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Orange Sable Cookies

For busy bakers, icebox cookies are indispensable: Whenever fresh, warm treats are called for, these orange delights can be popped into the oven for an instant treat.

  • Yield: Makes 5 dozen
Orange Sable Cookies

Source: Holiday Cookies 2001, Special Issue Holiday 2001


  • 1 1/4 cups whole blanched almonds
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons finely grated orange zest (2 to 3 oranges)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sanding or granulated sugar, for rolling


  1. Place almonds and confectioners' sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Process until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal; set aside.

  2. Place butter and zest in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. On low, add almond mixture; beat until combined, 10 to 15 seconds. Add egg and orange juice; combine. Add flour; combine.

  3. Place two 12-by-16-inch pieces of parchment on a clean work surface. Divide dough in half. Form a rough log with each half; place on parchment. Fold parchment over dough; use a ruler to roll and press dough into 1 1/2-inch-diameter logs. Wrap. Chill for at least 3 hours.

  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Spread sanding sugar in a baking pan. Unwrap logs; roll in sugar to coat. Cut into scant 1/4-inch-thick rounds; place on sheets, 1 inch apart. Bake until edges turn golden, about 15 minutes, rotating halfway through. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Bake or freeze remaining dough. Store baked cookies in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Cook's Note

Dough can be kept frozen for up to 6 weeks.

Reviews (19)

  • aulait 10 Sep, 2011

    To "patcash".Orange Zest is quite intense Flavour.Sweet juice of 3 Tablespoons equals 9 teaspoons for the Orange Juice.Using a Fine mesh Rasp will give so much zest to chop up into smaller bits that are redolent through~out every cookie.Sanding Sugar is also known as "Bar Sugar" that is rimmed on drink's glasses. "Castor Sugar" another name from Britain.Try and see if notice Flavours.If desire,a dash of Orange Extract if not as intensely "Orange" flavoured as desired as well.Never distrust MSL.

  • patcash 20 Feb, 2011

    I haven't made these but I can't imagine that there would be much of an orange flavor with that amount of zest and juice. I found the same thing with her lemon ice box cookies. I ended up making a lemon flavored frosting so people would know they were lemon. Especially my lemon loving people. The next batch I made I increased both zest and juice and they were great. Will do the same with the orange.

  • dafadill 20 Feb, 2011

    My husband has heart problems so I don't use nuts. I buy the small, crunchy Grape Nut Cereal (not the grape nut cereal FLAKES). You simply run a cup or two in a food processer until they are the size you want and use in place of nuts. A good substitute anywhere nuts are used, and healthy also.

  • juliaintheemeraldcity 6 Dec, 2010

    I made these a couple of years ago with finely chopped crystallised ginger in place of the sanding sugar and extra orange zest (I'm a citrus nut so I always increase it) and they were awesome! Great with a cup of tea. I am making them this week for a Christmas cookie exchange as a change of pace from all the chocolate, and now that I know you can buy pre-blanched almonds, they will be much easier as a weeknight recipe!

  • WonderWomyn 18 Sep, 2009

    try 'em with lemon instead of orange...yummy!

  • connienikkel 18 Sep, 2009

    I couldn't get this page to go to print.

  • cathyc 4 Jan, 2009

    My bridal shower guests LOVED these cookies!! Thank you!!
    I was glad that I could makde the dough ahead, and just bake them fast and fresh the night before the shower.
    re: the Alsmonds -- you buy them "blanched". I found mine at a bulk food store for a fair price. They aslo are at Kroger in the baking aisle.

  • KimKubicek 22 Dec, 2008

    I thought these were delicious! They were a little time consuming for a novice baker like myself, and I ended up not blanching the almonds because that in itself would have taken forever. They would probably look nicer without the almond skin, but they still taste delicious!

  • vikki88 11 Dec, 2008

    Sounds delicious. I'd like to use Trader Joe's Almond Meal. Does anyone know how much 1-1/4 cups of whole almonds would convert to already ground almond meal?

  • blubeem 10 Dec, 2008

    i thought that the cookies were simple to make. the smell of the orange zest permeated my frig overnite. they look beautiful and will make for a great presentation on the cookie tray.

  • Leejaca 20 Nov, 2008

    I found these boring, alot of work grinding nuts, grating zest and the flavor doesn't pop. Boring to look at too. Sorry, this one is being deleted.

  • sarahp23 18 Nov, 2008

    They look really cute in the picture, are they just sitting in sugar?

  • AdrienneKohlmann 14 Nov, 2008

    My son has a nut allergy and a friend made some biscuits substituting the almonds with pine nuts/kernals - loves them. The friends husband also has a nut allergy and can eat these biscuits. I am Australian so not sure what you call pine nuts over there. :)

  • Pamg 14 Nov, 2008

    Is there any other substitute for the almonds? Our daughter has extreme allergies to almonds/nuts. Just hoping, they sound really good !

  • Goflutes 14 Nov, 2008

    Its4connie, sanding sugar is the decorating sugar, either colored or clear. Unlike regular white sugar, sanding sugar has a bit of carnuba wax added to it. The grains are often coarser / larger, too.

  • Encee 14 Nov, 2008

    Hi dottiestarr, my son was gluten/casein free when he was younger (autistic) and I am familiar with substituting ingredients. Yes, you should be able to use the oat flour. The difference may be the texture. Try adding a tablespoon of the dry egg-replacer to the flour to help "normalize" the way the cookies feel when they are eaten. Also, in lower-gluten recipes (wheat free is this too) a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar added to the liquid is very helpful in keeping items "spongier"

  • its4connie 14 Nov, 2008

    What is sanding sugar? I'm thinking these would be cute to use on my cookie gift plates if I used red and/or green sugar.

  • dottiestarr 14 Nov, 2008

    I'm looking for recipes where oat flour could be substituted for wheat flour. Might this recipe work and become wheat-free?

  • LHComment 14 Nov, 2008

    Sounds like something good to keep on hand in the freezer. Calorie count, fat, other nutritional details?

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