There simply is no replacement for butter, sugar and all-purpose flour in certain recipes — chief among them, shortbread. I adore a good shortbread cookie and consider them important nourishment for my soul. Sometimes my body craves a buttery shortbread cookie, and far be it from me to deny it. It’s called wellness! These blood orange cardamom shortbread cookies may be my favorite shortbread yet. Blood orange zest infuses the not-too-sweet dough and perfectly complements the warm, citrusy notes of cardamom. To make these cookies Valentine’s Day worthy, I dip each cookie in a naturally shocking pink blood orange glaze and adorn it with a sprinkle of blood orange zest and flaky salt. Happy Valentine’s Day, indeed.
The beauty of these cookies is that, despite their glamorous appearance, they are very easy. The dough comes together quickly in one bowl, you roll it into logs, let it chill in the fridge for an hour and then, rather than fussing with rolling pins and cookie cutters, you simply slice and bake. Not easy as pie — way, way easier. Once the cookies have cooled, you casually dip each cookie into the two ingredient glaze that comes together in 1 minute. Done. The cookies store well and the dough freezes well, so feel free to make these in advance. I know Valentine’s Day is usually all about rich, decadent chocolate (which is great), but these cookies are a good and zesty contrast.
Whether or not you are celebrating Valentine’s Day, take the opportunity to treat yourself — to these cookies and a little act of self-love. If you want to show yourself some love in material form (you deserve it!), see below for some picks.
Love, xo Maggie
p.s. for an even simpler V-Day treat, check out these chocolate covered dates.
- 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), room temperature
- 2/3 cup granulated cane sugar, plus more for coating
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp blood orange zest, plus more for sprinkling
- 1.5 tsp ground cardamom
- 3/4 tsp sea salt
- 1 egg, yolk and white separated
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
- To serve: Blood orange glaze and a sprinkle of orange zest and flaky salt
For the glaze:
- 1.5 cups powdered sugar
- 3 tbsp blood orange juice
- Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or an electric hand mixer and bowl, beat the butter, sugar, vanilla, orange zest, cardamom and salt until very light and creamy (about 4-6 minutes). Add the egg yolk (**yolk only**) and continue beating until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and slowly add the flour with the mixer running on low until just combined and the mixture is starting to come together into a dough.
- Dump the dough out onto a piece of parchment paper and work any unincorporated flour into the dough with your hands. Divide the dough in half and, using your hands, form each half into a round log approximately 2 inches in diameter (it doesn’t have to be perfect). If the dough is particularly sticky, sprinkle lightly with flour. Wrap each log in parchment and refrigerate until firm — about 1 1/2 hours.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove the logs from the fridge and let sit at room temperature for about 5 minutes. In a small bowl, beat the reserved egg white. Using a pastry brush, brush the outside of each log with the egg white. Roll in sugar. Using a serrated knife, slice the logs into 1/2 inch rounds. Arrange the slices 1 inch apart on the baking sheets. Bake until lightly golden brown around the edges, about 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool on the pan for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- While the cookies bake, make the glaze by whisking together the powdered sugar and blood orange juice until smooth. Adjust the consistency as needed by adding more sugar to thicken or orange juice to thin. Once the cookies have completely cooled, dip each cookie in the glaze. Alternatively, you can drizzle the glaze over the cookies or spread it onto the cookies. Sprinkle additional orange zest and flaky salt atop the glaze. Enjoy!