12 Days of Cookies: #10 Orange-Almond Buttons!


I’m a little surprised that there aren’t more recipes with orange. Sure, a little zest gets thrown in now and then. But I am talking about desserts that really feature orange as the primary flavor. They are rare. I love oranges and I am always on the lookout for recipes that go beyond that bit of orange zest to brighten them up. Orange was what attracted me to these cookies initially, but I am also developing a little bit of a thing for meringues. This recipe combines the two and made it onto the list of 12 cookies from the very start. As Nancy Silverton promises, they are seriously addictive. They also offer a nice change of texture from the usual cookie tray offerings. They are bright and fruity with a nice satisfying crunch. They are one of my personal favorites from this collection of cookies. One more thing that needs to be said about these—and I hope this doesn’t turn some of you off—they taste like FRUIT LOOPS! Seriously. In the very best way possible. Like the fanciest Fruit Loops in the world.


EXCITING DAY TOMORROW! Another very special cookie and fun collaboration with one of my favorite websites! PLUS I’ll be bringing you the first annual Lottie + Doof Gift Guide. It will be the Best Friday Ever.


Orange-Almond Buttons (Nancy Silverton)

  • 2 1/2 ounces (heaping 1/2 cup) blanched or unblanched almonds
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
  • 2 extra-large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds (for decorating)
  • confectioner’s sugar (for decorating)

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, combine nuts with 2 tablespoons of the granulated sugar and process until it’s the consistency of a fine meal. Add 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar, the flour, and orange zest, and pulse on and off until just combined.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on low, until frothy. Turn the mixer up to medium-high and beat until soft peaks form, another 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to high, gradually add the remaining 2 tablespoons of the sugar, and beat until stiff peaks form, about 2 to 3 more minutes.

Remove the bowl from the mixer. In 3 batches, gently fold in the nut mixture to incorporate.

If using a pasty bag, fill it half full. Working quickly, pipe or spoon the batter into circles, about 1 inch in diameter and spaced about 1 inch apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Scatter about 3 to 5 sliced almonds over each circle, allowing the nuts to topple off the edge slightly while still clinging to the batter. Sift a fine layer of powdered sugar over the cookies and bake about 20 minutes, until the nuts are lightly browned, and the cookies are slightly firm to the touch.

Yield: 36 cookies


Previously on the 12 Days of Cookies:

#1 Marlow & Sons Shortbread

#2 Dorie Greenspan’s Linzer Sables

#3 Apricot Bow Ties

#4 101 Cookbooks Sparkling Ginger Chip Cookies

#5 Almond-Anise Cookies

#6 Lebkuchen

#7 The Wednesday Chef’s Cardamom Cookies

#8 Mexican Chocolate Cookies

#9 Toasted Coconut Sables

17 comments to “12 Days of Cookies: #10 Orange-Almond Buttons!”

  1. I will have to agree with you – these might be my favorites – so far! Well,,, maybe second after the mexican chocolate cookies. the fruit loop comment didn’t hurt either – i used to eat those just to drink the fruity milk afterwards…. yuuuummm.

    hmmm…i wonder who’s tomorrow? I have a good guess based on the caliber of guests you’ve had so far. We’ll see if i’m right!

  2. I make a similar version with lemon every year from Claudia Fleming’s Last Course, and they are fabulous, and they DO taste like Fruit Loops! Only much, much, much better (I loathe fruit loops, but love these). Try them sandwiched together with a citrus buttercream — I beat a 1/2 cup of lemon curd into a batch of basic powdered sugar + butter. SO good. *Molly

  3. These look fabulous! I’d love to make these with almond meal that I already have in my cupboard (hooray Trader Joe’s!). I can use the same weight of almond meal, right?

  4. Yeah, give it a try! Should work fine. Texture might be a little different, but still lovely.

  5. These look perfect. Just may give them a try for a cookie exchange party!

  6. Hi Tim – been enjoying this festive feature hugely, and while everything here looks tempting, these look and sound particularly inviting… i love orange and orange-flavored treats, too! texturewise, are they a bit like macaroons? reckon i have to give them a try to find it out myself! thanks for putting together the fantastic holiday cookie list!

  7. The flavors of citrus and almond (often together) are very traditional in a lot of Italian cookie recipes… at least if my grandmother’s cookies are any indication. I was just writing about her Christmas cookies this morning, but alas, haven’t finished the post yet! ;) In her cookies, the orange flavor was definitely present, but not so pronounced that you’d think “fruit loops.” That said, these look really good. Best Friday Ever, huh? Now that’s something to look forward to.

  8. I just made these, and they are fantastic. A nice light departure from the normal heavy holiday cookies. The made the whole house smell like oranges!! Yummy :)

  9. Great, Melanie! I am so glad you liked them.

  10. I’m so happy I discovered your site and this recipe looks terrific–I definitely need a break from the obscene amount of butter required for most cookies.

    One question–how essential are extra-large eggs? I plan to make these with large eggs and maybe just reduce the other ingredients by a little bit.

  11. you’ll be fine with large eggs, no problem!

  12. Thanks Tim! Sometimes I over-think things so went ahead and made the cookies (with large eggs!) before seeing your answer and they are really delicious. I had some leftover slivered almonds that I used for the tops rather than sliced, which are probably less pretty but no less tasty. Also, before I dusted on the powdered sugar, my bowl of coarse sea salt was speaking to me so I added a pinch on top of each cookie and then did the sugar. I highly recommend it!

  13. Great! Salt seems like a great idea. Glad they worked out.

  14. Kristin Konsterlie says:

    December 17th, 2009 at 9:44 am

    I had just a bit of trouble with holding the integrity of the beaten egg whites – any tips for me? When I piped them through they softened greatly – almost flat. They baked up okay and folks love them (me, too!), but I’m wanting my next batch to be better. thx much!

  15. Hi Kristin, When you beat the egg whites, make sure that the bowl and mixer are very clean and dry. Make sure no egg yolk sneaks into the whites. Also, make sure you are beating them long enough—the egg whites should hold stiff peaks before you attempt to fold them into the flour mixture. I am sure they’ll be perfect next time! Glad to hear you liked the flavor…

  16. What a great recipe! I made these to bring to a party, but ended up not being able to go because of the weather. So, more cookies for me! Thanks for sharing it with us. And you’re right: They do taste like Fruit Loops!

  17. I’m not much of a cook, but needed a few kinds of cookies to share with friends. These came out beautifully and delighted everyone who tried them. I gave some for an inflight snack to a friend headed home to Japan to see family for the holidays. She loved them so much that she saved the rest for her family to taste. Thanks for making these subtly delicious cookies accessible to those of us without advanced cooking skills.

What do you think?