Unbelievably, this year, I’ve been drawn away from chocolate cookies toward citrus-y cookies! I know, there are Peanut Butter Blossoms in my (baking) future, but so far I’ve been working on something entirely different.
Again, The Boston Globe’s Classic Holiday Cookie article is my source. Three bakes in and every single one has been a winner! Today’s recipe for Natale Cookies comes from Linda Marino and is a great nod to my ethnic heritage. Can Feast of the Seven Fishes be far behind?
adapted by Linda Marino
Ingredients for cookies:
- 2 1/2 cups flour, plus extra for sprinkling
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
- 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon orange extract
Ingredients for Icing
- 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons milk (I used Flor d’Sicilia in place of OJ – about 1/2 tsp; and substituted the other tsp of OJ with milk)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons orange juice
- 2 tablespoons rainbow nonpareils or sprinkles or colored sugar, for decorating
- In a bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and baking powder to blend.
- In an electric mixer, cream the butter and cream cheese at medium speed until well combined. Add thesugar and beat until smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla and orange extracts.
- With the mixer set on its lowest speed, blend in the flour mixture just until no white patches show. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours or until the dough is cold.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- On lightly floured counter, pinch off a generous teaspoon of dough. Roll it under your palm into a rope about 6 inches long. Gently knot the rope to create a round. Set knots on the baking sheets with the ends tucked under, about 1 inch apart. Continue rolling and shaping knots until all the dough is used.
- Bake the cookies for 20 minutes, or until they are set and starting to brown. Transfer the parchment sheets to wire racks; leave the cookies to cool.
- Make the icing: Sift the confectioners’ sugar into a small bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of the milk and 1 teaspoon of the orange juice and stir until the mixture forms a smooth icing. Add the remaining milk and orange juice and stir until the icing falls easily from a spoon.
- Remove the parchment sheets from the wire rack. Set 1 rack on a rimmed baking sheet.
- Pick up a cookie, turn it upside down, and dip it into the icing. Set it right side up on the wire rack. Continue until all the cookies are dipped. Sprinkle with nonpareils, sprinkles, or colored sugar. Leave to cool completely