My kids love cookies. They're always asking for a cookie. The other day, I took the time to read through the ingredients on a bag of cookies and I was appalled. I mean cookies are basically fat, sugar and flour. Maybe some add-ins like chocolate chips or dried fruit. Maybe some leavening agent. Maybe some flavoring or extracts. Maybe even some food coloring. I get it. I'm not unreasonable! But the things in these cookies looked like something out of my chemistry book from back when I was in school! And don't get me started on to amount of shortening and unhealthy fats in the sandwich cookies!
I am not a health freak. We do eat junk food sometimes. I am just not comfortable with so much of artificial stuff and chemicals in something my kids eat EVERY DAY! Yes, we still buy cookies. But only when we have run out of homemade ones and I haven't had the time to make more. Apart from that, we have been enjoying homemade shortbreads, fudge cookies, and my kids' favorite - these pretty spritz cookies.
If you don't have a cookie press just shape them into 1 inch balls with your hands and lightly flatten them on the baking sheet.
Orange Spritz Cookies
Adapted from allrecipes.com
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp powdered sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Zest of half an orange
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1. In a large bowl, cream together the softened butter, powdered sugar and the salt until creamy and light using a spatula or a whisk. You could also use an electric or stand mixer, but it is really easy to do by hand.
2. Add the egg yolk and mix well until completely incorporated.
3. Whisk in the vanilla and the orange zest.
4. Mix in the flour and stir using a spatula until completely incorporated and no dry flour is seen.
5. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
6. Prepare your cookie sheet by lining it with Silpat or baking parchment paper.
7. Fit your cookie press with your plate of choice. I changed plates in between twice, making three designs.
8. Fill the cookie press 3/4 full with the dough and press the cookies out on the baking sheet with an inch between each cookie.
9. Bake in the preheated oven until the edges just start to turn golden brown. This doesn't take long at all - around 8-10 minutes. Keep an eye on the cookies after the 6 minute mark.
10. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack to cool completely.
11. Store in an airtight jar.
These cookies have just a hint of orange in them and that's just how we like it. If you want them more orange-y, you could use a little orange extract too. If you like the orange-chocolate combination, you could add a little cocoa powder to the dough. If it makes the dough too dry, you could always add a few drops of orange juice.
And when the kids want a sandwich cookie, we just sandwich them with a chocolate-hazelnut spread, with jam or with regular peanut butter. So yummy!
I've made these with just plain ol' vanilla extract, with lime zest, and with an awesome pumpkin spice mix. But my orange-loving daughter declares that these are the bestest. I hope you like them too!!