Millie’s Orange Drop Italian Cookies


Millie's Orange Italian Cookies

Mmm, these orange drop cookies are a favorite of mine!  They remind me of the Italian cookies my grandparents bought at a local Italian bakery in upstate New York.

I made them last year, and I couldn’t wait to make them again.

The recipe is from Grace Pilato’s cookbook “Cooking with Grace”, and to this day, remains my favorite Italian American cookbook.

I compare them to a cross between an orange scone, and a glazed cake donut.  If you make these, make sure you paint the glaze on to cover the cookie completely.  It will seal in the moisture of the cookie.

Millie’s Orange Drop Cookies
Biscotti all’Arancia

For the cookie dough:
1/2 c unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
3 c unbleached all-purpose flour
5 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 c whole milk
2 large eggs
1 Tbso grated orange zest
1 tsp orange extract (I used a good extract and added a few drops of orange liquer)

For the Frosting:
1 1/2 c confectioner’s sugar
4-5 Tbsp evaporated milk
1 tsp orange extract

Prepare oven with one rack on bottom shelf and the other on second from the top shelf.
Preheat to 350 degrees.  Line 3 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugar with electric mixer.  In another bowl, sift flour with baking powder and salt; set aside.

Pour milk into glass measuring cup and heat in microwave to warm (30 seconds).  Add eggs and orange rind and extract to the measuring cup and mix with a fork.  Add the milk mixture to the creamed butter-sugar-mixture and beat for one minute with mixer.

With mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture about 1/2 cup at a time until mixture is used.

Drop dough by rounded teaspoonsfuls onto parchment paper lined cookie sheets, leaving 1″ space around each cookie.

Bake the first sheet for 8 minutes on the bottom rack; then transfer it to the upper rack and continue baking for 7 minutes.  When you transfer the first sheet to the top, place a second sheet on the bottom rack, continuing to bake each sheet on the bottom rack for 8 minutes on the bottom rack and 7-8 minutes on the upper rack.  Remove the cookies from the oven as they turn golden.  Cool for 2 minutes on cookies sheets, then place on wire racks to cool completely before frosting.

To Frost:
Combine confectioner’s sugar, milk, and orange extract–stir until dissolved.
use your index finger like a paint brush to frost each cookie on all sides, including the bottoms, and set them on a rack to dry.  Be sure to cover in the glaze frosting to seal them–that way the glaze holds in the moisture.

Store in an air tight container up to one week  or freeze them in a heavy duty freezer bag for up to three months.   Try to remove as much air as possible from the freezer bag before sealing.  You may opt to frost the frozen cookies after you’ve defrosted them rather than before.

These are perfect with a cup of coffee or hot tea.  A little reminiscent of a scone–only a bit more sweet.

If you’d like to see photos of the steps–including finger glaze click below…




Cream butter and sugar





Parchment paper works too


Cool completely before glazing


Painting on the glaze



2 thoughts on “Millie’s Orange Drop Italian Cookies

  1. This really reminded me of ‘Jumbals’ made in the US around 1700’s. Actually the recipe is attributed to Lady Washington. I think you’d like it. These look yummy by the way! Cheers!

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