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Orange sugar cookies: Bites of sweet sunshine

Recipe: Triple-orange sugar cookies with or without orange glaze

These triple-orange sugar cookies get an extra dose of citrus flavor with a zesty glaze.

These triple-orange sugar cookies get an extra dose of citrus flavor with a zesty glaze.

Debbie Arrington

These very-orange sugar cookies taste like bites of spring sunshine: Crisp, bright and sweet.

That’s just what I need during our very wet late-winter days.

Orange juice and zest give these buttery, crisp cookies a lovely flavor. Orange or lemon extract adds one more citrus note.

Don’t overbake; these cookies crisp as they cool. They’re satisfying served plain, but the zesty, juice-based glaze intensifies the fresh orange flavor and fragrance that much more.

For this recipe, you’ll need two oranges with the glaze, one orange without.

Triple-orange sugar cookies

Makes about 40 cookies

½ cup butter or margarine

¾ cup sugar

2 tablespoons orange zest

1 large egg

1/3 cup fresh orange juice

1 teaspoon orange or lemon extract

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

¼ to 1/3 cup sugar for rolling

For glaze:

1/3 cup orange juice

1 cup powdered sugar, sifted

2 tablespoons orange zest

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter or margarine with an electric mixer until softened. Beat in ¾ cup sugar and 2 tablespoons orange zest. Add egg and beat until combined. Add 1/3 cup orange juice and extract; beat until smooth.

Sift together flour, baking powder and baking soda. Add flour mixture to butter-sugar mixture, a little at a time, beating to make a smooth dough.

Chill the dough for at least an hour, covered with plastic.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Put ¼ cup sugar in a pie plate (add more sugar if needed). With two teaspoons or a melon baller, scoop dough into 1-inch balls. Roll balls in sugar and place 2 inches apart on ungreased or parchment-covered cookie sheet; don’t over crowd – these cookies spread. Gently press down on each ball; the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar works well.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until the edges of the cookies just begin to turn brown. Remove and let cool. Glaze, if desired.

Store in a sealed container.

For glaze: In a saucepan, combine 1/3 cup orange juice with 1 cup sifted powdered sugar. Stirring often, bring to a gentle boil, Cook for 1 minute. Add zest. Cool slightly. Brush over cookies.


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of March 19:

Spring will start a bit soggy, but there’s still plenty to do between showers:

* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.

* Watch out for aphids. Wash off plants with strong blast from the hose.

* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.

* Prepare summer vegetable beds. Spade in compost and other amendments.

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

* Feed camellias at the end of their bloom cycle. Pick up browned and fallen flowers to fight blossom blight.

* Feed citrus trees as they start to blossom.

* Cut back and fertilize perennial herbs to encourage new growth.

* Seed and renovate the lawn (if you still have one). Feed cool-season grasses such as bent, blue, rye and fescue with a slow-release fertilizer. Check the irrigation system and perform maintenance. Make sure sprinkler heads are turned toward the lawn, not the sidewalk.

* In the vegetable garden, transplant lettuce and kale.

* Seed chard and beets directly into the ground.

* Plant summer bulbs, including gladiolus, tuberous begonias and callas. Also plant dahlia tubers.

* Shop for perennials. Many varieties are available in local nurseries and at plant events. They can be transplanted now while the weather remains relatively cool.

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