When I’m putting together a cookie plate for the holidays, I like to try to find some balance. I always think I’d be perfectly happy with a plate full of Reese’s peanut butter cup cookies and chocolate-peppermint treats, but it is never the case. I inevitably end up craving some bright citrus flavors, a cookie packed with warming spices or something buttery.
So when I’m plotting out my “bake all the holiday cookies” weekend-long extravaganza, I do my best to pick a favorite from each category for a cookie plate that will please any guest’s taste buds. This usually includes a buttery Russian tea cake cookie, some form of sugar cookie (usually maple or eggnog-flavored), something with lemon or orange, and a snickerdoodle or other cinnamon-flavored cookie. And of course, those blossoms and peppermint cookies I mentioned as well.
Let’s talk about those orange and lemon-flavored cookies. The most common way to give baked goods a citrus flavor is to throw in some lemon, lime or orange juice and zest, like in these orange cranberry cookies. But I’ve started experimenting and taking my fruity cookies in another direction by adding marmalade to the doughs instead.
Take these Russian tea cake cookies, for example. They are based off of one of my favorite tea cake recipes. I ditched the white chocolate (a modification that was somewhat painful to make, because I love white chocolate, but it totally worked out in the end), and instead of orange extract and tangerine zest, I subbed in some orange marmalade.
I also upped the salt content a bit. The salt combined with the cooked sugar flavor of the marmalade is reminiscent of an orange salted caramel, so you’re getting both citrus and caramel flavors here. They are definitely a winner – add them to your holiday cookie plates ASAP!
Russian Tea Cake Cookies Recipe
- 1 Blanched Sliced Almonds
- 1 Unsalted Butter Softened
- 0.5 Powdered Sugar Plus more for sprinkling
- 2 Orange Marmalade
- 2 All-Purpose Flour
- 0.75 Salt
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- In a food processor or blender, pulse the almonds until they are in small, coarse pieces.
- Beat the butter with the powdered sugar until light yellow and creamy. Beat in the marmalade.
- Add the flour and salt, stirring until there are no dry spots left.
- Fold in the almonds until all the pieces are mixed in well.
- Form the dough into 1” balls and space them 1” apart on a baking sheet. Bake at 350°F for 11-14 minutes, or until the bottoms are just barely beginning to brown.
- Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar immediately and allow to cool.