If you like butter cookies, you’ll love these sweet, buttery Orange Cookies with homemade icing. Their light citrus taste and pretty pastel color are perfect for spring-themed events, baby showers, bridal showers, or just because!
An Easy Butter Cookie with Sweet Citrus Flavor!
For me, the essence of springtime is a cute, light, sugary cookie. Of course, I also love cakes, pies, cinnamon rolls; you name it! But the small size and versatile flavor options for cookies seem extra appropriate during spring! Grab a bite of these little orange cookies, and you’ll agree!
The simple recipe is made with wholesome, natural ingredients. You’ll adore the soft icing and light citrus flavor. Lemon cookies are great, but these orange cookies are slightly more subtle and have a pretty, delicate color. Serve them for any occasion, and guests will beg you for the recipe.
What You’ll Need
To make them, you want to have all of your basic baking ingredients on hand: butter, flour, sugar, etc. Don’t forget the orange juice and orange zest. I like to use fresh juice and zest, preferably from an organic orange.
- Butter: Unsalted butter, at room temperature.
- Sugar: I use regular granulated sugar, although you could use light brown sugar for a slightly more molasses-y, warm flavor.
- Egg Yolk: You only need the egg yolks for this recipe, not the whites. You can save extra egg whites for mixing in with your breakfast scramble if you’d like!
- Vanilla: Pure vanilla extract, or you can use vanilla bean paste for a stronger vanilla taste.
- Flour: All-purpose flour works perfectly for these cookies. You could substitute cake flour or bread flour in a pinch. Don’t substitute self-rising flour, though, for the cookies will not rise correctly.
- Baking Powder: make sure to use baking powder, not baking soda.
- Orange Juice and Zest: The best orange juice and zest would be from a ripe organic orange, but you can also use bottled juice and zest.
- Confectioner’s Sugar: Also known as powdered sugar, this sugar is very fine and will dissolve easily in liquid, which makes a nice, smooth icing.
- Oranges Juice and Zest: These are not only important for the cookies, but also for the icing!
- Butter: Adding a small amount of unsalted butter to the icing helps it set. Make sure to have the butter at room temperature for the best results.
- Optional Cream Cheese: For a creamier frosting, add a couple of tablespoons of room-temperature cream cheese.
Can You Use a Grater to Zest an Orange?
Yes, you can use the small holes of a grater, a microplane, or even a vegetable peeler to make orange zest. If you use a vegetable peeler, make sure to use a sharp knife to cut the pieces of peel into fine shreds.
How to Make Orange Cookies
These cookies are so easy to make! All you have to do is mix up the batter, and then bake them right away. No need to chill! Here are the steps:
- Prepare to Bake. To get started, make sure to preheat your oven and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. That way, when the batter is ready, you can put the orange cookies right into the oven.
- Cream the Butter in the Sugar. Next, take a large mixing bowl, and combine the cream and sugar in it. Use a mixer to beat these ingredients together, until they’re light and fluffy.
- Add the Liquid Ingredients. Turn the mixer to medium-low speed, and add the egg yolks and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth and creamy. Next, add the orange juice and the orange zest, and mix again.
- Add the Dry Ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add these ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring with a spoon until combined.
- Shape the Cookies. Roll the cookie dough into 1-inch balls, and place them on the baking sheet. Flatten each one slightly.
- Bake! Bake the cookies for 10 – 11 minutes, until they are lightly golden on the bottom edges. Let them cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Make the Icing. Meanwhile, stir together the confectioner’s sugar, orange juice, orange zest, and butter (and cream cheese, if using) until smooth and creamy.
- Ice the Cookies. Spread the icing over the cooled cookies, and let them sit for about 30 minutes so the icing can harden.
These simple, cakey cookies are sure to be a favorite. After all, who wouldn’t love a soft, buttery cookie with a hint of orange? To make sure that they turned out perfectly, be sure to check out these helpful tips.
- Room Temperature Butter: It’s important that your butter is at room temperature to ensure it creams well with the sugar. No lumps allowed.
- Don’t Overmix: Once you add the flour to the wet ingredients, mix the dough until it’s just combined. Overmixing can result in tough, dry cookies.
- Use Parchment: Lining your baking sheet with parchment paper makes for easy cleanup and ensures that the cookies won’t stick to the pan.
- Be Patient: Allow the cookies to cool completely before icing them, and wait for the icing to set completely before serving. That way, the icing will stay put and not slide off of the cookies!
Easy Recipe Variations
It doesn’t stop here – you can also use this recipe as a base for another sweet dessert. Try these ideas, and enjoy!
- Chocolate Orange: Everyone loves the flavor of chocolate with orange, so turn these orange cookies and two chocolate orange cookies, my favorite way to add chocolate is to melt milk chocolate Or dark chocolate chips, and drizzle the melted chocolate over the cookies.
- Other Types of Citrus: You could also substitute grapefruit juice and zest, lime juice and zest, or lemon juice and zest to change these cookies into a different citrus flavor.
- Creamsicle Cookies: Let the cookies cool completely and then sandwich them together around the icing, or freeze the cookies and sandwich them together around a scoop of softened vanilla ice cream. Yum!
Storing and Freezing Orange Cookies
- To store orange cookies, let them cool completely so that the frosting hardens. Then, place them in an airtight container with firm sides. You can put parchment or wax paper between layers of cookies to prevent sticking. Keep them at room temperature for five days.
- To freeze the cookies, pack them following the instructions above, but store them in your freezer instead of on the countertop. They should keep in the freezer for about three months. Take them out and let them thaw to room temperature before serving.
For the Orange Cookies
For the Icing:
- 1 cup confectioners sugar
- 3 tablespoon fresh orange juice
- 2 teaspoon orange zest
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
- Optional – 2 tablespoons cream cheese for a creamier texture
For The Cookies
- Preheat your oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy.
- Turn mixer to medium-low speed and add the egg yolks and vanilla extract, and mix until smooth and creamy.
- Next, add the orange juice and zest and mix until just combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking powder and sea salt.
- Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix together with a spoon until combined.
- Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and place them onto the prepared baking sheet. Flatten each ball slightly with the palm of your hand.
- Bake the cookies for 10 to 11 minutes or until lightly golden on the bottom edges. Remove from the oven and let them cool on the baking sheet for 3 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
For The Icing
- To make the icing, mix together the confectioners sugar, orange juice, orange zest, and butter (and cream cheese, if using) until smooth and creamy.
- Spread the icing over the cooled cookies, and let it set for 30 minutes before the icing hardens.
- Enjoy your delicious orange cookies with a sweet citrus flavor! Yum!