Orange-Kissed Cookies

CATEGORIES: Cookies, Kate

Over the last three years since our little blog was born, there have been a lot of changes, but a few things have always stayed the same: an orange segment and the colors blue and green.  So I totally giggled when I uploaded these pictures to my computer and realized that I had made orange cookies with blue and green in the pictures.  This blog has totally infiltrated my subconscious.

I hesitate calling these bad boys cookies because they have a texture more similar to whoopie pies–soft, light, and cakey. And the dough is hardly dough–it’s thicker than cake batter, but not by much.  But seriously, I’m throwing semantics to the side (not to mention my attempts to eat healthy…blah…nothing like cookies to derail that train) in the name of deliciousness.

For starters, you’ll need orange zest (lots–probably 1 very large orange or 2 smaller ones), orange juice concentrate, salt, baking soda, baking powder, flour, vanilla, sour cream (I’m pretty sure no bad cookie recipe ever calls for sour cream), an egg, sugar, and shortening.

Now…before any of you go and call CPS because I’m poisoning my children and the children of the world with shortening in my cookies, I want to point out that while shortening contained trans-fats once upon a time, it no longer does. Promise. Cross my heart, hope to die. Butter is too heavy for this recipe–the cookies will come out like rocks and not like dreamy little orange pillows that you’re fantasizing don’t have any calories.

So enough about shortening.  Preheat your oven to 375 and then, in a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients.  In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the shortening and sugar and beat until well-combined.  Add the egg and beat until moistened.  Add the sour cream and vanilla and beat about 1 minute or until light and fluffy.  Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined.  Add the orange juice concentrate and orange zest and mix until combined.

Like I said, this dough will be very moist.  You’ll either need a cookie scoop or a tablespoon to scoop it out (a cookie scoop will be less messy) or you can fill a large freezer bag or cake decorating bag with the dough and squeeze it onto a cookie sheet.  That’s what I did here because my cookie scoop was encrusted in Play-doh.

If you pipe them, you’ll notice the pointy, Hershey’s kiss-like tops:

You can bake them that way, but the tippy tops will get too brown before the rest of the cookie, so I flattened mine out just by gently pressing each tip down.  And then I neglected to take a picture.

Bake these guys for about 8-10 minutes or until they are just starting to turn golden around the edges.  Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, combine some softened butter, powdered sugar, more orange juice concentrate, and orange rind with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  You can spread it onto the cookies, but I find it’s so much easier to pipe it on with a decorating bag or a heavy-duty freezer bag.

Not kidding.  Baby angel clouds of orange heaven.

This recipe makes about 36 cookies.


  1. These look beautiful. I have to buy the shortening from a US food website since I live in Australia and all our shortening is animal fat base and isn’t quite the same as crisco. Can I use the juice from the orange I zest instead of the concentrate then use some orange food colouring to get the same effect? I have never seen orange juice concentrate at my local supermarket.

    1. You know, I thought of that, too, but the concentrate packs so much punch in such a small amount that either the cookies wouldn’t be as orange-y or you’d have to increase the juice and then reduce the liquid (or increase the dry ingredients) somewhere else. I’m always so scared of messing things up that I just end up eating the orange and hoping that maybe it counteracts the negative effects of the cookies. 🙂

      1. Just wondering if instead of the concentrate, she (Alix) could maybe use a bit of orange extract mixed with the orange juice (or in a real pinch, maybe some powdered orange drink or jello)? Definately would have to experiment to get the flavor right, but it might work…. just a thought.

    2. Look in the freezer section of your market for the orange juice concentrate. It is usually with other frozen juice concentrates sold in a tube or with the frozen fruit. If is worth looking for. You can scoop out defrost only what you need. Save the rest and marinate chicken or fish, add to a quick-bread recipe, make a vinaigrette, or just add water and drink 🙂

    3. Hi Alix,

      I am from New Zealand and like you I often need to find alternatives for US recipes. In NZ we have a product called Kremelta which is a vegetable based shortening like crisco. I am sure you must have something similar that will cost you less than importing. Just a thought all the same.

  2. This reminds me of a cookie my grandma used to make when I was a kid, we loved them! They just taste like summer to me! Thanks for the recipe, I think I’ll be trying these today!

