Orange Spice Cookies Recipe – The Washington Post

The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darknessclock1 hour 5 minscourseDessertStart CookingComment on this storyCommentAdd to your saved recipesSaveBy Kristina Cho

These cozy orange spice cookies use mooncake molds (a tool used for making mooncakes for the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival) to create a beautiful and artful treat. However, if you use a simple cookie cutter, they will still look elegant. An orange juice glaze adds subtle sweetness. Warm spices in the dough and pops of zesty brightness make this cookie an ideal companion to a cup of tea.

Make ahead: Refrigerate the dough, well-wrapped, for up to 3 days before baking, or freeze for up to 2 months. Let the dough defrost just until malleable enough to stamp or roll out. You can also freeze the unbaked stamped or cut dough; bake straight from frozen, adding 2 to 3 minutes to the bake time.

Storage: Store the glazed cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 6 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.

Where to buy: If making stamped cookies, you will need a 75-gram mooncake mold, which can be purchased online or at Asian cookware or home goods stores.

From food writer Kristina Cho, author of “Mooncakes and Milk Bread” (Harper Celebrate, 2021) and blogger at Eat Cho Food.

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measuring cup

Servings: 16 (makes 16 cookies)


Time Icon
15 mins|
Total: 1 hour 5 mins, plus cooling time

  • Step 1

    Make the cookies: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, five-spice powder, cardamom, ginger and salt.

  • Step 2

    In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using a hand mixer and a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar and orange zest on medium speed until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. (You can use a flexible spatula to mix by hand, as well.) Add the egg and vanilla and mix until mostly combined (it will look curdled at first but keep mixing), another 1 minute.

  • Step 3

    Add the flour mixture and mix on low just until a smooth and pliable dough forms and no dry streaks remain, about 30 seconds, taking care not to overmix. Transfer to a sheet of plastic wrap and use it to shape the dough into a 6-inch square. Transfer to the freezer until firm but not solid, about 30 minutes.

  • Step 4

    Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper.

  • Step 5

    Have ready a small bowl of flour or place a mound on your work surface. Divide the dough into 16 equal pieces (about 40 grams each) and roll into balls. Working with one piece at a time, dust the ball with flour and place inside the mooncake mold. Press down on the mold firmly, against the counter, and slowly release and remove the stamped cookie. Repeat with the remaining dough, transferring the stamped cookies to the sheet pan, spacing at least 1 inch apart.

  • Step 6

    If you don’t have a mooncake mold, on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough until it is about 1/4-inch thick. If the dough is too cold and firm to roll out, allow it to soften on the counter for a few minutes. Cut out 2 1/2-inch round or square cookies with a cookie cutter or knife, and knead and roll out the scraps to cut more cookies, spacing these at least 1 inch apart on the baking sheet.

  • Step 7

    Bake 17 to 19 minutes, or until the edges are lightly golden brown. Allow the cookies to cool on the sheet pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

  • Step 8

    Make the glaze: Once the cookies are cool, in a small shallow bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and orange juice until smooth and runny. To test the consistency of the glaze, dip a cookie into it or use a small pastry brush to paint the cookies. You will have reached the right consistency when glaze stays on the stamped cookie without obscuring its pattern. If the glaze runs off and you can see too much of the cookie under it, the glaze is too thin. If it’s too thick, add 1 teaspoon of orange juice; if it is too thin, add an additional 1 to 2 teaspoons of confectioners’ sugar. (If making simple cut-out, flat cookies, the glaze consistency is less temperamental.) Dip or paint the remaining cookies in the glaze and allow any excess to run off. Transfer back to a wire rack set over a sheet pan and top with flecks of orange zest.

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    Nutritional Facts

    Per cookie

    • Calories


    • Fat

      12 g

    • Saturated Fat

      7 g

    • Carbohydrates

      25 g

    • Sodium

      44 mg

    • Cholesterol

      42 mg

    • Protein

      3 g

    • Fiber

      1 g

    • Sugar

      10 g

    This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian’s or nutritionist’s advice.

    From food writer Kristina Cho, author of “Mooncakes and Milk Bread” (Harper Celebrate, 2021) and blogger at Eat Cho Food.

    Tested by Jim Webster.

    Published December 4, 2023

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