Blood orange season is a good season. I love that beautiful, vibrant citrus comes to the season in the darkest months of the year. To celebrate, I made these light and tender Blood Orange Shortbread Cookies.
If you are a fan of shortbread, let me suggest these easy Shortbread Raspberry Bites. Or how about pretty little stamped lemon shortbread cookies? All these cookies are just what you would want a good shortbread to be!
What Makes This Recipe Work?
The shortbread is such a great base for the light and vibrant blood-orange flavor. They really compliment each other.
Shortbread cookies are simple to make and are really great as you can make them well ahead of time. You can even freeze this dough and bake it when you are ready. Plus they are a slice and bake cookie, so no scooping.
They are light cookies. Some cookies are so heavy they really seem to weigh you down. These ones will not do that. They are light and satisfying!
- Butter- what is shortbread without it??
- Powdered sugar- you can also use granulated, but I like the powdered in this recipe.
- Blood orange zest and juice- this is fresh.
- Egg yolk
- All-purpose flour
- Whole wheat flour- I prefer a whole wheat pastry flour. Make sure to use the scoop and measure method. Meaning, loosen the whole wheat flour and scoop into your measuring cup. Then level the top of the flour. This will ensure the flour isn't compacted, but light.
- Cream Cheese- For the cream cheese glaze
How To Make
These are made like any other traditional shortbread cookie. Start by creaming the butter and sugar. Make sure it is mixed well and light and fluffy. Next add in your egg yolk, orange juice, orange zest, and vanilla. Now, blend your wet and dry ingredients, but only mix to combine.
If you overmix your cookie dough, it will wind up being tough. That is not what we want in a cookie, be mindful to only mix enough to combine.
This dough is best if chilled before baking. Roll it into a log on saran wrap and place it in the fridge.
Once the dough has chilled, for at least 1 hour, it is time to bake! If you formed your dough into a log, it is time to slice. I wanted a little thinner, more delicate cookie, so I cut my slices about ¼ inch thick.
Next, on to your parchment-lined baking sheet and into the oven. Bake until they are VERY lightly golden brown, and only just around the edges.
You don't have to use the blood orange cream cheese icing, but let me just say, it is really good!
Mix all ingredients together. Then, dip half the cookie in the icing and sprinkle them with chopped walnuts.
I grind the wheat in my Nutrimill, which is my right-hand appliance in the kitchen. I use it ALL THE TIME.
This is a partial wheat recipe. I used 50% whole wheat for a healthier bake. The flour I used was soft winter wheat, which is my favorite for cookies. I have been buying my wheat kernels from Farm Fresh Wheat, a great generational farm out of Washington.
Shortbread cookies should only be baked until they are very lightly browned on the edges. They should not be golden brown all over.
Chilling the cookies really helps them to hold their shape when they are baking, so make sure to do this.
This cookie dough can be made well ahead of time before baking. It will hold in the fridge, wrapped in saran wrap for 5 days. Or you can wrap it in a freezer bag and it will hold in the freezer for up to 1 month!
Blood Orange Shortbread Cookies
- 1 cup softened butter
- ⅔ cup powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon blood orange zest
- 2 teaspoons blood orange juice
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour I prefer a whole wheat pastry flour. Make sure to use the scoop and measure method. Meaning, loosen the whole wheat flour and scoop into your measuring cup. Then level the top of the flour. This will ensure the flour isn't compacted, but light.
- ½ teaspoon salt
Blood Orange Glaze
- 2 tablespoons softened cream cheese
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 cups powdered sugar This is a variable, add more if you need
- ¼-1/2 cup blood orange juice
- 1 tablespoon blood orange zest
- Add butter and granulated sugar to a medium-sized bowl and mix with a hand or stand mixer until the butter is light and fluffy. This will take about 2 minutes.
- Add in the egg yolk, orange juice, zest, and vanilla. Mix well.
- Next is your all-purpose flour, whole wheat pastry flour, and salt. Mix these with your wet ingredients, but only enough to combine.
- Remove the dough from the bowl and onto saran wrap. Roll into a log and wrap in the saran wrap. It will be a little sticky at this point, so just be patient when rolling!
- Let this chill in the fridge for at least an hour. You can also make the dough in advance. The dough can hold in the fridge for up to 3 days. It can also be frozen at this point, holding in the freezer for up to 3 weeks. Remember to bring to room temp before cutting.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- Remove your cookie dough from the fridge. Carefully take off the saran wrap and slice into ¼ inch slices. Place the slices on the baking sheet a few inches apart. I did 12 per sheet.
- Place in preheated oven and bake until the edges are a VERY LIGHT golden brown. Mine took about 12 minutes.
- While they are cooling, start mixing your glaze. Add the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons blood orange juice, and zest to a bowl. Mix on high and add more powdered sugar or juice to reach the consistency you are looking for.
- You can either dip the cookies or drizzle it on the cookies.