Zesty Florida Orange Sugar Cookies
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 Florida orange
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Using zester or knife, scrape skin of Florida orange to create 1 tablespoon of orange zest.
Place butter, sugar, orange zest, eggs and vanilla in a bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of freshly-squeezed Florida orange juice from reserved orange. Beat 2 minutes on medium high until creamy.
Add the baking powder and salt and mix briefly.
Add the flour in 3 batches, mixing on low just until ingredients are combined; do not over mix.
Cover the batter with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. The dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days before baking.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Using your hands, roll dough into 1-inch balls, roll in granulated sugar and place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Cookie sheets may also be lined with parchment paper.
Use a flat-bottomed glass to flatten cookie balls into 1/4-inch thick rounds. Sprinkle lightly with green sugar crystals.
Bake at 400 degrees F. for 6 to 10 minutes, checking periodically, until bottom of cookie is light brown.
Using a spatula, remove cookies to wire racks and cool.
Makes 4 dozen cookies. When cool, store in an air-tight container.
Note: Dough can also be rolled into 1/8-inch thick sheets using a rolling pin and cut into holiday shapes with cookie cutters. Transfer to ungreased cookie sheet, decorate and bake for 6 to 8 minutes.