After a really hectic period at the office and a work trip, I had the loftiest of intentions to keep up with regular blog posts. Instead, I was laid up for a week and a half with a bad cold I caught on the flight home. An 800 km (!) detour to avoid an Atlantic storm meant even MORE time for my sniffling seat mate to spread his germs.
But, Christmas gifts are now bought and wrapped, the first round of baking is done (and sampled, many many times over), and most of our Christmas cards are in the mail. Fingers crossed the remainder will make it under the wire!. It was definitely tough waiting to be germ-free to get started on my baking. I couldn't wait to put on some comfy sweats, play Christmas music and spend solo time in my kitchen.
Those who have followed my Christmas baking posts in earlier years will recognize the base recipes for these cookies. It's fun to start with something tried-and-true, but mix up some ingredients to take them in a new flavour direction. My standby cream cheese shortbread has seen both lemon and lime versions. This year I completed a citrus trifecta with...orange!
In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup of orange juice to a boil over high high. Then lower the heat slightly and continue boiling until reduced to 1/4 cup.
In a stand mixer, cream together 3/4 cup softened unsalted butter and 3 oz softened cream cheese until light and fluffy. Gradually add 1 cup of icing sugar and beat hard. Stir in 1 tsp vanilla extract, the reduced orange juice, and the zest of one orange. Gradually add 2 cups of all-purpose flour. Cover and chill the dough in the refrigerator for 20 mins.
Taking care to handle the dough as little as possible, roll the dough into 1 inch balls, and place on a greased baking sheet. Make an indentation in the dough balls with a fork dipped in icing sugar. Bake at 300F for 25 minutes, or until just starting to colour underneath.
These cookies will keep in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. The cookies can also be frozen for up to two months.