Suzi's Blog

Orange Cookies from One Sweet Cookie

orange cookies

I sat down in the chair. No, I slumped. The chair was leather, warm, cushy.

“You look upset,” my therapist said.

“No,” I said. “Not upset. Just confused. Well, maybe upset.” I raised my hands in exasperation. “I don’t know.”

“What’s bothering you?”

“My wife.” I said it low and slow.

“Suzen?” He was surprised.

“I don’t get respect. She does not support me emotionally. It’s embarrassing.” I stopped. Now I was angry, but the therapist was puzzled. I’d never raised Suzen-issues before.

“Can you be specific?”

“Yes, I told her my New Year’s Resolution and she laughed at me. Told me ‘No way.’”

“And the resolution was?”

“I told her I could go without chocolate for a month.” I shifted in my chair. “I said it and I meant it and I can do it. Look,” I continued, “I even made her a plate of the most wonderful orange cookies, just to show how it would start out. She just took a bite and laughed. Cruelly.”

“How did that make you feel?” my therapist asked.

“Oh, Lord, how would you feel if you said something sincerely to your wife and she just dissed you?”

“Here,” he pushed a box of Kleenex towards me.

“I don’t need that,” I said. “I’m not going to cry.”

“No, I know that,” he said. “It’s just, well, you need to wipe your lip. There’s some chocolate frosting there, to the left. With the tiny golden sprinkles, I’ll guess you have found the new cupcake place around the corner.” He paused. “Why don’t we discuss your issues regarding will power. It’s come up before, hasn’t it?”

The chair was not deep enough. It was a very long 45 minutes.

Now, the orange cookies are really good. Really good. And they are from a brilliantly conceived new book: One Sweet Cookie by Tracey Zabar. A dualist with careers in baking and jewelry design, Tracey has compiled cookie gems from the best chefs in New York City. Here you will find favorites from Mario Batali, Todd English, and a battalion of magically talented chefs.

This orange cookie comes from the Italian wonder Lidia Bastianich. The cookies have a citrus bite sheathed in a sweet orange glaze. Adorable. Potentially addicting.

Most of the cookies in One Sweet Cookie do not contain chocolate:

  • Pineapple Tea Cakes from Fancois Payard
  • Peanut Butter Cookies from Landmarc
  • Punitons [shortbreads] from Dorie Greenspan
  • Sugar-Topped Molasses Spice Cookies from Laurent Tourondel
  • Sugar’s Hungarian Crescents from Angel Pinkerton of Eleven Madison Park
  • Fig Squares from Karen DeMaso of Locande Verde

If you have made any New Year’s resolutions, and if your wife is supportive, then here is the tool to share with her. I think you are most fortunate.

Orange Cookies

Yield: about 80 cookies

Cookie Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 6 ounces (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest

Glaze Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
  • ¼ cup fresh orange juice, or as needed

 

Cookie Preparation:

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl, and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between additions. Add the vanilla, orange juice, lemon juice, and orange zest. Beat to combine. With the mixer off, add the flour mixture and mix just until combined. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Roll the dough into 4 logs, each about 1 ½ inches in diameter and 10 to 12 inches long. Chill or freeze the logs, uncovered, until firm enough to cut without losing their shape.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line three half-sheet pans with parchment paper.

Cut the logs into ½-inch rounds and place on the prepared pans. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the cookies are golden. Cool completely on wire racks.

Glaze Preparation and Cookie Assembly:

Sift the confectioner’s sugar into a bowl and whisk in the orange juice to make a smooth glaze.

Dip a cookie in the glaze, which should form a thin layer. If necessary, adjust the consistency of the glaze with more juice or confectioners’ sugar. Repeat the dipping process , and then let glazed cookies set on wire racks.

Source [Recipe and Picture]: One Sweet Cookie by Tracey Zabar

Homemade Orange Liqueur to Save Space and Relationships

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In the Catskills, you learn the sound of animals. The peck, peck and hissing of a wild turkey as she fights with her own image in a window pane. You’d think the window was about to break.

Or the snort of a mountain lion. No, they can’t growl. They snort. How would you recognize it? Oh, trust me. When we had one in our front yard, and Suzen and I were hugging each other like our first night together, the conversation went something like this:

“You go look to see if it is still there.”

“You go.”

“No, you.”

“YOU!”

“Why me?”

“Because you are the girl.”

A month ago, there was another sound but I knew the species: wifus frustratedus. Yes, Suzen was in the panty and unhappy.

“What is it?” I poked my head in.

“This!” Her hand was on the shelf she has for vinegars and olive oils. We don’t have enough to open up a museum, but we could do a serious popup.

“Well,” I reached forward.

“No,” she corrected, “this.” Her hand now pointed to the shelf above. The one where I store supplies for cocktail research. “Is there an orange liqueur that you don’t own?”

“Maybe one. From Albania,” I admitted.

“I need space. Can’t you do something?”

“Actually, Suzen, I began the solution yesterday. It will just take a month.”

“A month? A MONTH?” Eyes rolled as she walked past. She did not hear my explanation, but I had one.

And now, that month has passed, and I do have a solution. I can eliminate most [but not all!] of those orange liqueurs. And, without ego, I want to say: this:

I made my own orange liqueur and it is wonderful, awesome, excellent.

How? I followed the recipe for Triple Sec in Luscious Liqueurs by A. J. Rathbun. This slim volume has recipes for over 80 home-made liqueurs. I’m working my way through, page by page and this orange gem is the first to complete the process. Each recipe takes, from start to finish, several weeks. Each week and each step is definitely worth the effort.

While the book calls this Triple Sec, I am calling it Orange Liqueur. Triple Sec is, by reputation, the lowest common denominator of orange-flavored liqueurs. This creation is the equal of fine liqueurs, such as my favorite, Mandarin Napoleon.

I’ve enjoyed this liqueur on its own, at room temperature and chilled. In a margarita, it’s sublime. The flavor is sweet and not complex: just pure orange intensity, with none of those chemically aftertastes that can come with, say, conventional Triple Sec.

Of course, since it is so good, I’ll need to make a lot more. And that will mean I need shelf space. I wonder how best to explain this to Suzen.

For the vodka to use here, go with a moderately priced brand. You don’t need expensive, but you want underlying quality.

Homemade Orange Liqueur

Yield: a bit over 1 quart

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 medium to large oranges, as sweet as possible
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups vodka

Preparation:

Wash, dry, and peel 2 of the oranges, trimming away any white pith. Put the peels in a glass container with a tight-fitting lid.

Juice all the oranges. You need 1 cups of orange juice.

Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan, stir well, and turn on the heat to medium. Slowly add the orange juice, stirring all the while. Raise the heat to medium-high, and bring the mixture just to a boil. Lower the hat a bit and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool completely.

Add the orange syrup you just made and the vodka to the peels, stir well, and seal. Place in a cool dry spot away from sunlight. Let the liqueur stay calm, except for occasional swirlings for 1 month.

If it is really pulpy, filet the liqueur first through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl. Otherwise, just strain through a double layer of cheesecloth into a pitcher or other easy-pouring vessel. Strain again through 2 new layers of cheesecloth into a 1 large bottle or a number of small bottles or jars.

Source: Luscious Liqueurs by A. J. Rathbun