Happy holidays, fellow cookie aficionados. This week I am taking a break from the book routine for a special holiday edition of Cookies with Mr. T. When were last visiting family, Jess was telling her mother how much she loves the Pillsbury orange rolls (these bad boys), but that we cannot find them anywhere in Brooklyn. Her mother gave us a recipe for orange drop cookies which she said replicates the flavor quite well. As we were hosting some friends for Thanksgiving last week, and the other 463572 things we were making weren’t enough, we decided (or was it that Jess decided for me?) to make these cookies as well. I must say, my mother-in-law was right; they do replicate that flavor pretty well.
Okay, here’s what you need:
1 1/2 cups brown sugar 1 tablespoon grated orange peel 3 cups flour 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 cup butter 2 eggs 1/2 teaspoon salt 3/4 cup buttermilk
And for the frosting: 1 tablespoon grated orange peel 3 tablespoons orange juice 3 tablespoons margarine 3 cups sifted powdered sugar
1. Cream brown sugar and butter. As with other recipes, soften the butter or leave it out for a bit to get soft.
2. Add eggs, orange peel, and vanilla, and beat until fluffy. This all went smoothly, except that our grater left me with large chunks of orange peel, which isn’t ideal. Sometimes when eating one of the cookies, I will get a bit of orange peel. It didn’t ruin the cookies or anything, but I’d recommend grating them as finely as possible, or maybe even chopping them up if the bits are too big.
3. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add this to the creamed mixture alternately with the buttermilk, beating after each addition. Now, if you’re like me, you may have collected all of your ingredients and then been like, “Man, I don’t have any buttermilk.” Well, fear not, I have found the solution, thanks to google and a website called frugalliving.about.com. Just pour 3/4 of a tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup and then add enough milk to bring the liquid to the 3/4-cup line. Let this stand for five minutes and you now have a buttermilk substitute (just make sure that you don’t use the last of the lemon juice that your wife needs for her cheeseball). When you finish all of this mixing, you will have a soft dough. It won’t be as thick and solid as some cookie doughs (i.e. you couldn’t roll it out with a rolling pin), but it will be thicker than a batter.
4. Drop onto a cookie sheet, ungreased, and bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. While they are baking, combine the orange peel, orange juice, and margarine for your frosting and stir in the powdered sugar. When you remove the cookies, frost them while they are still warm.
We really enjoyed these cookies, as did our guests. They are light and fluffy, almost cake like, and the frosting is delicious, as it sweet and has a nice orange flavor. These were a great holiday treat, though they’d really be great year-round.