Recipe of the Day — Orange Cookies

I realized recently how few ‘handed down over the years/heirloom’ family recipes I have. There’s Mom’s No-Fail pie crust and the Llewellyn recipe for Apple Pudding with Lemon Sauce that I’ll have to post next time and Grandmother’s recipe for San Fransisco Firehouse Bread that I said I would look for, but my family doesn’t have a legacy of recipes handed down. In fact, it seems I have struck out on my own cooking path, bringing with me memories of foods but doing it ‘my way’ now.

So this recipe is special b/c it is one of very few and possibly the only recipe that I have from my Grandma Smith. I think I’ve mentioned before that Grandma cooked technically awful food. It was usually undercooked, had little flavor and was very simple — lots of meat and pasty potatoes, bread at every meal — air fluff store-bought stuff b/c it could be afforded and a sign of their coming out of the depression, no seasoning other than salt and pepper. But Grandma’s pies were expressions of love and it wasn’t until I was much older that I could recognize that her pie crust wasn’t what pie crust was supposed to be — chewy, undercooked pie crust still tastes like love to me.

At Christmas, Grandma Smith made cookies. Aunt Mary introduced her to Peanut Blossoms and we all thought it was Aunt Mary’s own creation, not a recipe from the Pillsbury bake-off. Aunt Mary had the habit of kindly passing on recipes that were requested of her but always giving the wrong measure on one or more ingredients. 😛 I promise that I don’t do that to you. The only cookie that I remember Grandma Smith making *every* year is her orange cookies. She would bake several batches and freeze them and make the frosting fresh as needed and the cookie tin was kept filled throughout December — it was magic. Baking these transports me to the pre-civil war brick farmhouse with the saggy kitchen floor with the pot-belly woodstove keeping the area by the door warm and the cook stove keeping the other side of the kitchen warm. They aren’t all happy memories, of course — Grandma was usually muttering under her breath b/c Grandpa was less than the exemplar husband, for example — but Grandma Smith’s kitchen was a place I was always welcome. Here is a family treasure I share with you:


Grandma Smith’s Orange Cookies

2 c. flour
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
½ c. oleo (margarine)
2 ½ Tbsp. Crisco (not butter flavored)
3/4 c. sugar
1 egg
½ c. strained orange juice
1 Tbsp. grated orange rind
Orange Icing (below)

Sift dry ingredients together. Cream together shortening, sugar & egg. Add dry ingredients and orange juice/rind. Chill dough 45 minutes.

Drop on greased sheet and bake at 375 F for 10 minutes — do NOT allow to brown! Cool completely. Frost.

Orange Icing:
1 ½ c. powdered sugar
dash salt
2 Tbsp. salad oil
1 ½ tsp. grated orange rind
orange juice to moisten
3 Tbsp. chopped nuts (optional)

3 Responses

  1. Aack! Sorry for those who saw the first version before I went through to check. Just after saying I don’t give people recipes with wrong measures I see that I let the word processor fill in for me where I had so many teaspoons in a row and ended up with 1/2 t. of margarine!!! It’s fixed now (1/2 CUP of margarine — 1 stick) and since I caught it just minutes after posting I know you didn’t try to make it yet, but I don’t know how post edits work with the RSS stuff.

  2. I’ve never made orange cookies before but orange season is here and I’d love to try these! Just out of curiosity, how big do you normally make the cookies? I love the images and feelings conjured up by your descripltion of your grandmother’s kitchen!

  3. Nicole:

    I usually use my soup spoons for dropping cookie dough so I’m guessing I use about a tablespoon of dough and my cookies end up around 2 inches across.

    I wish I had a digital camera working . . . a new one is going to be my Christmas present . . . they don’t flatten out much like a peanut butter cookie or similar; they look like little ‘plop’ cookies that are thicker in the middle.

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