Monday, December 21, 2015

Merry Christmas From The Gang!

It's a beautiful chilly Sunday afternoon here at The Gang's Headquarters. Most of the gang is here, sprawled out watching football or Octonauts, coming down off the sugar high that is characteristic of our traditional Cookie Decorating Day. We're waiting for Shaggy and the lovely Miss A to arrive for family pictures and a late dinner together. It's the first quiet, peaceful afternoon we've had together for far too long. 

With the pace we've been keeping and the many "out of the ordinary" additions to the calendar that have come these last ten days, we only just this weekend got around to making holiday treats. Normally, I spread the baking out over three weeks so it works out that I'm replenishing the batches continuously. Like, a slow steady month-long IV drip of butter and sugar. It's glorious! This year, I just couldn't get that routine up and running and The Gang has been letting me know of the lack of holiday treats around here. No one has ever accused me of doing things half-heartedly and in the last 48 hours, LadyBug and I have made 3 double and 1 triple batch of The Gang's favorites. There's Christmas bark, Butter Pecan Turtle bars, German Christmas Cookies (now fully frosted and beautifully decorated) all filling up my cookie bins and my fridge at once. It's glorious! All that was missing were Shaggy's favorite White Chip Orange Craisin Cookies and I could hang up my apron. 

It should have been no surprise to me that by lunch-time today, I was operating in auto-pilot. As in, everything I've made in the last two days has required a lot of brown sugar. A. LOT. Turns out, auto-pilot may just have produced my new favorite cookie of all time!!!! Since they turned out so incredibly tasty and rich, I thought I'd give a present to all of you and share the {BRAND SPANKIN' NEW} recipe!

White Chip Orange Craisin Cookies
1/2 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. butter-flavored shortening, softened
          (This is tweak #1 - the original recipe calls for 1 c. butter)
1 1/2 c. dark brown sugar, packed
           (This is where autopilot came in - the original recipe called for white sugar.
            So I set about tweaking the recipe from this "mistake." This TASTY mistake!)
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 tsp. orange extract
           (This is tweak #2 - the original recipe doesn't call for any.)
1 Tbsp. orange zest or dried orange peel
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
2 c. oats
1 c. craisins
1 c. white baking chips

Preheat your oven to 375.

Cream together the butter, shortening, and sugar. When fluffy, add eggs and beat in vanilla and orange extracts.

Slowly add the orange zest, flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Blend till all dry ingredients are incorporated.

Fold in oats, craisins, and white baking chips. Batter will be thick and heavy. And SUPER YUMMY!

Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes until edges are dry but do NOT overbake these goodies.

True confession time: the original recipe on which this one is based is an old W#*ght W@tchers favorite that called for things like "light butter," a sugar/sugar substitute blend, and egg whites. NOT that that particular version ever really got made around here.... because, well, "light butter?" As if. I mean, I might have made it the W#*ght W@tchers way once, a looooong time ago. But never again. Ever. And now? With the change-out from white sugar to lovely dark rich brown sugar? Oh.MY.LANDS. I ain't NEVER goin' back, sister friend. NEVER.

So, there ya have it. Thank you, auto-pilot! You are my new bestie bestie, as Mei Mei says. About everyone. Ha!

Merry Christmas
from The Gang's Momma and her gang!