Orange You Glad To Discover This Cookie?

 A glass of OJ paired with Orange Butter Cookies.

There are dainty cookies. There are itty-bitty cookies. And there are delicate cookies you nibble while holding your pinkie finger in the air.

These Orange Butter Cookies are none of those things.

Indeed, if this cookie were on a playground, it would be the big, hulking bruiser you’d have to make way for fast.

As my husband’s co-worker Kathryn likens, “It’s a monster cookie.”

These cookies measure about 3 1/2 inches in diameter when baked. And I actually made them smaller than the recipe called for. Really!

You’re supposed to form them into balls, using a scant 1/2 cup measure. Me? I used a scant 1/4 cup measure instead, and still they came out pretty ginormous compared to most cookies I bake.

But the flavor is nothing to be afraid of. Buttery, and citrusy, these cookies are crispy on the edges and tender, cakey within. They have this old-fashioned quality about them, reminding me of cookies I ate as a kid that were so big and soft they made for the perfect after-school snack. Of course, the fact that you use your fingers to flatten the dough balls, leaving an impression of your digits after they bake, just adds to the kid-like charm.

The recipe is from “The Sweeter Side of Amy’s Bread” (Wiley). The book is by Amy Scherber, who launched Amy’s Bread bakery in New York City in 1992, and her Executive Pastry Chef Toy Kim Dupree.

Extras I added, but you don't necessarily have to.

When I tried this recipe, I took the opportunity to try three new products I had on hand. Instead of freshly grated orange zest in the dough (I lacked a fresh orange in the house, if you can believe that), I used orange peel granules from the Spice Hound, which sells at my local farmers’ markets and online. Even though the recipe didn’t call for it, I added 1 1/2 teaspoons of King Arthur’s Orange Emulsion, a concentrated orange flavoring stronger than regular extract. And instead of sprinkling the cookies with regular granulated sugar, I used Nielsen-Massey’s Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Sugar. The results were fabulous.

You don’t have to doctor the recipe with those extras like I did in order to have a soul-satisfying sweet. Indeed, in the recipe below, the only changes I made were to the size of the cookies and the baking time because I made them smaller. The original recipe makes 12 cookies; I made 15.

If you wish to make the belly-buster, behemoth-size cookies as in the original recipe, just measure them out using a scant 1/2-cup measure and bake for the original time of 17 minutes.

Just be warned, though, you might well need two hands to lift one of those gentle brutes.

Orange Butter Cookies

(makes 15 cookies)

1 3/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

1 2/3 cups cake flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/4 cups sugar, plus extra for topping before baking

1 cup unsalted butter, slightly softened

2 1/2 teaspoons orange zest, finely minced

1 large egg

2 egg yolks

Position one rack in the top third of the oven, one rack in the bottom third of the oven, and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with baking parchment.

In a bowl, add all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking soda, and salt, and whisk together.

In another bowl, using an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, cream together sugar, butter, and orange zest on medium speed for 2 minutes, or until light and fluffy, scraping sides and bottom of the bowl frequently. Gradually add eggs and egg yolks, mixing on medium speed until everything is well combined.

With the mixer on low speed, add dry ingredients in stages. Mix only until everything is well combined, scraping sides and bottom of the bowl frequently. There should not be any pockets of dry flour left in the dough.

Using a large soup spoon, a metal ice cream scoop, or your clean hands moistened with water, scoop out big balls of dough, placing six balls on each prepared cookie sheet. Use a scant 1/4 cup to estimate the size. Using three middle fingers of your hand, press firmly on the top of each ball to flatten it to a thickness of 1/2 inch. Allow dough to push up between your fingers so an imprint of valleys and ridges remains. If the dough is sticky, you may have to moisten your fingers slightly with cold water to keep them from sticking to the dough. Sprinkle tops of cookies generously with extra granulated sugar. They will spread a moderate amount during baking. Bake cookies for about 15-16 minutes, rotating cookie sheets halfway through the baking time. The cookies should be pale but baked all the way into the center. They should be soft, but be careful not to underbake them or the centers will be doughy.

Cool cookies on sheets for 5 minutes, then remove them to a rack and cool completely before storing.

Adapted from “The Sweeter Side of Amy’s Bread”

A cookie as big as the palm of your hand.

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Date: Wednesday, 18. March 2009 5:10
Trackback: Trackback-URL Category: Favorite Cookie Recipes, Fruit, General

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22 comments

  1. 1

    Wow, these cookies look amazing! I have to look for the orange peel granules and vanilla sugar you are using here. Great ingredients!

  2. 2

    These sound great, and your special ingredients look intriguing! I’m thinking of all the ways I could use those orange peel granules.

  3. 3

    These beautiful cookies must be very fragrant! Delicious!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  4. 4

    These look amazing – I love all the ways you incorporated orange into the cookie, and you can never go wrong with vanilla sugar.

  5. 5

    The cookies look great. Always on the hunt for a good cookie!!!

  6. 6

    Cookie monster, indeed! I love the ridges on them – perfect for getting a good grip for the first bite.

  7. 7

    Beautiful cookies! Nice flavorful delicate ingredients. I always love discovering new delicious little cookies to go along with my cup of tea or coffee! Thanks for this lovely recipe!

  8. 8

    I want one!!! now!

  9. 9

    The imprints look so cute. And those orange peel granules are interesting! We use so much fresh zest, so it’s cool to know there’s a dried variety of sorts out there.

  10. 10

    Wow, I love these ginormous cookies!! cld I do substitute the orange with lemon flavouring u think?? thanks!!

  11. 11

    Yum. I love big cookies. Never eat a cookie bigger than your head–but if it’s smaller, eat it right now. I can’t wait to try these. And I really want to order those granules online. I looked at the site, but I didn’t see them. Do you know if these granules are only available at the market or if they’re also available online?

  12. 12

    MMmm…I know these type of cookies don’t usually have chocolate chips, but would it be okay to add them?

  13. 13

    I’ve been craving a good cookie to go with tea, and this appears to be just the thing! Thanks for sharing

  14. 14

    Yes, I think lemon would be a really great substitute for the orange.

    Nick: As for chocolate chips, I think they go with anything and everything. What you could do is to divide the dough in half; then make one half of it WITH chocolate chips, and one half without. That way you could judge for yourself which you prefer.

    Mark: I would think that the granules would be available on the Web site. Why don’t you try sending an email inquiring about them? A very sweet woman runs the business, and she’s super helpful. So, I’m sure she’ll get back to you with a response quickly.

  15. 15

    I’ve never heard of orange cookies before, just lemon ones. I’d like to give this a try some day, thanks!

  16. 16

    These cookies sound really delicious!

  17. 17

    Butter cookies with orange do sound really good!

  18. 18

    i happened upon Amy’s bread in (the ironically located) hells kitchen last summer and ended up eating there every day, so im sure these cookies are tdf

  19. 19

    Yum…. love the monster cookies!

  20. 20

    Wow, Henry! You ate at Amy’s every day? Must be awesome, for sure. I hope to make it there one of these days for all those lovely baked goods.

  21. 21

    […] of Grand Marnier give them a perky, wake-me-up citrus jolt, even more so because I added some King Arthur Orange Emulsion that I happened to have on hand. The emulsion, of which I received a sample, is a concentrated […]

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