Cara Cara Crinkle Cookies

published Nov 26, 2022
christmas
Cara Cara Crinkle Cookies Recipe

A simply dazzling crinkle cookie with bursts of fresh citrus and fragrant vanilla flavor throughout.

Makes42 (2-inch) cookies

Prep45 minutes

Cook10 minutes to 12 minutes

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ginger cookies on a plate with bite out
Credit: Photo: Christopher Testani; Food Styling; Jesse Szewczyk; Prop Styling: Sarah Smart

This recipe is a part of Secret Family Cookies — a dozen recipes from our favorite bakers, inspired by the people who make them feel at home. Get all the amazing cookies here.

Citrus desserts hold a very special place in my heart. There’s just something about the fresh, bright flavors of citrus fruit that make my taste buds dance and remind me so much of childhood. From my Big Mama’s lemon pound cake to citrus tea cake cookies she made for the holidays, citrus was very much at home in my family recipes. 

These homemade orange crinkle cookies with hints of ginger are a nod to the past with a bit of a Grandbaby Cakes twist. They are soft, chewy, buttery, cheerful, and chock-full of fresh citrus and fragrant vanilla flavor. With their dazzling orange skin and tart-yet-sweet juice, oranges are grocery-store gold — especially during the winter season. I like to use Cara Cara oranges in this recipe. Their pink juice and sweet flavor is especially good here, but navel oranges also work well.

Credit: Photo: Christopher Testani; Food Styling; Jesse Szewczyk; Prop Styling: Sarah Smart

Crinkle cookies are basically regular ol’ cookies rolled in powdered sugar. As the dough bakes, it flattens out and the surface cracks, revealing the cookie underneath and leaving patches of white sugar on the top. I love the perfectly cracked tops and the soft, buttery texture.

If you’re working ahead, you can prep and store this dough in the fridge for up to three days. I like to roll the dough into balls and keep them in large freezer-safe zip-top bags for ease. With a batch of dough in the freezer, I know that I can enjoy these cookies all season long.

Cara Cara Crinkle Cookies Recipe

A simply dazzling crinkle cookie with bursts of fresh citrus and fragrant vanilla flavor throughout.

Prep time 45 minutes

Cook time 10 minutes to 12 minutes

Makes 42 (2-inch) cookies

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1

    large egg

  • 1

    large egg yolk

  • 8 tablespoons

    (1 stick) unsalted butter

  • 2 cups

    all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    baking soda

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    ground ginger

  • 3 to 4

    medium cara cara or navel oranges

  • 1 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    vanilla extract

  • 1/2 cup

    powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Place 1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk in a small bowl. Melt 1 stick unsalted butter in the microwave or on the stovetop. Let the eggs and butter sit until room temperature. Meanwhile, place 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Finely grate the zest from 3 to 4 medium oranges until you have 2 tablespoons. Juice the oranges until you have 2 tablespoons.

  2. Place the butter, 1 cup granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract in a large bowl and whisk until combined. Add the egg and egg yolk and whisk until smooth. Add the orange zest and juice and whisk to combine.

  3. Add the flour mixture in 3 increments, stirring with a flexible spatula after each increment until the flour is just combined. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 and up to 3 hours.

  4. Arrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat the oven to 325ºF. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Sift 1/2 cup powdered sugar into a small bowl.

  5. Scoop out level tablespoons of the dough and roll between your hands until smooth. Place in the powdered sugar one at a time and roll until completely coated. Place on the baking sheets, spacing them at least 1 1/2-inches apart, 21 per baking sheet.

  6. Bake until the cookies are set and cracks form on top, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes before serving warm, or let cool completely.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The dough can be formed into balls and frozen without the powdered sugar on a baking sheet until solid. Store in a zip-top bag in the freezer for up to 2 months. When ready to bake, let sit in a single layer on a baking sheet at room temperature while the oven heats. Roll in the powdered sugar before baking.

Storage: The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.