  3. Oh my, YUM!! I have a similar, non-orange cookie recipe so I can just imagine the light texture of the cookies. And then to add in all that yummy orange flavor!! 🙂 Of course, I’ve got everything to make these EXCEPT the oranges and concentrate… Will try these soon!! {Oh, and I love the “baby angel clouds of orange heaven” remark! Ha ha ha!!}

  4. First of all, I love the print option for your recipes! So effortless and genious! Thank you thank you thank you! Secondly, these look heavenly! Third, I have just been trying to come up with great recipe to use up my Mom’s citrus that she has an overabundance of. This looks perfect. Thank you!

    As always, LOVE your blog, recipes, and you!


  5. Could you sub out the orange with lemon or lime? I’m thinking that one batch of orange, one batch of lemon and one batch of lime would be great for baby showers, Easter or Wednesdays. If you were to sub, what would you do for the orange juice concentrate? Lemon juice concentrate?

    1. Mary, I’m sure you could! I’d just use lemonade and limeade concentrate. Or I’m thinking there might be a lime juice concentrate that is used for cocktails (but I’m not 100% sure)–maybe you could use that?

      1. Since orange juice is sweeter than lime concentrate or lemon concentrate, I’m thinking I may need to increase the sugar a bit, what do you think?

    2. Oh, what a good idea! You’d still need the sweetness factor, so maybe subbing lemonade and limeade concentrates would work.

  6. Oooo, I like Mary’s thinking… Would using lime zest/limeade concentrate for the lime ones, lemon zest/lemonade concentrate for the lemon ones work?

  7. I live overseas and they don’t have sour cream. Is there anything that can be substituted for the sour cream? Thank you. The cookies look amazing!

  8. YUM. These look so good. I’m taking dinner to a friend Thurs night and I think she’s getting some of these for dessert!

  9. Oops, further clarification: If it says FULLY hydrogenated then there are no trans fats. But I think the fully hydrogenated products are the hard/stick margarines.

    Further confusion: It must specifically say FULLY hydrogenated. If it just says Hydrogenated then it is probably partially hydrogenated and therefore has the evil trans fat.

    Things were simpler when I was a kid. Dairy was good for you, bacon and eggs were a more nutritious breakfast than cereal, and comfort food was guilt-free.

    1. I know, right? Either way, there’s only 1/2 c. of shortening and the recipe makes 36 cookies and a serving of shortening is 1 Tbsp., so you’re only getting about .22 of a tablespoon of shortening in each cookie. As long as someone doesn’t eat the whole batch (and if they do, they’ve got bigger issues than trans fats! 🙂 ), the cookies are probably fine. 🙂

      1. I hate to burst bubbles, but hydrogenated anything is trans fat. My hubbie is a chemistray wiz and a PA, and according to him hydrogenated means that they added two extra hydrogen ions to the fat chain making it straight (and creating the smooth texture of shortening), so anything remotely hydrogenated = trans fat, or man-made fat. But it makes food delicious, and like everything else on the planet, won’t kill you unless you start spooning it out of the tub and using it in everything you eat. Will I make these with shortening? Absolutely. 🙂

          1. No, I really appreciate your insight. Honestly, while I do totally get and support being conscious of what we eat, the truth is that the amount of trans fat in these is negligible and I appreciate someone else pointing it out. Not to sound like those lame high fructose corn syrup commercials or anything, but seriously, moderation is awesome. 🙂

  10. These look divine! My mouth is watering just looking at this recipe. I think I’m going to have to make these in the very near future! Thank you!

  11. I just thought I’d point out that shortening does have transfat in it. The FDA says that companies can put 0g transfat if there’s less than half a gram per serving. Many companies lower their serving sizes so that they can label their stuff as transfat free. The only way to really know is if the product has partially hydrogenated oil. The chemical process to make oil hard at room temperature (shortening) involves shoving hydrogen atoms through the oil and removing them, creating a broken and chemically unstable oil molecule. College chemistry has a whole segment on it, kinda funny.

