I have tried, people. I swear I have. I’ve baked with strawberries and bananas to shake things up a little around here. But then I go to Joy’s beautiful blog and there is this amazing column there, on the right, called “citrus bits”, full of mouthwatering photos... I gave in. :D
These cookies are very easy to make and you can freeze one of the dough logs for later – but I don’t think that’s gonna happen. Honestly.
Orange poppy seed sugar cookies
2 cups (280g) all purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ cup + 2 tablespoons (140g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (200g) sugar
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 ½ tablespoons poppy seeds
finely grated zest of 2 large oranges
Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a medium bowl and poppy seeds together.
Put the sugar in a medium size bowl, add the orange zest and use the tips of your fingers to rub them together until sugar is fragrant.
Using an electric mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium speed for a minute or so, until smooth. Beat in the fragrant sugar and zest and continue to beat for about 2 minutes until mixture is light and pale.
Add the egg and yolk and beat for another minute or two. Beat in the vanilla.
Reduce the mixer to low speed and steadily add the flour mixture, mixing only until it has been incorporated. Because the dough is best when it is worked the least, you might want to stop the mixer before the flour is thoroughly blended into the dough, and finish the job with a rubber spatula. When mixed, the dough will be soft, creamy and malleable.
Turn the dough out onto the counter and divide in half. Shape each half into a chubby sausage - about 5cm (2in) in diameter* - and wrap in baking paper. The dough must be chilled or at least two hours. Well wrapped the dough can be refrigerated up to 3 days or frozen up to 2 months.
Center the rack in the oven and preheat oven to 180ºC/350ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
Use a sharp, thin knife to slice into 6mm (¼-in) thick rounds, and place the rounds on prepared baking sheets, leaving a little over 3.5cm (1 ½-in) of space between them.
Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 9 to 11 minutes, rotating the sheet at the midpoint. The cookies should feel firm, but they should not color much, if at all. Remove the pan from the oven and let the cookies rest 1 minute before carefully lifting them onto a rack to cool to room temperature. Repeat with the remaining dough, cooling the baking sheets between batches.
* my dough sausages were 4cm in diameter and I got 5cm (2in) cookies
Makes about 45 cookies