Friday, December 30, 2011

Orange Butter Cookies

For wealth in the New Year. 
These cookies really made me think of the New Year when I was making them. It was as though oranges made me think of a new start or at least of January. Then it hit me why. In the building, I worked at in Arizona there would be bowls of oranges on desks for the calendar new year and the Chinese new year. I thought it was simply because oranges were the main fruit in season, until one day I asked. That is when I was informed that oranges are a symbol of wealth for the Chinese. I will be eating these cookies into the new year!

Orange Butter Cookies
1 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
5/8 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter
Zest from half a large navel orange
1 large egg
orange juice from half of orange
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 to 4 Tablespoons milk
2 drops vanilla extract
couple squeezes of orange juice
zest of half orange

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper or slipmat. In a bowl, whisk flour, baking soda and salt together. In a mixer, cream together the sugar, butter and orange zest at medium speed. Scrape down the sides of bowl frequently. Add egg and mix. Add vanilla extract and orange juice and mix. Stir in dry ingredients just until combined.
Scoop tablespoons of dough onto parchment, leaving more than 1 inch between cookies. Press each one down lightly with 2 fingers to flatten to a thickness of 1/2 inch. Leave any ridges and valleys on top of cookie intact, but smooth the edges.
Bake about 10-15 minutes. Cookies should be pale but baked all the way through. Cool on sheets 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack and cool before storing in airtight containers up to 1 week.
When ready to serve, make glaze: Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Peel orange, being careful to remove only outer orange zest, and cut into thin strips. Blanch in boiling water 1 minute; drain.
Sift powered sugar into a bowl. Whisk in milk a Tablespoons before. Whisk in more milk if needed to make mixture thin enough to spread. Add extract, juice, zest, and whisk to combine.

Place cookies on a rack and drizzle icing over each one (make sure there is some orange zest in each spoonful). Icing will settle into cookie crevices; let harden.

Adapted from New York Times

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