyed them on their own, unadorned, two huge bags of oranges got my imagination rolling and I've had fun using the wonderful, seasonal fruit in all kinds of recipes. I used fresh orange juice in my Raspberry Crumble Muffins w/ Citrus Glaze and peeled a bunch of them for my Orange Avocado Salsa. I'm working on an Orange Chicken (low-fat) recipe along with a delicious Citrus & Craisin Compote. I hope to share both of them with you soon, they just need a bit more tweaking in order to be "blog worthy".
And please forgive me for posting yet another shortbread recipe; if you search shortbread on The Café, I'm afraid you might think it's my middle name. A hopeless sucker for the crisp, buttery indulgence, this one has a burst of bright orange flavor combined with the warmth of crushed toasted pecans. It's super simple to put together; just mix up the dough in an electric mixer, pat it in a tart or cake pan, brush with a bit of honey and finish with a shower of coarse sugar. A double (see recipe) slow baking results in a fabulous, irresistible treat I think you'll love!
Orange-Pecan Shortbread Cookies
8 ounces cold butter, cut into ½" pieces
½ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon table salt
10 ounces all-purpose flour, 2¼ cups
½ cup toasted pecans*, toasted and ground very finely in a food processor
2 teaspoons loosely packed, finely grated orange zest (from 1 orange)
1 tablespoon honey (warmed for 10-15 seconds in microwave to thin)
Demerara (coarse) sugar (for sprinkling)
1. Preheat oven to 300˚F. Spray a 10" or 11" tart pan w/ removable bottom with cooking spray.
2. Combine the butter, sugar, and salt in a stand mixing bowl (use the paddle attachment) or a large regular mixing bowl. Mix on low speed until the butter combines with the sugar but isn't perfectly smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.
3. Add the flour, ground pecans, and zest; mix on low speed, scraping the bowl frequently, until the dough has just about pulled together, about 3 minutes; don't overmix.
4. Press dough into tart pan. Use a flat-bottom glass to level surface. Brush the surface lightly with honey and sprinkle generously with coarse (demera) sugar.
5. Bake the cookie until golden on the bottom and edges and pale to golden on top, about 30 minutes.
6. Remove from oven. Remove tart from pan but setting tart and cut into wedges while still hot. Carefully transfer wedges to a sheet pan and return to oven for another 15 minutes or unitl golden and crisp. Remove from oven and transfer to cooling rack. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
* ~ To toast pecans, place in a metal or glass baking pan and bake at 325˚F. for 22 minutes or until deep golden brown. Stir after 10 minutes.
Adapted from Fine Cooking