My winter citrus obsession is back, and I am not sorry about it. And looking at these beautiful blood oranges, can you blame me? I’ve been thinking about how to use them in a blog recipe for weeks, but at the end of the day I decided to go sweet and simple. These oranges (which I found in my regular grocery store, no special trip required!) have such a rich pink color, I decided to use them to create a pink recipe that would work perfectly for Valentine’s day, plus give you an unexpected burst of citrus flavor. These blood orange shortbread cookies literally melt in your mouth and are drizzled in a beautiful, sweet and tart blood orange glaze that will have you coming back for seconds. And maybe thirds. Possibly fourths. You get the idea.
I’ve made shortbread cookies on the blog before, but I decided to try a different version, based on a recipe in How to Bake Everything, that uses powdered sugar. This makes the shortbread almost impossibly light, to the point that it really does melt in your mouth. Don’t worry; there is still plenty of butter in them, so the cookies are still rich. I added plenty of freshly grated blood orange zest for bright flavor, and decided to use a tiny heart cookie cutter, because it’s February now and why the heck not.
I knew I wanted to make a simple glaze with the juice from the blood orange I zested for the cookies, but imagine my delight when it turned out to be actual millennial pink. It’s so pretty, and the tartness of the orange juice balances out the confectioner’s sugar nicely, so that the cookies with the glaze are sweet but not too sweet and have a real burst of orange flavor. I decided to try and be artsy and drizzle the cookies by coating a spoon with the glaze and then waving it over the cookies. My three-year-old was not impressed by my skills. You could also dip the cookies into the glaze, if you want to give them full coverage. The nice thing is that the glaze isn’t too sweet, so you can use it with as much abandon as you want. Once you let the glaze harden for a few minutes, you’ll have a plateful of gorgeous, delicious cookies in just the right shade of pink to share and brighten up these cold, cold days of winter. And if you bring them to a kid’s Valentine’s Day party, maybe don’t emphasize the ‘blood’ part of the blood oranges.
- 2 sticks butter, softened
- ⅔ cup powdered sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 cups flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated orange zest
- ¼ cup blood orange juice (from 1 orange)
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar
- Butter a 9” by 13” baking pan.
- Add the sugar and orange zest to a large bowl. Use your fingers to press the zest into the sugar, until the mixture is fragrant. Add the butter and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds. Add the egg yolk and beat on low until just combined, followed by the flour and salt. Mix on low speed until the mixture barely holds together, 2-3 minutes.
- Turn the dough out into a 9” by 13” baking pan and use your fingers to press the dough out into the bottom of the pan. Try to get the dough as even as you can along the top. Preheat the oven to 275°F. While the oven preheats, chill the shortbread dough in the fridge.
- Bake the dough for 35-40 minutes, until the top is barely golden. If using a cookie cutter, cut out the cookies in the pan. If not using a cookie cutter, use a sharp knife to cut the shortbread into squares, rectangles, or triangles. Either way, carefully transfer the cookies onto a cooling rack.
- Combine all of the ingredients in a large measuring cup with a spout. Stir with a fork or whisk until the glaze is smooth. If you’d like the glaze to be thicker, add more confectioner’s sugar, a teaspoon at a time. If you’d like the glaze to be thinner, add more orange juice.
- Once the cookies are cool, drizzle the glaze over them and let the glaze harden before serving. Alternately, you can dip the cookies into the glaze, holding them upside down for a few seconds to allow any excess glaze to drip off.