I don't know if it was all the health food I started eating after the holidays, or the pleasantly cool weather (which always make me want to bake), but I started craving these cookies like crazy about one week back. So, this weekend I decided to make them again, but with a bit of a twist since my kumquat shrub was heavy with fruit. I've always been a fan of the pairing of citrus and chocolate (does anyone else remember these? I was OBSESSED with them as a child), so I decided to put them together in a tasty, brownie-like cookie. I used kumquats for this recipe but you could easily substitute oranges or tangerines instead, just try to get organic ones since you're incorporating the zest into the recipe and don't want any pesticides in the cookies.
I also incorporated a little heat in the form of cayenne pepper to complement the citrus element, which ended up working really, realllllllly well together. I've never had spiced citrus before, the closest would have to be fresh mango and pineapple slices lightly dusted with chile powder at this Mexican restaurant I used to go to, which always tasted insanely good, so it makes sense that it works well with citrus, too. It's kind of opened up a while new world of spicy citrus flavors, so I'm planning on making a spicy vanilla citrus popsicle once summer comes around and I. Can. Not. Wait.
Also, I have a little giveaway for you today! I purchased a lovely walnut wood spatula a while back (you can see it in the photo below) and enjoyed it so much that I ordered another one to giveaway to one of you. Merriweather of Montana is not sponsoring this giveaway, I just think their stuff is really beautiful and well-crafted and wanted to share it :) To enter the giveaway, use the widget below. The giveaway closes on January 20th at 11:59 pm PST. Good luck, everyone!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Note: Makes about 2 dozen cookies. If you are using kumquats, its easier to pull off the peel by hand and dice the peel; if you're using tangerines or oranges, it's easiest to grate the peel.
3 Large Egg Whites (if you're using small eggs from your own chickens, use 4)
2 and 1/4 Cups Powdered Sugar
1 Cup Dutch Press Cocoa Powder
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon fresh kumquat, tangerine, or orange juice
1/4 cup grated or diced organic kumquat, tangerine, or orange zest
1 and 1/3 Cups Dark Chocolate Chips (I recommend using Ghirardelli)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a sheet of parchment paper on top of a baking sheet. Set aside.
Mix together the egg whites, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, cayenne, citrus juice, and 2 tablespoons of the zest. Stir in the chocolate chips until evenly distributed. At this point, the texture of the dough should be about halfway between the consistency of cake batter and regular cookie dough.
Scoop the dough onto the greased parchment paper baking sheet, making 1.5-inch circles. The cookies will spread a lot when you bake them, so give at least 4 inches of space between each cookie dough mound. Sprinkle the remaining zest over the tops of the cookies. Place the sheet in the oven and bake for 8-9 minutes.
When you remove them from the oven, they will still look a bit wet, but let them sit and cool to room temperature on the baking sheet before attempting to remove them. Be careful when removing them after cooling has completed, however, because their softness can cause them to tear if you're especially rough. I recommend greasing your spatula to help make moving them off the parchment paper easier. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool a bit more and firm up a bit before serving.