Monday, December 22, 2014

Grandma's Orange Cookies

When I was a little girl, my grandma made these amazing Orange Cookies. Or at least I remember them being amazing. They were always one of my favorites. But then grandma stopped making them. Then my aunt stopped making them. I copied the recipe down, but somehow, they never made the final cut for the holiday cookie tray. They came close a couple times but lost out to Orange-Coconut Cookies and Biscotti All'arancia.
This year, I made them. No one got a vote. I just started making them. I handed my mom an orange and a grater and told her to start zesting. These are filled with the zest and juice from an orange. They smell so wonderfully citrusy.

A secret - this is an older recipe, from the 70's, and so, like many of my cookie recipes from when I was a child, it calls for shortening. That's one reason they always lost in the competition to make it on the cookie tray. SP gets twitchy if I bake cookies with shortening. To be fair, the recipe calls for shortening & butter, not all shortening or all butter flavored shortening, but he still twitches.

I think he forgot that these have shortening. Mom and I made these while he was at work. Later that night, after he tried one, I asked what he thought, and he said he really liked them. I got a little smile and he asked why I had "that look" on my face. I refused to tell him for fear he'd stop eating the cookies.

These turned out a bit taller/fatter than I recall but they still have great orange flavor. SP suggested that next time we substitute orange extract for the vanilla extract. The recipe calls for frosting the cookies with a frosting made with the zest and juice from a second orange, but my dad, my mom, SP, and I all voted down frosting on top because we all think cookies with frosting/glaze are a little too sugary-sweet.
I'll definitely make these again. They aren't exactly like I remember my grandma's orange cookies, but they're still darn tasty and darn easy to make.

Grandma's Orange Cookies

3 cups flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tbsp grated orange peel
2 tbsp fresh orange juice
1 tsp vanilla

Mix together flour & baking soda, set aside. Cream butter, shortening, and sugar. Add egg, zest, and juice. Blend in flour mixture and vanilla. Drop by spoonfuls (tablespoonfuls, or use a cookie scoop) on ungreased cookie sheets and bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Frosting: Mix 2 cups powdered sugar with the juice and zest from one large orange. Frost cooled cookies.

Makes 3-4 dozen

1 comment:

  1. If you were to use all butter instead of the butter-shortening combo, they'll likely turn out flatter (and possibly slightly crisper as well if baked longer, on the off chance that's desired). Since butter is ~16% water though, to put in the same amount of total fat, you'd probably want to add something like 1 C + 1 1/2 tbsp butter (and then also remember that you have that extra ~ 1 1/2 tbsp water in the recipe that may or may not need to be accounted for elsewhere). Probably best to do such experimentation at some random time in the middle of the year and not your holiday cookie baking. :p