Tuesday, October 1, 2013

TWD: X Cookies

Tuesdays with Dorie baking through Baking with Julia
by Dorie Greenspan
Contributing Baker: Nick Malgieri 

Tic-Tac-Dough anyone?
I know it was O's turn, however I only made one O, silly me.

These were time consuming, back breaking and unfortunately a big disappointment (to me).

I was so looking forward to making these. I  l o v e  fig newton cookies, and the book states these are reminiscent of those. Though they have a lot more to them besides figs (one of my favorite fruits) - golden raisins, almonds, chocolate, dark rum, and candied orange peel. Sounds delicious doesn't it?

It's a bit early in the year to find candied orange peel - however, it's abundant during the holidays - just a couple of weeks too early. I did find a specialty store a few cities over that carries it for $12.50 for a half pound. In the end I decided to make a batch myself. It was easier than I thought it would be. There are several recipes out there - some easier than others. The easiest was a recipe by Martha Stewart (interesting, if you Google "candied citrus martha stewart" she has two or three different ways of making it- hmmm); and if you choose to make your own, the leftovers are wonderful coated in dark chocolate. 

I really wish I went with my original thought of making only half the recipe. Really, who needs five dozen cookies around? Well, I thought since we were close to the holidays, I could freeze some of them, send some into work with Andy, take some to our daughter, my sister, you know, share the love. Not to mention, if they turned out anything close to a fig newton, I would have devoured a dozen easily myself (there is a silver lining to everything!).

The cookie part was extremely dry and crumbly - not soft like fig newtons - and as is the norm with recipes in this book, with all that went into these cookies, they were not very flavorful. I did only bake half the recipe (the rest of the dough and filling went into the freezer - not sure why), which I was about to toss into the garbage, but the hubby said he would still take them into work. I hesitated at that - I have my reputation to think of after all. I did let him take them to work - I only hope I can show my face at work tomorrow.

Update: They were a little better the next day - the cookie was not as dry and crumbly, though the flavor did not improve any. I don't think these were worth the time and energy spent, not to mention the cost - dried figs, nuts, rum - not cheap.

Update 2: Hubby came home without my container. I said to him, being you did not bring the container home, it must still be full, nobody liked them. No! Everybody but one guy, loved them! Even a customer, who asked if these cookies were Italian, she herself is Italian, and enjoyed them. Go figure. Must be me.

I'm not sure why the instructions say to roll the dough into a 12-inch rope, only to roll out the dough to a 3x12 rectangle. Any rolling of the dough will stretch it beyond 12 inches. I made the ropes approximately ten inches long before rolling out.

As tedious as these were, there was a fun factor to them. If only they tasted good. I don't mind a little hard work for recipes that turn out downright delicious, such as the Hastskor (horseshoe) cookies I make at Christmas.

How cute is this tray?! I got the idea and instructions from this website, that my niece Shannon  (whom is a fabulous photographer) "liked" and it showed up in my FB newsfeed.

I wish I had taken a picture before I ate most of it! Candied orange peels also taste great covered in dark chocolate - dangerously addicting. Our daughter gifted us some one Christmas and I think of it often. Now that I know it isn't really that hard to make, I will do so again. You can also use it to top desserts, use as a garnish for drinks (spirals would be cute - they are soft to begin with, and dry hard - maybe shape them around a straw?), throw them into bread batter, top your ice cream or yogurt, even add it to your favorite granola recipe, or just eat it plain like I have been. 

To see results of this recipe, or other versions the talented bakers of our group have come up with, visit the Tuesdays with Dorie site and look for the LYL: X Cookies post for links to their sites.

You can find the Baking with Julia recipe by clicking here.

I found it interesting that Nick Malgieri, the contributing baker has a slightly different recipe on his website.


  1. Beautiful Photos! I loved these even though I really did not expect to! And candied orange peel dipped in chocolate is an amazing thing - we used to give them out as Christmas gifts.

  2. They look like fun to eat though. I think people are often happy with homemade cookies, regardless, although I'm sure yours are generally quite amazing.

  3. Love the presentation, very cute!. I actually liked these cookies although I must admit I did make changes by adding extra spices and orange zest to the original recipe, even then I still felt they needed more flavour.

  4. Now I want to try to make the candied orange peel. Oh and with chocolate. Yum!

  5. The tic tac toe presentation is awesome!
    I made a half recipe (and changed up the filling) and was really glad I did. Definitely thought these were better a day or two later.

  6. i love your pictures of the cookies. I only made half the recipe but apart from the fiddly assembly bit) found it a good cookie.

  7. Fabulous presentation! Your X cookies were so neat too, I'm super impressed. We liked the cookies. I found the pastry softened on day 2, and the Italian guy at work liked them too.

  8. haha--I love that line about having your reputation to consider! glad everyone did in fact like them, but I agree-- they were not a favorite of mine either.

  9. I liked these, but I think they are not for everyone. I made half a batch and that was plenty! That orange peel looks fantastic.

  10. Love your tic tac toe idea! Brilliant! Glad most everyone enjoyed them. I think I liked them better the next day, as I thought they were a little dry when I first made them. But then I started making them bigger and I think that made a difference too.

  11. Those look just amazing! I'm so glad your story has a happy ending! I wait in anticipation to see if my food gets eaten fast. Your photos are so cute!

  12. Your candied orange peels look much better than mine. I'm going to try Martha's recipe next time. They were probably the best part of making this recipe. I love the idea of dipping them in dark chocolate. I hope we like the next recipe better...

  13. Killer presentation! :) These look AWESOME!

  14. Your cookies look great, and I love the tic tac toe presentation. I agree that the recipe was very involved and made a lot of cookies. I baked them in two batches a week apart. I don't really like fig newtons, so for me, it was a pleasant surprise that they were crisper and the filling was more complex. I couldn't find candied orange peel at first and bought some sweetened dried mango to use as a substitute, but then saw a small container of the orange peel at my local supermarket. I'm glad your husband's colleagues enjoyed them. Nice photos of the process.


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