What seems like ages ago, I made a recipe for Blood Orange Cream Cookies based on a recipe by chef/photographer extraordinaire Aran Goyoaga. It really was a lifetime ago! Just looking at the old blog post, I am brought back in time. I took the photos in the spare bedroom we used as an office in a crazy little house we rented. That was the house where I really started honing my photography and cooking skills. It’s a good memory. And now we are making new good memories where we now live in Boise.
A lot of time has passed and I’m in a very different place now, both figuratively and physically. We’ve moved several times. My small toddlers are now in middle school. We have a little dog. My husband is in grad school for the second time. The days seem so long, but the years really do pass by quickly. Those were good years, and these are good years too.
Those big kids I have now absolutely adored these blood orange cream cookies. It used to be that I’d have plenty of treats to pass along to my neighbors and now they disappear as quickly as I make them. I joke that my son has hollow legs and that’s where he puts everything he devours. Teenage boy appetites are no joke though. Ha!
Revisiting this recipe for orange cream cookies gave me a chance to do some tweaking. Those other cookies, while delicious, didn’t look as pretty as Aran’s. We eat with our eyes, too, and I wanted to make these as pretty as I could. (Aran’s still look prettier – haha!) I was really happy with the way these turned out.
My grandma’s shortbread recipe is very beloved. I have used it many times with great success. I wanted the cookie part of the sandwiches to have the same sandy, crispy, buttery texture as her shortbread, but I wanted to pipe it like in Aran’s recipe. The egg yolk was definitely needed. The cookies piped easily and held together perfectly. Of course I could have stopped there, but I’m always trying to guild the lily.
Meringue buttercream is my FAVORITE. I can’t be bothered with powdered sugar frostings anymore. They are just too sweet for my taste most of the time. But making meringue buttercream or any of the egg-based buttercream recipes takes a little bit more time to make. Awhile back I came up with a shortcut that works amazingly well and totally mimics both the flavor and texture of meringue buttercream. It’s nothing more than a jar of marshmallow creme and butter. That’s it! And then, of course, it can be flavored or tinted as desired. So if you’re someone who likes that type of buttercream, but feels intimidated by making it from scratch or you just don’t feel like taking the time to do it, this is your new BFF. It’s also a little more stable than the real stuff, which is good if you’re making something ahead of time and need it to hold up, like a wedding cake on a hot, humid day. ;)
Enjoy blood oranges while they are in season! For more blood orange recipes check these out:
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- Pinch sea salt
- 1 cup (8 ounces) salted butter, slightly colder than room temperature
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar, sifted
- 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
- Finely grated zest of 1 medium blood orange
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon pure orange extract or oil
- ¼ teaspoon pure almond extract (optional)
- One recipe Blood Orange Buttercream (recipe follows)
- Adjust oven racks so one is in the middle and the other is in the lower ⅓ of the oven. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- Measure, then sift the flour and cornstarch in a fine mesh sieve to remove any clumps of flour. Add the salt and set aside.
- Place the slightly cold butter into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or use a hand-mixer. Beat the butter on low speed just until creamy. It does not need to be fluffy; just beat until there are no lumps present. It will soften a little, but if butter is too soft or greasy, place bowl in the fridge for a few minutes. It's important that the butter is neither too warm or too cold.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the powdered sugar. Beat again on low speed just until creamy and combined, but not light and fluffy.
- Add the egg yolk and extracts. Beat again, scraping down the sides as needed until the mixture looks creamy.
- Stop mixer and scrape down sides. Add the flour mixture all at once, then start the mixer on low speed until the flour starts to mix in. Raise to medium speed for a few seconds. Stop mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle, and using a silicone spatula, fold the dough over several times in the bowl to finish mixing. This dough should not be over-mixed or the cookies may not hold their shape well, or may rise and fall in the oven. The dough will be soft and sort of sticky, but not runny.
- Place the soft dough into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe 1- to 1½-inch rosettes onto the lined baking sheets leaving about 1½-inches between. The cookies won't spread much, so you may get as many as 24-30 rosettes on each baking sheet. If the dough is too soft from the heat of your hands, place the baking sheet in the freezer or fridge for a few minutes just until dough feels slightly cold to the touch.
- Bake both sheets for 5 minutes, then switch the trays top to bottom and rotate front to back for even baking. Bake for an additional 5-7 minutes, or until the cookies are just barely golden and set around the edges. Let cookies cool completely on the baking sheets. Store in an airtight container until ready to assemble.
- To assemble, make sure there are an even number of cookies (eating the odd one out is totally acceptable) and match them up so they are evenly sized. Flip over half of the cookies. Pipe or spread a little of the orange buttercream on the cookies that are flipped over. Add the matching top cookie and gently press down. Serve immediately, or chill until ready to serve, up to several hours. (This helps keep the buttercream from melting.) Cookies without the buttercream will last several months in an airtight container. Cookies with buttercream will keep for a few days.
2 cups jarred marshmallow fluff
16 tablespoons (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons and slightly cold
Finely grated zest of 1 medium blood orange
1-2 tablespoons fresh squeezed blood orange juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure orange extract or oil
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract (optional)
Place the marshmallow fluff into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Or use a hand-mixer. Beat on low speed for a few seconds.
With the mixer running, add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time. Stop and scrape down sides as needed. Beat on medium-high speed until light, fluffy, and creamy.
Lower speed and add the extracts and pinch salt all at once. The buttercream will separate. Raise the speed again to medium-high and keep beating; it will come back together.
Use immediately or transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.