You know my love of all things citrus – especially lemons and oranges. This brings me to these Orange Snowball cookies – a delicious bite size cookie with bright orange flavor. Orange zest in the dough and on the sugar coating really carry that orange citrus flavor throughout. So, so good! I love to bake and gift an assortment of cookies, including citrus cookies during the holidays. Of all the cookies I bake during the holidays, this is a family favorite. The bright burst of orange is truly delightful and addictive.
LET’S MAKE SOME SNOWBALLS!
In a stand alone mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat 2 sticks of unsalted butter on high speed for about a minute. Sift 3/4 cup of powdered sugar while the butter creams. Add the powdered sugar and beat on low until all the sugar has been incorporated. Scrape down the sides with a spatula and beat at a higher speed until creamy and smooth, about a minute. Add 1 Tablespoon each of orange zest and orange juice, and beat until combined.
I zested three oranges for this recipe and divided the zest as follows:
1 Tablespoon for the dough, 1/2 teaspoon for the glaze and the remainder for the orange sugar coating. It’s a lot of zest, but it really punches the orange flavors throughout. If you don’t have three oranges, use at least 1 Tablespoon of zest for the dough and do a regular sugar coating and glaze.
Tip: Always zest citrus first before juicing. Zest citrus with the microplane upside down over the fruit as shown below. Not only will you collect the zest in the microplane, but you can see where you’re zesting and avoid the white bitter pith.
With the mixer on low, gradually add 2 2/3 cups of flour and mix just until incorporated. Don’t over mix. Dump dough onto a plastic wrap, shape into a flat square and chill for at least an hour. I like to chill overnight, especially when preparing various cookies. I find it much easier to prepare all the dough and just bake the next day.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 325°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside. I like to make the glaze and the sugar coating before I shape the cookies.
MAKE THE GLAZE
In a small bowl combine 1 cup of powdered sugar, 3 -5 teaspoons of milk or half-and-half, 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract and 1/2 teaspoon orange zest in a bowl. Whisk until smooth. Set aside.
Note: You may need to add more milk to the glaze, I like to start with 3 teaspoons of milk. The glaze should easily drip off the spoon and make a figure eight in the bowl. It should not be as thin as maple syrup.
MAKE THE ORANGE SUGAR COATING
In a small bowl, combine the remaining reserved orange zest with 1/2 cup granulated sugar and use a fork to cut the zest into the sugar. Set aside. This is a lot of sugar, but you will coat the cookies twice – plus any extra I store and sprinkle on cinnamon toast or other baked goods.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls and roll them in orange sugar coating. Place on a baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 14-15 minutes or until bottoms are light brown. When you roll the dough, the warmth of your palms will warm the butter enough so the sugar coating sticks to the dough.
Once the snowballs come out of the oven, roll them in the orange sugar coating again and transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. Drizzle a little orange glaze over them and allow the glaze to set before storing or boxing them up as gifts. Makes about 40 cookies.
FREEZING & STORING
You could freeze the dough up to three weeks, thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then roll into balls and bake. You could also roll them out and flash freeze the snowballs on a baking sheet before transferring to a freezer safe bag. This way you could bake what you need and have them ready to go at any time. Once baked, store in an airtight container for a week.
This recipe was adapted from an old Better Homes & Garden 2000 magazine clipping.
A delicious orange cookie, coated in orange sugar and topped with an orange glaze. The bright citrus flavor is delicious and a family favorite.
- zest 3 navel orange and divide as instructed below
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature (2 sticks = 1 cup)
- ¾ cup sifted powdered sugar (sift first, then measure)
- 1 Tablespoon orange zest
- 1 Tablespoon orange juice
- 2 ⅔ cups all-purpose flour (loosened, spooned and leveled)
ORANGE SUGAR GLAZE
- 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted (measure first, then sift)
- 3-5 teaspoons whole milk or light cream
- ½ teaspoon orange zest
- ¼ teaspoon almond emulsion can also use vanilla extract
ORANGE SUGAR COATING
- remaining orange zest
- ½ cup granulated sugar
ZESTING THE ORANGES
Zest 3 navel oranges and divided the zest as follows:
1 Tablespoon for the dough, ¼ teaspoon for the glaze and the remaining zest for the sugar coating.
MAKING THE COOKIE DOUGH
In a stand alone mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat 2 sticks unsalted butter on high speed for about a minute. Add ¾ cup sifted powdered sugar and beat on low until all the sugar has been incorporated. Scrape down the sides and beat at a higher speed until creamy and smooth.
Add 1 Tablespoon orange zest and 1 Tablespoon orange juice and beat until combined.
With the mixer on low, gradually add 2 ⅔ cups flour and mix just until incorporated. Don't over mix. Chill for at least an hour, best overnight, to solidify the butter.
Note: To measure the flour loosen the flour first, then spoon flour into the measuring cup and use the back of a knife to level off any excess flour.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 325°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
MAKING THE GLAZE
In a small bowl, combine 1 cup powdered sugar, 3-5 teaspoons of whole milk or light cream, ¼ teaspoon almond extract and ½ teaspoon orange zest. Whisk until smooth and ribbon-like consistency. Set aside.
Note: Start with 3 teaspoons of whole milk and add more as needed. The glaze should drip off the spoon into the bowl in a ribbon like consistency. It should not be runny and thin like maple syrup.
MAKING THE SUGAR COATING
In another small bowl, combine granulated sugar with remaining orange zest. Cut the zest into the sugar with a fork. Set aside.
SHAPING & BAKING THE COOKIES
Shape dough into 1-inch balls and roll them in orange sugar. Bake for 14-15 minutes or until bottoms are light brown.
Once the snowballs come out of the oven, roll them in the orange sugar again and transfer to a wire rack to completely cool.
Drizzle with orange glaze. Makes about 40 cookies.
Recipe adapted from a 2000 Better Homes & Garden magazine clipping.
Note: You’ll have extra orange sugar and glaze. Don’t discard. Make orange butter to spread over french toast or scones and drizzle with the glaze! So good.