Ever since my kitchen smelled like a lemon grove for a full day, I am looking for recipes to apply the technique I learned from Dorie’s book Baking: From My Home to Yours: Rubbing warmed up sugar and zest together in a bowl over simmering water.
I came up with a very basic cookie recipe that is transformed into something spectacular by this technique. Since I tried it with lemons, the next logical step was oranges. I zested two oranges, rubbed it with a cup of sugar and Voila! I was in Seville, standing in the middle of an orange grove, lambs bleating, the soft breeze kissing my cheek and carrying the smell of the freshly baked cookies.
It was that perfect on the first bite. I want to thank Dorie not only for the amazing books she wrote so far, but also for inspiring me even with tips and tricks between sentences.
Orange Grove Cookies
Yields 24 cookies
- Zest of two oranges
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup hazelnuts (as whole)
- 10 tbsp butter
- 2 eggs
- A handful of roughly chopped hazelnuts for decoration
- Preheat your oven at 350 F.
- Zest two oranges and combine the zest with a cup of sugar in a medium pot over simmering water. When the sugar warms up, rub the zest and sugar together until the wonderful smell fills your kitchen.
- Transfer sugar mixture, flour, butter, 1 egg and hazelnuts in a food processor and process until fine.
- Roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness and cut with your favorite cookie cutter.
- Crack the remaining egg in a small bowl and whisk until blended. Brush the top of the cookies with the egg and sprinkle with roughly chopped hazelnuts.
- Transfer to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 16-18 minutes, until the edges start to brown. Keep a close eye on the cookies as overbaking will make them very hard to bite!