Oranges, Oranges Everywhere

The candied orange peels (and the chocolate-dipped candied orange peels) have been a hit, so I bought a big bag of oranges with the intention of including them in my holiday cookie assortment. I doubled the recipe and candied away. But that meant several unpeeled oranges, that needed using.

I chose two recipes— an orange-date coffee cake and an orange bread— the first from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book and the second from the Joy of Cooking, that I wanted to try.

I put the orange-date coffee cake ingredients in the new mixer and went to town.

For the most part, I followed the recipe, though I used buttermilk instead of regular milk (I had some aging in the fridge and wanted to use it up). I’ve had a good experience cooking with buttermilk in the past— it makes the texture much smoother than 1 percent milk, which is what I used to use, or almond milk, which I’m more likely to do these days.

I’m very glad that I conscientiously hand-washed the new bowl and attachments of the KitchenAid mixer as the first step in making the treats, because I noticed grey streaks in the dough. I called mom over and we discussed whether to throw out the dough. She suggested proceeding with the recipe until I got farther in, and then evaluating again. When I got farther in, the grey streaks disappeared. It smelled fine, and otherwise behaved as expected. Her thought was that maybe the buttermilk reacted with something. It seems like there’s some precedent for KitchenAid stuff reacting— what I’ve seen online is relating to putting them through the dishwasher— but I can tell you that the coffee cake was good, we’ve eaten it a couple of times and felt no ill effects.

Instead of juicing the oranges and throwing away the pulp (this practice bothers me philosophically, because you’re keeping the sugar and throwing away the fiber), I tried juicing the fruit and putting the pulp through the food processor and adding it. It wasn’t a disaster, but it doesn’t disappear into the batter—you occasionally get a bit of orange pulp in the bread and it’s not entirely welcome, so I can’t say it was an unqualified success, either. I probably won’t do it, going forward. I found the dates a little elusive, so I’d be inclined to throw some more in there. I don’t keep walnuts on hand, so I threw the nuts I did have in, for the topping— peanuts and hazelnuts. Not bad, but the peanuts were saltier than was entirely welcome.

The coffee cake is good— moist and rich, the crunch topping is tasty.

I also made four mini orange loaves, using the recipe from The Joy of Cooking. I haven’t tried them, but they’re cute. I omitted nuts here, but did the pulp thing. I’ll be interested to see how they’re received. I used buttermilk here, too, but didn’t have the streaky dough.

I kept fairly close to the recipe on these, but going forward, I’d probably try to add dimension to either recipe (they were pretty close, in terms of ingredients and technique). The way I’ve done that recently was to add vanilla, for a smooth, rich bass note, and cardamom, for interest. I think they’d take serviceable recipes to the next level.

If you have flavors that pair well with orange, I’d love to hear about them. I know cranberry and chocolate can also be winners.


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