    So anyway, unless your shortening is palm oil, it’s probably some form of engineered oil and not transfat free. I’ll gladly forgo the puffiness promised by shortening for the richness guaranteed by butter. 🙂

    1. Taryn, I feel that way too. You may already know this, but if you sub butter, you need to decrease the water or increase flour to make the transition more smooth. Also, I’ve had problems baking cookies with butter higher than 350°.

      1. Mary – I usually play it by ear and end up adding a bit more flour. And then I under-cook them slightly so that they’re more gooey than cakey. As for baking butter cookies in temps higher than 350º, I actually sit and watch them until the edges turn golden, then make note of the time, rinse and repeat. 🙂

  12. wow, just finished icing my cookies, they are so good! These are better than grandma’s, sorry, its the truth! Only suggestion, my cookies spread a fair amount, so start small, and I would maybe double the icing, it is just so yummy!

  13. My 3-y-o just told me, “We need to make those!” =D They do look and sound delicious — and spring-like which we need in the midst of all this rain! =)

  14. This is non cookie related but I wanted to post! I’m hosting a bridal shower for my good friend and I’m giving her one of my spare cookbooks of yours – so in honor of that I’m making all the food (ok 90% of the food) from your blog / book! I’m sooo stoked – its like an Our Best Bites Themed Shower! 🙂 You all have the best ideas, recipes and cookbook EVER – I never fear when I make something of yours – the only thing I’ve ever screwed up was the flour frosting and I know how and I know why and I knew it when I did it that I shouldn’t have!

    AWESOME is all I have to say – now to add these cookies to the expanding brunch menu.. thats the only question 🙂

  15. I made a similiar cookie around Christmas but mine were too cakey for me. That recipe didn’t call for sour cream either so I’m excited to try these!

    Thx for sharing Kate

  16. Thanks! these look amazing and I can’t wait to make them.

    shortening: I get the natural kind that doesn’t have hydrogenated oil in it like crisco etc does. It has never failed me on any other recipe hope it won’t on this one.

  17. Goodness. I think the only reason I can read your blog and not get fat is that I’m stuck at home without a car all day. I’m usually missing half of the ingredients and can’t get to the store, and therefore am forced to resist the temptation of cooking delicious looking goodies like these.

  18. Phrases like “dreamy little orange pillows” are the reason I always read the long stories about your recipes. 🙂 It’s like you two live in my brain.

  19. can I use fresh juice instead of concentrate? These look amazing and I am trying to use up the oranges O plenty that we have in our yard!

    1. Okay, I’ve been thinking about this all day (my life is so exciting, right?!) and I’m thinking if you can’t/don’t want to/are unwilling to use orange juice concentrate, you could start with 1 cup of regular orange juice and just boil it down to 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons. Not sure why I didn’t think of that before, haha! I bet these would be AMAZING with fresh oranges!

  20. Okay, I made these tonight and they are SOOOOOO good. But I had to make a second batch of the frosting, and even put teeny little dollops on each cookie, I didn’t quite have enough for all of them. So double the frosting people!

    1. Oh, my gosh, you’re totally right! I always cut the recipe in half because it makes so many, but I double the frosting because there’s never enough, and I forgot to double it! Thanks so much for pointing it out! I’ve modified the directions! 🙂

  21. Kate- I am so mad at you. My sister (I brought her with me to your book-signing kick off at Gygi’s) saw this recipe yesterday and immediately made it. Then she shared the cookies with me and I inhaled 5 of them. She sent me home with a plateful of them and now I’m eating them for breakfast! My diet doesn’t stand a chance with cookies as good as these!!!

  22. I made these yesterday and they are delicious! My family and friends loved them! Your recipes always seem to work for me! Thank You for sharing!

  23. These look divine! I may just make them tonight! The perfect post conference treat (even though we already had lots of goodies for conference already)! Lol, I look for any excuse to make a treat!

    I love my cookbook, by the way. You gals are the best!

  24. We made these over the weekend and they have been completely devoured by my family! These are incredible! My question is: Can this recipe be doubled and still turn out ok? Thank you for your delicious and easy recipes (my family thanks you too!)

