This week the orange was the star flavor, and I went up and down the market stands to look for the perfect orange for this week's cookie. Oranges are a great fruit. I choose the Navel orange for this recipe. It has thick skin, and the zesting is easy. You only need a little orange juice, so a Navel orange worked great.
Cream cheese always adds creaminess to any cookie, so I added just 3 oz. I did not want to overpower the great orange taste, so a little goes a long way. I always use regular Philidelphia Cream cheese for all my cream cheese cookie recipes.
- Cream Cheese
- Butter unsalted
- Powdered sugar
- Orange zest
- Orange juice
- Orange extract - I used McCormick pure orange extract, I have not tried the new McCormick Culinary pure orange extract since they do not sell it here in my area. I didn't even know they had created a Culinary section for cooks and bakers.
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder
VANILLA BEAN ICING
- Powdered sugar
- Butter unsalted softened
- Vanilla bean paste
- Vanilla extract
- Half and Half - You can certainly use heavy cream if that is what you have on hand. However, regurlar milk does not make the icing as creamy and thick.
Zest and Juice an Orange
Zesting and juicing an orange is pretty straight forward as long as you have the right tools. The juicer I use is a cheap one from the grocery store I got a lot of years ago. This is a very common type with a glass screw-on jar under the yellow reamer. Here is a cheap juicer at Target, not exactly like mine, but close.
My zester is a fine grater that I use for all my fruit. This one is called Microplane Master Series Walnut-Handled Zester from Williams Sonoma.
The important takeaway is when you are zesting fruit, only zest the top part of the skin. If you start seeing the white underneath the orange skin, you have gone too deep. This white part can be bitter, which is not what you want in your cookies.
Making Orange Cookies
First, I weigh my powdered sugar into one bowl and set it aside. Next, weigh or measure the flour and baking powder into a bowl and whisk to blend.
Add the butter and cream cheese into your mixer bowl and blend them for a couple of minutes. Then, stop the mixer, scrape down the side, and turn the mixer back on to a slow speed. Gradually add the powdered sugar and mix for another couple of minutes. Again, you want it to be a light color and look fluffy with soft peaks.
Add the egg and incorporate it before adding the orange juice, orange zest, and orange extract. By now, you are smelling the wonderful aroma of orange. Next, I scrape down the bowl sides and, on a low mixer speed, gradually add the flour mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C or 180°C), and line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper. I used a medium cookie scooper to get 21 cookies, so I put 11 cookies on the first sheet pan and 10 cookies on the second.
Bake for 9-11 minutes, checking after 9 minutes you don't want the bottom of the cookies to be too brown. Then, move them to a cooling rack and repeat with the second sheet pan of cookies.
Cool your cookies completely before starting the vanilla bean icing.
Creamy Vanilla Bean Icing
I love this icing! So easy with a bold vanilla taste.
Take the softened butter and beat it with your mixer. Beating the butter alone ensures it is soft and will blend well with the powdered sugar.
Now on a slow mixer speed, slowly add the powdered sugar. After the sugar has been incorporated, turn the mixer speed to medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes. You want soft peaks along the sides of the mixing bowl.
Scrape down the sides and add the vanilla bean, vanilla extract, and the half & half creamer and turn the mixer to a medium-high setting for 3 to 4 minutes. This icing will become a thick and creamy extra vanilla-tasting icing.
Grab a butter knife and add icing to the tops of the cookies. I love seeing the specks of vanilla beans in my icing.
Now you can watch these finished cookies disappear after setting them on the counter.
You might want to add nuts, like almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios, or walnuts. You can also maybe add raisins or coconut. This is a cookie that you can make your own.
A nice chocolate (dark or white) icing would complement the orange in the cookies.
What is the best way to store the orange cream cheese cookies?
Since there is icing on these cookies you can either store them in an air-tight containers where they are not stacked or parchment paper between the layer. They will last for 5 to 6 days. If it needs a longer shelf life you can store them in the refrigerator.
If You Love Orange Try These...
Orange Cream Cheese with Vanilla Bean Icing CookiesBarbara Hall
- 3 ounces (85.05 g) Cream Cheese room temperature
- ½ cup (113.5 g) Butter unsalted room temperature
- 1 ½ cup (180 g) Powdered sugar
- 1 (1) Egg room temperature
- 1 Tablespoon (1 Tablespoon) Orange zest
- 2 Tablespoon (2 Tablespoon) Orange juice fresh
- ¼ teaspoon (0.25 teaspoon) Orange extract
- 2 cups (250 g) All-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon (0.5 teaspoon) Baking powder
VANILLA BEAN ICING
- ½ cup (113.5 g) Butter unsalted softened
- 2 cups (240 g) Powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon (1 teaspoon) Vanilla bean paste
- 1 teaspoon (1 teaspoon) Vanilla extract
- 2-3 Tablespoon (2 Tablespoon) Half and Half
- In a bowl, weigh or measure your flour and baking powder. I run a whisk through to blend and then set the bowl aside. In another bowl, weigh or measure the powdered sugar and set that bowl aside. Next, zest, then juice the orange. You should get a packed tablespoon of zest and 2 tablespoons of juice.
- With a hand-held or stand mixer, add the butter and cream cheese and mix. Add the powdered sugar slowly, and then turn the mixer to medium speed for 3 minutes. You want light and fluffy. Next, blend in the egg and add the orange juice, orange zest, and orange extract. Finally, gradually add the flour and baking powder and blend until all the flour is incorporated.
- Cover the bowl and chill the dough in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C or 180°C), and line 2 cookie sheet pans with parchment paper. Next, using a medium cookie scooper, add 12 scoops of cookie dough to a prepared sheet pan. I space the scoops a couple of inches apart.
- Bake for 9-11 minutes. I start to check them at 9 minutes. You only want the bottom of the cookies to be a very light brown. Move them to a cooling rack once they are out of the oven.
VANILLA BEAN ICING
- Add the softened butter to a mixer bowl and mix for a minute. You want the butter to lay against the bowl and have soft peaks. If it is clumpy, the butter is still cold, so let the mixer run longer. Now add the powdered sugar and mix on a low speed. Once the powdered sugar has been incorporated, turn the mixer to medium speed for 2 minutes.
- Scrape down the bowl and add the vanilla bean paste, vanilla extract, and 2 tablespoons of the half and half. Blend until incorporated, then turn the mixer to a medium-high speed for 3 to 5 minutes. You want thick and buttery vanilla icing. I use a butter knife and put the icing on the cookies.
I am not a certified Dietitian or Nutritionist. The nutrition amounts given below are provided through a program and are only a guideline.