Orange Spice Cookies are a natural offshoot of my Fig Linzer Cookies. If you’re not feeling like a sandwich cookie or if you are looking for a flavor profile different than many sugar cookies, these Orange Spice Cookies are a delicious alternative for cut out cookies. I made these specifically for Hanukkah, but you can use any cookie cutters and make them for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, or any occasion!
How to Make Orange Spice Cookies
1. Sift and Whisk Dry Ingredients
Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Sifting the dry ingredients lightly aerates them, contributing to the crumb of the cookies. Give them a light whisk too to make sure the ingredients are well combined.
2. Cream the Butter and Sugar
This is easily accomplished with an electric mixer. A stand mixer will be faster than a hand mixer. It will take a good 5 minutes to get the two ingredients creamed together, meaning that it is light and fluffy. About half way through, add in the orange zest. You can certainly add the zest in the beginning. I just like to get the butter and sugar going on their own before I add the zest. I suspect it makes no material difference though.
3. Mix in the Yolks and Milk
Add one yolk at a time, mixing until fully incorporated before adding the second one. Again, mix until fully incorporated. Add the milk and mix until fully incorporated.
4. Mix in the Dry Ingredients
You can use the mixer, but you want to be careful not to overmix the dough once the flour is added, as you risk over-developing the gluten, which will result in a less than satisfying cookie. I therefore like to mix the dry ingredients in by hand and follow up with a quick run in the mixer, if necessary.
5. Roll Out and Refrigerate
The dough may be a little crumbly — that is ok! Mound it together on a piece of parchment paper and shape it as best you can into a rectangle or oval. Place a piece of parchment on top of it, and use a rolling pin to roll the dough out to approximately ⅛ inch thick. The shape and length do not matter. The goal is to get the dough spread out evenly to ⅛ inch thickness throughout. Slide the bottom parchment onto a baking sheet, and place the entire package in the refrigerator for at least one hour. The baking sheet will ensure that the dough stays flat.
6. Cut and Bake
Use your cookie cutouts to cut the cookies into their shapes. For these Orange Spice Cookies, I used these Chanukkah Linzer Cookie Cutters. The trick here is to keep the dough cold, so it is better to work quickly. If the dough gets tricky to handle at any point when transferring to your parchment lined baking sheet, just put them back in the refrigerator for 10-20 minutes. Once the cookies are placed on the baking sheet, put them back in the refrigerator or even the freezer for 10 minutes. They will hold their shape better if they go into the oven when they are well chilled.
Mound the scraps together, place between parchment paper and roll the dough out again to ⅛ inch thickness. Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes or freeze for 10 minutes, and continue cutting cookies. Keep repeating until you use up all the dough.
7. Glaze the Orange Spice Cookies
The glaze is super easy to make. Whisk together the confectioner’s sugar, cinnamon and orange juice. If the glaze is too thick, add more orange juice, one teaspoon at a time, until it reaches a spreadable consistency. Decorate the tops as desired, whether spreading the glaze all over, drizzling it, and/or topping with sprinkles, nuts, or mini-chocolate chips.
Frequently Asked Questions About Making Orange Spice Cookies
Can I use any cookie cutters to make Orange Spice Cookies?
Yes! I made these for Hanukkah, but you can use your favorite cookie cutters to turn these into Christmas cookies, Valentine’s Day cookies, or any other holiday or shape you desire.
Can I make these cookies parve (dairy free)?
Absolutely. Substitute the butter for vegan butter and the milk for a non-dairy milk. Almond milk would particularly work great here.
How do I avoid the cookies from falling apart when transferring the dough to the cookie sheets?
If the dough is falling apart, it means the dough has gotten too warm. Refrigerate the dough for at least 10 minutes, and you will be able to move them more easily onto the cookie sheets. I recommend cutting out all the shapes onto a parchment lined sheet, refrigerating all the cut cookies, then place them on parchment lined baking sheets and bake immediately.
Orange Spice Cookies
- 200 grams all purpose flour (1½ cups plus 2 Tablespoons)
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch nutmeg
- 100 grams unsalted butter (7 Tablespoons)
- 100 grams sugar (½ cup)
- ½ teaspoon orange zest
- 2 large egg yolks
- 5 grams milk (1 teaspoon)
- 60 grams confectioner's sugar (½ cup)
- ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1-2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice (or more, as needed)
- Cookie dough. Sift the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg into a bowl and lightly whisk them together. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and the sugar for 5-7 minutes. Add the zest about half way through. The mixture should be light and fluffy.
- Add the egg yolks, one at a time, allowing them to fully incorporate before adding the next one. Then add the milk. You may need to stop the mixer a few times to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir just until fully combined.
- Spread the dough onto a large piece of parchment paper. Place another piece of parchment paper over the dough. With a rolling pin, roll the dough until it is approximately ⅛ inch thick. Pulling from the bottom piece of parchment, slide the parchment encased dough onto a baking sheet and place it in the refrigerator for at least one hour. While the dough is chilling, make the filling.
- Bake dough. Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and lift up the top piece of parchment paper. If the dough gets sticky, place it back in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes. Gather any scraps, roll them out to ⅛ inch thickness, refrigerate, and cut more cookies. Place the cookies in the refrigerator or freezer for 10 minutes prior to baking. Place the cookies 2 inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake 8-10 minutes. The bottoms and edges should be lightly browned.
- Make Glaze. Whisk together the confectioner's sugar and the cinnamon. Add the orange juice, 1 Tablespoon at a time, until you reach a thick, pourable consistency. Use a spoon to drizzle the glaze over the cooled cookie tops. Allow the glaze to dry.
- Spread or drizzle the glaze on the cookie tops. Decorate with sprinkles, nuts, mini chocolate chips, etc., as desired.
- Keep the dough chilled at all times. If the dough is sticky or falling apart after you cut the shapes, it means the dough has gotten too warm. Refrigerate at least 10 minutes before continuing.
- For dairy free, use vegan butter and non-dairy milk.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container. They will keep fresh for at least 5 days.