    1. Chrissy–Yep, you can totally double them. In fact, I cut the original recipe in half because there is NO WAY on earth that I need 72 of those little suckers lying around my house… 🙂

  25. I tried these today! They are DELICIOUS! I think you could do the same thing with these and substitute lemonade for OJ and lemon zest for the orange zest 🙂 I really liked this recipe… especially the frosting! :))

  26. I made these yesterday and they are FANTASTIC!!!! My hubby usually doesn’t eat a lot of sweets and he ate 4 with icing and 4 without. They are really sweet with the icing and I could only eat 2, but they are also really good without the icing. One of the best cookies I’ve had in a long time and I’m not really a cookie fan. 🙂

  27. I made these cookies with the orange like it said, and then decided to make them with lemon zest and frozen lemonade. They were awesome!!! I think we liked the lemon better than the orange. They might even be good cooled for summertime.

  28. How far ahead do you think I could make these. We are going to a family Easter party on Saturday and I was wanting to make them today. Is 2 days to long? perhaps on the counter in an airtight container? Or should I make the cookies, make the frosting, but not frost them until I need them? Sorry, I just don’t know what to do :s

  29. Just brought these yummy cookies to a baby shower for 2 of my girlfriends…I even had a little sign next to the plate with your website! Everyone complemented me about the cookies and I RAVED about your website and your cookbook! I swear I should just wear a shirt that says, “I heart OURBESTBITES,COM!!” LOL…everytime I sign up to bring something savory or sweet…I jump on your website or choose a yummy dish from your book and I’m set! I can trust that everyone will love it! Keep up the yummy work!

  30. A friend introduced me to your cookbook a few weeks ago – I have never enjoyed cooking, but your book and blog have completely changed that! The recipes are so easy and tasty… Just made these cookies this afternoon and loved them! Good thing they’re just a bit too sweet to eat more than 2 in one sitting… Otherwise my husband wouldn’t be able to taste the orange-y goodness!! You two rock!

  31. I have been wanting to make these since you first posted this recipe, and today I finally did. They’re in the oven right now, I can’t wait for them to be done!

  32. I made these last night for a birthday party – OMG, yum! Make them now! I didn’t have orange concentrate but I had everything else on hand, so I did the fresh orange juice method. The orange flavor is probably lighter than if using the concentrate, but they are outrageously good. Thank you for the recipe!

  33. i made these last night…for no reason other than because i had the recipe printed out since it was posted and i needed a fun sunday diversion. they are amazing! my fiance is very picky about anything NOT containing peanut butter, and he loved them! thanks for another winner!

  34. I think that orange concentrate can be done at home. Boil 1/2 cup real fresh orange juice until it reduces to 1/4 cup and ready. It will be concentrate juice, then just let cool.

  35. I made these today, and LOVED them!!! In my oven they only needed 9 minutes (not 10). When you take them out at 9, they look like they may not be done cooking, but by the time they cool off & set up, they are PERFECT!!! (I cooked my first 2 batches for 10 minutes, and wished that I hadn’t).

    I took these delightful little cookies to a family gathering, and realized that not everyone likes “citrus” tasting cookies. Some adults seemed to like them as much as I did, but certainly not all. Some of the kids did not like them at all (including one of mine….who doesn’t like OJ), and a couple wouldn’t even try them when I said that the frosting tastes like Orange Juice.

    I loved them enough to definitely make them again, and I am excited to try them with Limeade/lime zest, and Raspberry Lemonade/lemon zest.

    Thank you, thank you for a superb recipe! I love your blog!!!

  36. Oh!…I also wanted to say that I didn’t use Butter flavored Crisco, just regular, plus I used Wilton Butter Flavoring. (It’s a product found with cake decorating supplies).

  37. I have made these a couple times with great success (and raves from those I shared them with), but I tried to make a double-batch yesterday for a baby shower and they were a complete failure! They were totally flat. Do you have any idea why they would do that? Could doubling the batch have made them flat? I was heartbroken as I raced to the store to buy store-made cookies. 🙁 I want to try them again, but if you have any suggestions for me, that would be great.


    1. I’ve never tried doubling this recipe but yeah, sometimes doubling cookie recipes can lead to disastrous results. I don’t ever know exactly why or which recipes won’t double well, but it’s always kind of a tricky, nerve-wracking thing!

  38. My daughter makes these cookies……OH MY GOODNESS…when you taste them you think you have died and gone to heaven!!!!!

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