When you see these cookies, you just expect a crisp little oatmeal cookie, but when you bite into it and start to chew, you get a bright citrus burst that just makes your mouth happy. They really are worth the extra effort of making the candied orange zest. If that sounds like too much work, they're a great cookie without the orange flavor. My favorite oatmeal cookie.
I don't know why I don't make these cookies more often. They are delightful. One judge at the Iowa State Fair food competition said they were a perfect cookie to have with some tea. If I drank tea much, I would have to agree. Oh, and just because a judge said something nice about them, don't think they won any awards. Apparently they're not THAT good. This judge even said they were supposed to receive an honorable mention, but they didn't, so I probably should not even mention it here.
Orange Spice Oatmeal Cookies
1 ½ cups KAF unbleached all-purpose flour
3 cups quick cooking oats
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp Tone’s Ground Cinnamon
¼ tsp Tone’s Ground Cloves
1/8 tsp Tone’s Ground Nutmeg
½ cup butter
½ cup vegetable shortening
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
½ tsp orange extract
¼ cup candied orange zest, finely chopped*
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp milk
½ tsp orange extract
1 T candied orange rind for garnish
Sift flour, salt, soda, & spices together. Stir in oats and candied ¼ cup orange zest.
Cream butter, shortening, & sugars. Beat in eggs and ½ tsp orange extract. Stir in dry ingredients and blend well. Refrigerate dough for at least two hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350°. Form dough into walnut-sized balls and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake at 350° for 12-15 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on wire rack.
Meanwhile, whisk powdered sugar, milk, and ½ tsp orange extract until smooth. Drizzle over cookies and garnish with a piece of candied orange zest.
*Candied Orange Zest
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
additional sugar for dredging
Wash oranges thoroughly. Carefully trim zest (orange outer layer of peel) in wide strips using a small knife or vegetable peeler. If zest strips have any pith (the bitter white layer of the peel) on them, carefully cut or scrape the pith off with a small knife. Cut zest strips lengthwise into thin julienne strips.
Place zest strips in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Cook over medium heat until water comes to a simmer. Drain and repeat two more times.
Drain strips and then return to the saucepan and add 1/3 cup of water and 1/3 cup of sugar. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook over low heat for approximately 10 to 15 minutes, until strips turn translucent and the sugar and water begin to thicken.Remove from the heat, and using a fork, take the strips from the saucepan and place on a sheet of wax paper. Separate and spread out the strips on the wax paper and allow to cool slightly. Then roll the strips in sugar until well coated and allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.