Blood Orange–Vanilla Cookies

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 3 hr (plus cooling)
  • Active: 40 min
  • Yield: about 30 blood orange-vanilla cookies
This recipe is based on a favorite summertime ice cream truck treat — the classic Creamsicle pop! We used both blood orange zest and orange extract to make these beautiful cookies, which are perfect for the holidays when sweet, tart citrus is in peak season.


For the Cookies:

For the Royal Icing:


  1. Make the cookies: Beat the butter in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk the flour, confectioners’ sugar and salt. Reduce the mixer speed to low, then beat the flour mixture into the butter mixture until just combined. Stir in the orange zest, vanilla bean paste and orange extract. Divide the dough into 2 balls, form into disks and wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325˚ F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out 1 disk of dough until just shy of 1/4 inch thick; if the dough cracks, let it warm up a few minutes. Cut out rounds with a 2 1/2- to 3-inch cutter, then arrange the rounds about 1 inch apart on one of the baking sheets. Gather the scraps and reroll to cut out more cookies; refrigerate 10 minutes before baking.
  3. Bake, switching the pans halfway through, until the cookies are lightly golden, 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to a rack to cool completely. Meanwhile, repeat with the remaining disk of dough.
  4. Make the royal icing: Mix together the confectioners’ sugar, meringue powder, 4 tablespoons blood orange juice and both extracts until the icing is spreadable and not runny; if it’s too thick, whisk in more juice, 1 tablespoon at a time. Transfer 1 cup of the icing to a small bowl and mix with orange and red food coloring to make a blood orange color. Drizzle some of the colored icing over the plain icing; swirl slightly with a toothpick or skewer. Dip the tops of the cookies into the icing, gently twisting to create a marbled effect; allow the excess to drip off. Transfer the cookies to a rack set on a baking sheet. Let the icing set at least 1 hour.