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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Cookie of the Month 3: Orange-Macadamia Nut Cookies

I believe I promised you cookies - well, here they are! For June's Cookie of the Month, I took a cue from last week's 100-degree temps and incorporated some tropical flavors.

This is a recipe I've been making since high school, and they were probably the first cookie I made that was somewhat involved (aka, not a chocolate chip or drop-sugar cookie). When I started preparing the ingredients, my mom thought I was crazy - you might think you're losing it too, when you see the amount of cornstarch and powdered sugar in the DOUGH. Yep that's right, in the dough itself...but don't worry, the end result tastes like magic. Melt-in-your-mouth cookies with crunchy macadamias and an orange juice punch that always reminds me of spring vacations in Florida with my family.

I always try to use fresh-squeezed juice for these guys, usually from the same orange I use for the zest. Waste not, want not as they always say - one normal sized orange yields about 4 tablespoons of juice if you're measuring.

A word of warning about this dough - because it has so much powdered sugar and cornstarch, the amount of dry ingredients looks deceptively large. If it seems dry after following the recipe, use extreme caution in adding extra liquid, because you'll end up with a sticky dough much more quickly than you would with other cookie recipes.

... I am pretty sure that one of the best parts of baking is having an excuse to make a giant mess all over your kitchen counter.

Little dough nubbins, ready to get squashed and go into the oven! This was the part that I think struck my mom as a little labor intensive - you coat the dough balls with granulated sugar and then press them into circles with the bottom of a drinking glass. I think she just found it excessively nitpicky - but the tops are much more even that way.

I'm a stickler for detail...although I did take a bit of a shortcut from the original recipe, which said to dip the glass in the sugar and then press the cookie down with the sugar-coated glass. This is just a pain in the a$$ because sugar does not stick to glass and it gets everywhere except on the cookie - so I decided to roll the balls in sugar instead. Makes so much more sense. I digress. Look at the pretty cookies.

From Better Homes and Gardens

For the cookies:

- 4 c all purpose flour
- 2 c sifted powdered sugar
- 1 c cornstarch
- 2 c butter
- 1 c chopped macadamia nuts
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 T orange zest
- 4-6 T orange juice
- granulated sugar (for coating)

For the icing:
- 2 c sifted powdered sugar
- 3 T softened butter
- 1 T orange zest
- 2-3 T orange juice (enough to make the icing spreadable)

In a large bowl, combine the flour, powdered sugar and cornstarch. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the nuts. In a small bowl, combine the egg yolks, 1 T orange zest and 4 T of the orange juice and add to flour mixture. Stir until moistened. If necessary, add a little more juice.

On a lightly floured surface (or in the bowl still... if you're me...) knead the dough until it forms a ball. Shape dough into 1-1/4 inch balls. Roll one side of each ball in the granulated sugar, and arrange the balls on a cookie sheet covered with parchment or a silpat. Flatten to 1/4 inch thickness by pressing with the bottom of a glass.

Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes or until the edges begin to brown. Transfer to a plate or wire rack to cool, and then frost with orange frosting.


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  2. Orange-Macadamia Nut Cookies are delicious. Thanks to you for creating a great post


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