Saturday, November 26, 2011

Holiday Cookies #2: Orange Butter Cookies with a Grand Marnier Glaze

I found this recipe in the holiday edition of Fine Cooking magazine last year and couldn't wait for the holidays to roll around again so I could have an excuse to bake up a batch (or two...)
These cookies are simple to make, yet have a great complex flavor- the combination of citrus with a hint of salt nicely compliment the naturally buttery flavor of the cookie. They look great cut into clean, simple circles, or you can get creative and use more holiday-appropriate shapes :) I was tempted to use my ninjabreadmen cookie cutters, but I opted for some simple flower cutters instead. 
The cookies can take a bit of time to make, depending on the size of the shapes you use. Using these relatively small shapes, this batch made approximately 4 dozen cookies.

Orange Butter Cookies with Grand Marnier Glaze

  • 2 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour; more as needed
  • 1/2 tsp. table salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbs. finely grated orange zest
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Grand Marnier glaze:
  • 4 oz. (1 cup) confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 Tbs. Grand Marnier
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. heavy cream; more as needed
  • 2 tsp. finely grated orange zest
  • Pinch of table salt
- Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder.

- Beat the butter, sugar, and zest until well-blended, about 2 minutes:

- Add egg yolks one at a time, mixing until blended after each.  Add vanilla with the last egg yolk, and mix for one additional minute. 

- Add the flour and mix on low speed until moist clumps form- this should take about 1 minute.
- Turn dough onto a work surface and divide into 2 discs:
-Wrap each disc in plastic and refrigerate for abut 30 minutes. 
-After 30 minutes, preheat the oven to 350 deg. Roll the dough to approx 1/4" thick. 
- Cut the dough into desired shapes and place about 1" apart.

-Bake until the edges become golden brown, 9-13 minutes. Again, this will depend on size, so I would keep an eye on them starting at 8 minutes if your cookies are small. Also, depending on how your oven heats, you may want to rotate the pan halfway through.
-Mix the glaze ingredients. I have made this a couple of times and this part will be a matter of personal preference. Don't get me wrong,  I looove the flavor of Grand Marnier. However, the raw flavor of 2 tbsp of the liquor can end up overwhelming all of the other flavors. It might be best to just add one tbsp and, if that is sufficient, add a little extra cream to loosen the glaze enough to spread. Or, if you add the full 2 tbsp and it seems like too much, just add a bit more powdered sugar and cream to even it out.
- Spread the glaze over the cooled cookies and give them some time to dry. Don't try stacking them when they are still wet, or you will end up with one giant mass of stuck-together (yet still tasty) cookies. 

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