Chocolate chip cookies are so classic that one might ask, why mess with perfection? Well, I think my kumquat and chocolate chip cookies are the answer to that question. Citrus and chocolate are a great pair in desserts, and this is no exception. The zing of the rind really enhances the creamy quality of the chocolate.
I decided on kumquat preserves because I still had one jar leftover from last season (I'm making more today!). For the cookie dough, I mixed butter, brown sugar, finely chopped fresh kumquat zest and whole wheat flour for texture and a little nutrition. It provides a nice canvas for the morsels of chocolates and chunks of preserved kumquats.
If you're still skeptical that kumquats can enhance the flavor of chocolate chip cookies, there's really only one solution; make them yourself! You won't be disappointed.
Servings: 32 cookies
2 eggs, at room temperature
¼ cup granulated sugar
4 fresh kumquats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened to room temperature
1 cup brown sugar, tightly packed
3/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 ounces preserved kumquats with their syrup
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Sifting the dry ingredients: In a bowl, combine both flours, baking powder and salt. Sift all the dry ingredients.
Prepping the fresh kumquats: Wash the kumquats and thinly slice them using a sharp chef's knife. Discard the seeds and the white center membrane (if any). Very finely chop the kumquat slices.
Making chocolate chip cookie dough:
In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs with the granulated sugar for about 5-6 minutes. You'll get a pale, yellow foam and the texture of the eggs will be thicker. Add the kumquat zest.
Alternately add the dry ingredients and butter to the eggs and blend with your fingers until the cookie dough comes together. Add the chocolate chips.
Cut 16 preserved kumquat halves in half and set them aside. Finely chop the rest. Add the finely chopped kumquats and their syrup to the cookie dough. Mix well.
Place a silicone mat or a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Spoon the cookie dough about 2 tablespoons at a time onto the prepared baking sheet (or use a cookie scoop). Make sure to space the cookies about 2 inches apart so they don't touch each other as they expand while baking. Top each cookie with quartered kumquat preserves.
Bake for about 14-15 minutes, depending on how soft you prefer them. Don't over-bake them; you want them to be moist and chewy. Remove from the oven. Transfer the cookies to cooling racks, using a spatula. Allow to stand for 10 minutes so they get a little firmer.
Enjoy with a tall glass of sharbat (pink-colored Indian milk drink).
Sifting dry ingredients helps get rid of lumps of flour and aerates the mixture when liquid is added. It's an important step for all your baking so you get nice, soft cookies.
I used the zest from fresh kumquats from my garden. If you don't have any, you could use any other citrus zest, orange extract or simply pure vanilla extract.
I used Guittard semi-sweet chocolate chips. I bought them at a local store called the Milk Pail Market. The address is 2585 California Street, Mountain View, CA 94040.
A pinch of salt brings out the flavor of the dessert and enhances its sweetness.
You can also store them up to 4 weeks in the freezer for last-minute surprise guests. Just form mounds of cookie dough and place them on a tray. Chill the un-baked cookies in the freezer for about 1 hour (this step will make the storing of the cookies much easier). Once hardened, stack the un-baked cookies with parchment squares between them to prevent them from sticking to each other. Place the stack in a large resealable bag (remove as much air as possible from the bag). I think it's the best way to keep the flavors without getting freezer burn. Also, don't forget to label your food with the date!
You can store the baked cookies in an airtight metallic tin for up to a week to keep them moist. If you like them firmer, just let them cool out longer or store them in a regular cookie jar.