Baking with bright colors and flavors is a common occurrence in my kitchen. I especially love using citrus because it reminds me of sunny weather and always lifts my spirits. It’s my favorite kind of aromatherapy.
These cookies are charming in appearance, and they’re loaded with aromatic citrus zests. A coating of sanding sugar on the exterior gives them a sweet sparkle, and they’d be right at home at a fancy tea party.
Even though there are a few steps to making these cookies, they come together rather quickly. They can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator, then sliced and baked at your convenience.
To get started, mix up your cookie dough and make sure it’s not sticky. If there’s any stickiness, add flour a tablespoon at a time and mix well until consistency is achieved. You should be able to pick the dough up with your fingers without it sticking or smearing on your hands.
Gather the dough into a ball and divide evenly into thirds.
Return 1/3 of the dough to the mixer bowl and add the orange zest, orange flavoring, and red and yellow food coloring. Mix until well combined and a consistent orange color is achieved. Remove dough from bowl and set aside.
Wash the mixing bowl and add another 1/3 portion. Repeat process as before using the lemon zest, lemon flavoring and yellow food coloring. Leave the remaining 1/3 portion plain. Gather each portion into a ball and cover. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Roll each tinted portion into a baton approximately 5-inches long by 2 1/2-inches in diameter.
Roll flat the plain portion of dough on a lightly floured surface and wrap a portion around a flavored/tinted dough baton. Cut away excess plain dough; re-roll and wrap remaining dough baton.
Place the orange sanding sugar in a shallow dish and roll the orange flavored dough in it, making sure the surface is completely coated. Repeat process with yellow sanding sugar and lemon dough.
Wrap each dough roll in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours.
Cut slices into rounds, and then make an impression in the rounds with the back of a knife to mimic the segments of citrus fruit. Cut rounds in half and place on a baking sheet.
The slices bake for only a short time: 6-8 minutes total.