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On Hunger Games, Holy Week, and Orange Cookies

These Fluffy Orange Cookies are covered in a sticky sweet citrus glaze for a delicate spring dessert.

Orange Cookies | Neighborfoodblog.com

I was a slow convert to the Hunger Games mania. I haven’t read Harry Potter or Twilight, which either makes me the lamest or smartest person on the planet depending on your perspective. It’s not because I’m a hipster or because I hate wizards. I think I’ve always just been a bit wary of hype.

Still, after many loving suggestions, prods, reminders, and pleas I finally read the books.  Honestly, it is worth almost all the hype. I was instantly drawn in, captivated by this story of oppression and violence interwoven with selflessness and friendship, and from the look of my Facebook, Twitter, and news feed, I’m not the only one.

I’ve thought about the story a few times over the past weeks, but it wasn’t until this week, Holy Week, that I began to think about the deeper themes that run throughout the book. Self-sacrifice. Unconditional love. Fierce devotion. The quest for justice. A longing for things to be made right.

It’s a story that resonates somewhere deep within me, and one I need so badly to be reminded of on this Holy Week. It’s the story of Someone who loves me even when I’m spiteful, who pursues me even when I resent it, who died for me even though I didn’t deserve it. It’s the story of one Great Lover who was willing to sacrifice His Son, His beloved Son, so that I could live.

Someone else loved you enough to die for you. Let that sink in.

There is Someone who is willing to fight for us, sacrifice for us, die for us. And His name isn’t Peeta or Gale. His name is Jesus. And not only did He die to save humanity, He conquered death and evil so one day all creation could be restored. Even as we face the injustices and the corruption of our world (which is far too close to those depicted in the Hunger Games), we have hope that one day “He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more…for He is making all things new” (Rev. 21:5).

I pray this Holy Week, we’ll be hit anew with the love that was reckless enough to die for us. I pray our hearts will be filled with longing for the restoration and wholeness that only Christ can bring. We have hope in a God who is bigger than all this brokenness. Thank God!

Orange Cookies | Neighborfoodblog.com

I know, I know, what the heck does this have to do with cookies?

Well, nothing really. But these cookies do make a great companion for an afternoon of reflection. They’re gently sweet, soft, and fluffy with a burst of citrusy orange glaze. So pour a cup of tea. Grab a few cookies. And spend some time soaking in the story that really deserves all the hype.

Orange Cookies | Neighborfoodblog.com
Orange Cookies
Yield: 36 cookies
Recipe by Neighborfood

These cookies are light and fluffy, not overly sweet, with a wonderful burst of citrus. Perfect for an afternoon tea, spring brunch, or Easter table. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
3 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs
Zest of one orange
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla

For the glaze:
1/2 cup orange juice (I used fresh squeezed)
4 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger and whisk until incorporated. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream shortening and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add vanilla and orange zest and beat until incorporated.
4. With the mixer on low speed, add dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Beat just until combined.
5. Drop by the Tablespoon full onto greased cookie sheets (this will produce smaller, tea like cookies) or by heaping Tablespoons for larger cookies. These don’t spread out a lot so you don’t need to leave a ton of room between them (probably about an inch on all sides).
6. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until fluffy (the tops should spring back when touched), rotating pans halfway through the baking time.

For the glaze:
1. In a large bowl mix together orange juice, powdered sugar, vanilla, ginger, and salt. Whisk until smooth and creamy. Add OJ to think or powdered sugar to thicken (I like to leave mine a little thinner). To frost, place cooled cookies on a cooling rack placed on top of a pan. Spoon glaze over top and let it drip down the sides and onto the pan. Let dry before placing in an airtight container with rows separated by wax paper.

{ 10 comments… add one }

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  • Melanie {adorkable} April 3, 2012, 1:53 PM

    yum! This reminds me of my grandma’s orange cookies (I hope you didn’t grate your knuckles like I did! LOL)
    http://adorkablerecipes.blogspot.com/2010/12/orange-iced-cookies.html

    • Courtney @ Bake. Eat. Repeat. April 3, 2012, 3:36 PM

      Argh! I had a few close calls. I love my microplane zester/grater but that things will tear you up! Nobody wants flesh zest in their cookies, I can tell you that for sure.

  • Melanie {adorkable} April 3, 2012, 2:00 PM

    PS your photos are BEAUTIFUL!

  • Christina April 3, 2012, 4:53 PM

    excellent post! I love the parallel that you drew.
    and she’s right, the photos are beautiful..

    fresh zest, yes please.
    flesh zest, no no no.

  • Amy April 3, 2012, 6:01 PM

    I haven’t yet read the hunger games (but I plan on it), but this devotion really hit home for me. It’s easy to get caught up in the Easter-hype, and I really appreciate and needed the slow down.

    As for the cookies, YUM! I think when I finally do get around to reading the Hunger Games, I’m gonna make these and some tea and have a grand ole time 🙂

    Thanks again for another delicious masterpiece!

  • Erin Joy April 4, 2012, 10:04 AM

    Dearest, they are SO good. So, so good. I’m usually not a fan of overwhelming ginger OR orange in anything at all, and these cookies were the subtlest, most delicate balance of each. Marvelous! Bravo! Encore? 😉

    And reading all about ‘flesh zest’, I’m super GRATEful (ah! ah! get it?) for our little zester. :0)

    By the by, how do you think this recipe would taste with lemon substituted for orange? Both are citrus, but I’m not super sure about how lemon would balance with everything else. Thoughts?

    • Courtney @ Bake. Eat. Repeat. April 4, 2012, 11:43 AM

      Oh Erin, you’re making me blush. Thank you. I’m so glad you liked them so much!

      As far as lemon goes the best answer is…I’m not sure, but I think it’s worth a try. I would probably cut out the ginger and cinnamon and maybe use white sugar instead of brown sugar. I think the glaze would be AMAZING as lemon…just not as confident about the cookies themselves.

  • Julia @The Roasted Root April 4, 2012, 10:31 AM

    I didn’t want to give in to the Hunger Games hype either, but I watched it a couple of nights ago and really enjoyed it. Your cookies look delicious (would love to have a platefull with tea as well!). I like that you put ginger in them for a nice secret ingredient kick. Lovely!

  • Jen @ The Scrumptious Pumpkin April 4, 2012, 12:38 PM

    Yum! These cookies look wonderful and perfect for spring! 🙂

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