Spring is fast-approaching, and with it my desire for citrus flavors. These blood orange sugar cookies hit the mark. Light, refreshing and bursting with citrus flavor, they’re a fun twist on a classic recipe.
Why use blood oranges instead of regular oranges? Blood oranges have a stronger flavor than typical oranges, and they’re a little bit sweeter. Feel free to substitute normal oranges, but keep in mind that the flavor won’t be as distinct.
Start by zesting two blood oranges. You’ll need all of that zest for the dough. Then juice one of the oranges. Measure out enough juice for both the dough and the frosting. I only needed one orange’s worth of juice.
Add the juice and zest after creaming together the butter, Crisco and sugar and beating in the eggs. Mix in the dry ingredients, and chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least two hours. You can also chill the dough overnight.
Roll out half of the chilled dough on a floured surface, like a pastry mat, marble pastry board or countertop. The dough should be about a ¼-inch thick. Transfer each cookie cutout onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. I recommend flouring the spatula, too. Don’t put more than 12 cookies on a baking sheet.
Chill each sheet of cookie cutouts for at least 30 minutes before baking. This will ensure that they hold their shape in the oven. Bake the cookies one pan at a time for no more than 6 to 7 minutes. Large cookies will need 7 minutes. Round cookies like the ones pictured above (which are about 3 inches in diameter) only need 6 minutes. The middles will be soft but shouldn’t be wet and doughy. The key to a good sugar cookie is not to overbake it!
Let the cookies rest on the pans for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire cooling rack.
Make the frosting while the cookies are cooling. In fact, I always freeze cookies before decorating them. A good sugar cookie is very soft, and it’s easier to handle if it’s frozen.
If you plan to decorate your cookies with buttercream roses or any type of thick design (like a rosette), consider doubling the frosting recipe. And of course, don’t forget the sprinkles! I love the way this Sprinkle Pop mix (“Havana nights”) complements the orange roses.
Note: I originally created this recipe for Sprinkle Pop, who generously compensated me for my time.
The best way to store sugar cookies is in the freezer. Place a sheet of wax paper in between layers of frozen cookies in an airtight container for optimal space and freshness. They thaw quickly, so don’t worry about that!
Tag me @rosesandwhiskers on Instagram if you try these blood orange sugar cookies and use the hashtag #rosesandwhiskers. Happy baking! 🙂
Blood Orange Sugar Cookies
- 2 1/2 cups gluten free 1 to 1 baking flour or substitute all-purpose flour for gluten-full cookies
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 6 tbsp butter-flavored Crisco
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- zest of 2 blood oranges room temperature
- 4 tsp freshly squeezed blood orange juice room temperature
Blood Orange Buttercream Frosting
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 1/4 cup Crisco
- 4 1/4 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tbsp blood orange juice
- 2 tbsp whole milk
- 2 tbsp heavy cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Zest two blood oranges. You might only need to squeeze one of them, so measure the juice before you squeeze both.
- Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
- Cream the butter, Crisco and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, making sure each is fully incorporated. Mix in the zest and blood orange juice.
- On low speed, gradually blend in the dry ingredients until justice combined. Cover the dough and chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours. You can also chill the dough overnight.
- Roll out half of the chilled dough onto a floured surface until ¼-inch thick. Keep the rest of the dough in the refrigerator until you’re ready for it. Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes and transfer them onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Don’t put more than 12 cookies on a pan.
- Re-roll the scraps until you’ve used up the dough and then roll out the remaining dough.
- Chill each sheet of cookies for at least 30 minutes before baking. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). I don’t even preheat the oven until the cookies have been in the fridge for 30 minutes. Bake the cookies one pan at a time for 6 to 7 minutes. The middles should still be soft but not wet and doughy. Larger cookies will need 7 minutes and smaller cookies will only need 6.
- Leave the cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire cooling rack.
Decorating the Cookies
- Make the frosting while the cookies are cooling. (I actually recommend freezing the cookies before decorating them.) Cream the butter and Crisco until smooth. Add in ½ of the powdered sugar. Mix on low speed until combined and then beat on high speed until creamy. Add in the remaining powdered sugar, the milk, heavy cream, vanilla and blood orange juice. Mix on low speed until combined and then beat on high speed until creamy and fluffy. (Consider doubling the frosting recipe if you plan on using piping tips to decorate. If you simply spread the frosting on this will be enough.)
- Decorate as desired and store in an airtight container in the freezer with a sheet of wax paper in between layers. Enjoy!