Orange Butter Cookies
Adapted from “The Sweeter Side of Amy’s Bread” by Amy Scherber and Toy Kim Dupree
Time: 1 hour
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 2/3 cups cake flour or more all-purpose flour (cake flour gives a finer texture)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
2 packed teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
1 large egg plus 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
FOR THE ICING (SEE NOTE):
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 to 4 tablespoons whole milk
2 drops almond or vanilla extract
Pinch fine salt.
1. Position two oven racks in top and bottom third of oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a bowl, whisk flours, baking soda and salt together. In a mixer, cream together the sugar, butter and orange zest at medium speed until light and smooth, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of bowl frequently. Add egg and mix. Add one egg yolk and mix. Add remaining egg yolk and mix. Stir in dry ingredients just until combined.
3. 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.
4. Bake about 15 minutes, rotating cookie sheets halfway through. 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.
5. When ready to serve, make icing: 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 confectioners’ sugar into a bowl. Whisk in 2 tablespoons milk. Whisk in more milk if needed to make mixture thin enough to spread. Add extract, salt and zest, and whisk to combine.
6. 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.
Yield: About 4 dozen cookies.
Note: Instead of icing, cookies can be sprinkled with coarse crystal sugar before baking.