Blood Orange Sugar Cookies

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Blood oranges are so fascinating to me:  unsuspecting from the outside and completely dark, lovely, and dramatic on the inside.  Inspired, I substituted blood orange zest for lemon zest in my Valentine’s Day heart cookies.  I used the juice of the blood orange as a natural pink food coloring for the royal icing.  The cookies turned out lovely and completely bereft of cancer-causing red dye #40.  If you don’t have a blood orange on hand, substitute a regular or Meyer lemon.

Sugar Cookies

1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup Earth Balance
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons dry Ener-G egg re-placer and 2 tablespoons of water OR 1 tablespoon ground flax seed and 3 tablespoons water, mixed together
1 teaspoon finely grated blood orange zest or lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
up to 1/4 cup water, optional

-Preheat oven to 350 F.  Use ungreased, cold cookie sheets.
-In a large bowl, cream together sugar, Earth Balance, and salt.  Beat in the egg re-placer, orange zest, and vanilla until light and fluffy.
-Sift together flour and baking powder.  Gradually stir into the creamed ingredients.  Add water, a tablespoon at a time, just until the dough comes together in a smooth ball.  Chill for 1 hour, covered in plastic wrap.
-Place 1/3 of dough on a lightly floured surface or beneath a sheet of wax paper and roll until 1/8-inch thick.  Cut into fancy shapes and transfer gently to baking sheets.
-Bake 8 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges.
-Transfer to a flattened brown paper bag or cooling racks.

Blood Orange Royal Icing

2 cups confectioner’s sugar
2 tablespoons blood orange juice or unsweetened almond milk
4 teaspoons light corn syrup or agave syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

-In a small bowl, mix together confectioner’s sugar, blood orange juice and vanilla extract until smooth.  Add corn syrup or agave syrup and mix until icing is smooth and glossy.  If icing is too thick, add more corn syrup.
-Transfer icing to pastry bags for piping or use an off-set spatula to ice cookies.  Let dry for 3 to 4 hours.

Yield:  2 to 5 dozen cookies, depending upon size

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