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Church Lady Orange Cookies

stack of orange cookiesOn January 28th, I wanted to make cookies. More than the sweet treat, I wanted to be comforted by baking something delicious and familiar. Standing in my way was one impediment: we had no butter and no plans to replace it until Pantry Month was over.

Because I didn't really want to experiment with the fats I did have on hand, I was left with just two recipes in my stash that required no butter: gingersnaps and orange cookies. Given that I did have an orange and they are currently seasonal (in Florida) I decided to make a batch of orange cookies.

As it turns out, these cookies are perfect for a child's help. First Lillian zested an orange on a microplane. Yes, microplanes can take off a skin layer in an instant. Practice with your child and they too can handle this task by age five. After moving the orange over the rasp, Lil juiced the orange.

child shaving orange peel juicing orange

Meanwhile, I creamed sugar and shortening in the Kitchenaid. I use non-hydrogenated organic shortening, about the most 'real' manmade fat you can get. I added the egg, juice and rind, and milk. I was also out of vanilla and missed the flavor. Don't omit it unless you have to.

Lil measured and stirred the flour, baking powder, soda, and salt. I added the dry ingredients and poured them into the creamed mixture. After a short stir the dough was ready.

child scooping cookie dough orange cookie icing

Lil tried her hand at using the ice cream scoop to measure out cookies. She wasn't very successful and gave up. I finished the measuring and put the cookies in the oven.

While they were cooking, I whisked up the icing with the remaining orange juice and zest. The thick icing works best when just thin enough to spread. It melts just slightly over the cookies and then hardens for a slight crunch on top of the cookie.

finished orange cookies frosted orange cookies recipe

These cookies are slightly unusual with the orange flavor and they keep very well. Perhaps these reasons are why the recipe came to me: I requested it from an elderly woman at my parents' church who used to bring these to after service social hours.

She made them with pure bleached sugar and white flour which gives an angelic quality to the final cookie. My 'dark side' version with white whole wheat flour and unbleached sugar actually has a taste advantage, I think, with a more wholesome flavor from the whole wheat. Whether you choose the heavenly white or nutritious earthly variety, these cookies are sinfully delicious.

orange cookies recipe

[print_this]Orange Cookies makes approximately two dozen, can be doubled

1 cup sugar 1/2 cup shortening 1 egg 1/2 large orange zest and juice 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/4 cup milk or buttermilk 3 cups white whole wheat flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon salt for the frosting: 3 cups powdered sugar 1/2 large orange zest and juice 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 1-3 teaspoons milk or water as necessary

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. 2. Zest and juice orange, divide into two parts. 3. Cream sugar and shortening with kitchenaid or hand mixer. 4. Add egg and vanilla. Mix very well. 5. Pour in half of an orange juice and zest and milk. Mix. 6. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, soda, and salt. 7. Gently stir together flour mixture with creamed mixture. Do not over mix. 8. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a silpat or parchment lined cookie sheet. 9. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly brown. 10. Meanwhile, whisk together powdered sugar, orange juice and rind and vanilla. Add milk or water by half teaspoonfuls until icing is thick but spreadable. 11. Remove cookies from oven and allow to cool. 12. Spread icing over the top half of the cookie. [/print_this]

PS. Lil wants me to introduce you to her blog. She's telling me what to write over there every few days. So far it's mostly about homeschooling activities we're doing together. Check out Lil's Dot Com.

Added to Simple Lives Thursday and It's a Keeper.