Saturday, January 2, 2021

Saffron and Orange Cookies

Have a happy holiday with these two bite Orange and Saffron Cookies. Soft and full of exotic flavour from blood orange zest, saffron and orange flower water, they'll be a real treat even after the holidays are over!

I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday season (and are continuing to do so if you're still off of work and school!). No matter how long or short the actual holidays seem to be, the ghosts of cookies past seem to remain prevalent on the table for most of January simply because I (and mom) make so many kinds. These cookies were a sleeper hit over Christmas 2019, so even though last year's celebrations were tiny I made sure to whip up a batch for doorstep delivery. 

We always have multiple varieties of oranges around the house in the wintertime, but by far blood oranges are my favourite. There is something about that shockingly garnet hue they have! Their Spanish origin (and my general love of falling into rabbit holes about cuisines) led me to a random recipe from Midwest Living that I just had to try out - with a few changes of course. I love the texture cream cheese lends to cookies along with the slight tang, and paired with the sweet-tart orange juice, saffron and orange flower water my kitchen smelled nothing short of heavenly. The oat flour addition (the first time around) came out of desperation - I ran out of all purpose - but I have to say it made the cookies have the perfect texture and just a tiny hint of flavour. When I made the batch again, I added it as well because, why not?

One of my favourite things about these cookies is that they pack a ton of flavour into a two-bite drop. The batch only makes about two dozen, but you won't feel the need to eat them by the handful - one or two will do (especially with tea - they are SO NICE with tea). You can also roll the dough into a log and slice it before stamping or docking it, or scoop all the cookies and freeze so you can only bake off what you need. They do keep quite a while though - not that they'll last too long anyway!

Here's to a wonderful new year!

Saffron and Orange Cookies
Adapted from Midwest Living
Makes ~24
2 tbsp orange juice (I used blood orange)
½ tsp saffron threads, crushed
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tsp orange flower water
3 oz butter, softened
3 oz cream cheese, softened
3 oz shortening
¾ cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 tbsp orange zest (I used blood orange)
2 cups flour
1/4 cup oat flour (or more AP flour)
  1. Heat the orange juice and saffron in a small cup in the microwave until just steaming. Let stand 15 minutes.
  2. Stir vanilla and orange flower water into the orange juice mixture and set aside. 
  3. Beat butter, cream cheese, shortening and sugar until well blended. 
  4. Beat in the saffron mixture and orange zest until fully combined.  
  5. Beat in the flours to form a smooth dough similar to chocolate chip cookie consistency.
  6. Chill, covered, at least 1 hour and up to 48.
  7. Heat oven to 350°F.
  8. Scoop tablespoons of dough (I used a disher) onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper and flatten with the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar. Mark the tops with a knife in a sunburst pattern.
  9. Bake for 11-15 minutes or until edges are firm. 
  10. Cool on the sheets for 15 minutes, then transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

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