On to the plate

Experimenting with flavours, colours and style of food served at our place

A sugar cookie just to my liking


Last Friday (last year!) I made more sugar cookies. This time I looked at sugar cookies I’ve made in the past and cobbled together all the bits I liked about them and came up with this recipe:

Cut out chilled dough for cleaner edgesSpiced orange sugar cookies

Makes around 1 dozen 3” cookies (you can double the recipe if desired)


  • 113gm unsalted butter – room temperature
  • 55gm white sugar
  • 60gm brown sugar
  • 1 large egg – room temperature
  • zest of 1 orange
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract (or vanilla paste)
  • ½ tsp orange extract
  • 260gm flour – divided
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp cardamom


  • In a small bowl add the white sugar and orange zest and rub the zest into the sugar to increase the orange flavour with the release of the orange oil from the skin.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer add the butter and both sugars. Cream the butter and sugars until they are light and fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  • Add both the orange and vanilla extracts (or vanilla bean paste) and mix until incorporated.
  • Add the egg and beat until fully incorporated.
  • In a medium bowl measure out 200gm of the flour and add the cardamom, salt and baking powder. Use a whisk to mix together.
  • Add the 200gm of the mixed dry ingredients to the bowl and slowly mix until fully incorporated. If the mixture seems too wet continue to add the remaining 60gm of flour as necessary. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl. If there is any remaining dry ingredient at the bottom of the bowl, mix gently by hand.
  • Place a sheet of waxed paper onto the bench and tip the dough onto the paper. Gently press the dough to flatten it a bit.
  • Place a second sheet of waxed paper over the dough and using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to around ¼” or 6mm in thickness.
  • Place the lot into the fridge to firm up for 30 minutes.
  • With the dough chilled, cut out the cookie shapes and gently lift onto a baking tray and return to the fridge for a further 10-15 minutes while the oven is heating.
  • Heat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius
  • Bake the cookies for 7-9 minutes until the edges are just beginning to brown.
  • Once the cookies have baked remove the tray from the oven and using a fondant smoother apply gentle pressure rubbing over the cookies to flatten them to an even surface.
  • Leave the cookies on the baking tray for 10 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a cooling rack.
  • Once completely cool decorate as you wish, or leave them as is and store them in an airtight container.
  • Gather up the scraps of dough and gently press them together, then roll the dough out between sheets of waxed paper. Depending on how chilled the dough is either re-chill it before cutting out the cookie shapes, or cut out the cookies and chill before removing the excess dough. Either way, chill the dough 10-15 minutes before baking.

Cookie dough consistencyThis recipe is adapted from Lilaloa’s Vanilla Variation and SweetAmbs Orange Vanilla Spice Cookies (available to purchase).

What I love about Lilaloa’s recipe is the use of brown sugar, and I love orange and cardamom, but found SweetAmbs proportions of the spice to be a bit heavy handed for my tastebuds so I toned it down.

Royal Icing with orange juiceI used all of the orange juice from the orange as part of the liquid to make the Royal Icing. I don’t know if you should, but that’s what I did. The Royal Icing I make is from SweetsugarBelle but I use egg albumen instead of meringue powder. The egg albumen has an odd taste and the orange juice completely disguised it. Obviously orange juice is, well, orange. So the royal icing doesn’t look white, but has an orange tinge to it. Royal icing is very truly white anyway, and if you want a proper white you have to add white food gel.

Flatten ready for rolling then chillingRoll between sheets of waxed paperRechilled and ready for bakingHere’s my easy tips for making the cookies nice and tidy. Once you’ve cut out the cookie dough, take each cut out and gently press against the bottom edge of the dough to neaten any jaggered edges so that they’re all uniform. I found the dough was still plenty firm enough for me to hold the cookie and not have it droop while I worked around the edges.

A fondant smoother to smooth the surface

Baked cookiesThese cookies have a little bit of spread even though they are chilled prior to baking. I’m going to experiment with omitting all the baking powder, but I wasn’t at all concerned about the small degree of spread. The cookies held their shape while baking.

spreadI used these cookies for Kade’s bridal shower. Next post is some of the photos I took of the decorated cookies.


14 thoughts on “A sugar cookie just to my liking

  1. Is this an Ecrandal cutter? Such lustrous copper.

  2. I’m looking to buy a few Ecrandal cutters, but I’m not sure what size I should get for decorating. What size would you suggest? Thanks!

    • Hi Lauren, it might depend on the design you’re looking at. Generally I stick between 2.5 – 4″, but most of mine are 3″, that just seems to be a good size for using stencil and piping patterns on. I love my copper cutters!

  3. i love your siteand really want to tey this recipe. do.you have the measurements in.cups., table spoons or liquid.ounces perhaps? i don’t have a scale.to.weight it.out. thank you

    • Hi aLina, thanks for letting me know you’re finding the blog useful. These are roughly the way I convert cups to weights so I’m converting it back from weights to cups:
      113gm of butter is 1/2 cup (US), 55gm of sugar is 1/2 cup (US), 60gm brown sugar is 1/2 cup (US), 260gm of flour is 2 cups (US). Hope that gets you on your way. Cheers.

  4. Hi, Anita!
    I’m brazilian and I loved your recipe. But I really don’t know what “gm” means. Example.: 113gm unsalted butter
    Could you help me with this?
    Thank you very much!

    • Hi Alexia. gm is an abbreviation for grams, It’s metric weight measurement. You’ll need a set of scales, or you can Google what the conversions are for Imperial, or even cups. Hope that gets you on your way. Cheers, Anita

  5. Hi. I think you should try not to melt the butter too much because it causes to spread the cookies after you baked it. 🙂

  6. I love your site and can’t wait to try these cookies. Ever since I started making macarons I love using a scale instead of measuring cups. Also, I think that Maru might have meant that you shouldn’t allow the butter to be too soft. I find that firmer butter and mixing until just combined gives better results for me. Thanks for sharing everything! I’m so glad I “found” you 🙂

    • Hi Barb, thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. It’s strange for me to think of baking without using scales. That’s how I was brought up to bake. I assumed everyone used scales. I still find that I have to convert any recipe I use that’s from America since a cup of flour could vary so much. I stick to a cup being 145gm. Seems to be working so far. I would love to macarons …. one day. It seems either you’ve got it or you haven’t and I don’t want to fall into the “not” camp 😉 Cheers Anita

      • Hi Neets, thanks for responding!
        I think you should try macarons. The great thing about macarons is that even if they “flop” they still taste awesome so all is not lost! There are a lot of myths about how finicky they are. I made a little video for my sister and some friends that might be helpful. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8KSFYYtleVU
        Have a lovely day!

  7. Hi Neets, I’ve made this recipe once and it was fantastic! I just can’t remember if I used light or dark brown sugar. Which would you use? Thanks 🙂

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