Orange Drop Cookies and Annual Holiday Cookie Exchange – A Guest Post from the Best Friend

She’s back! Last Spring you may remember that my best friend Missy did a guest post stint for the blog as she tested my lemon blueberry tart recipe. Well, since that time, Missy, her husband and their daughter Bailey have welcomed the adorable Kinley to the family.

Meeting Kinley for the first time in FL over Thanksgiving. Oh yeah...Missy and Brad were there too!

I guess having a second child made Missy charitable, because she is sharing her orange drop cookie recipe! Missy is known for this recipe. Well, this recipe and her love for cheese.

So, without further ado, I give you Missy’s Orange Drop Cookies!

In my family we love to celebrate the holidays and Christmas is one of our favorites.  We always spend Christmas Eve at my mom’s house and Christmas day at my Aunt and Uncles.  Besides presents, football games and gorging myself until I want to burst, one of the things I look most forward to is my Aunt Glen’s Orange Drop Cookies. 
 They are only made at Christmas and they are well worth the wait, and I’m not the only person who thinks so…I literally pay my dentist with Orange Drop Cookies…I’m serious!
I asked my aunt what the story was behind the Orange Drop Cookies and she explained that they are a Zweifel family tradition.  She was able to trace them back to Great Grandma Nelly Zweifel.  They are of Swiss-German descent and every woman in the Zweifel family has made them for Christmas.
Now, technically I am not a Zweifel, my Aunt Glen is my mom’s sister and she married into the Zweifel family, but growing up my cousin Dan and I were inseparable so I consider myself an honorary Zweifel. 
After my cousin and I had grown up and gone away for college, I noticed that the Orange Drop Cookies were not making their normal appearance at the Christmas table.  When I asked about them I got that wonderful response I always dreaded hearing, “you are an adult, if you want them you can make them”.  At the same time, my good friends Cheryl (whose husband happens to be the dentist) and Dory (who Renee has known since elementary school and I have known since middle school) decided that we wanted to do a holiday cookie exchange.    I thought if that’s not an invitation for me to make the Orange Drop Cookies, then what is.
What I like about the Orange Drop Cookies is that they taste very light and airy and honestly, I could eat dozens of them and not feel full…which is also a problem as you will see they are not going to shrink your waistline.  Plus they are just divine…as Cheryl says (you have to say it with a thick Alabama accent) “It’s like a bite of heaven in your mouth” So without further ado:

 Dough Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup shortening
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup orange juice (preferably no pulp)
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract
  • 2 tablespoons grated orange rind
  • 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt


  • Heat oven to 400 degrees. 
  • In a bowl, mix shortening, sugar, egg and sour cream.
  • Stir in orange juice, extract and rind.
  • In separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. 
  • Stir dry ingredients into orange juice mixture until well combined.  (I’ve found it’s easier to stir the dry ingredients in small doses and hand mix it, then use a dough hook with the electric mixer to smooth out the batter.) 
  • The batter will be thick and there will be some lumps, but that’s fine.
  • Drop rounded teaspoonfuls on an ungreased baking sheet. 
  • Bake 8-10 minutes.  (You will have to play with the baking time, I tend to like my cookies more undercooked and I have a gas range, so I was able to cook them for 4-6 minutes.  You just have to watch them; you want to see a little brown around the edges but not on the top of the cookie.)

Icing Ingredients

  • 2 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, slightly softened (do not melt)
  • 4 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract

 Icing Instructions:

  • Combine confectioner’s sugar and butter
  • Add orange juice and extract to make spreadable icing
  • Drizzle frosting over the cookies while still warm.
  • You will need to whisk the frosting again if it has been sitting for a while.  Also, it will run off everywhere so make sure you have something underneath the cookies to catch the icing.  I like parchment paper because I can scoop up the dried frosting with my fingers…Yummy!
  • Makes approximately 4 dozen cookies.

Cookie Exchange

Our cookie exchange started with just Cheryl, Dory and me cooking in Cheryl’s kitchen about 7 years ago.  Now we have a party with about 8-10 people, we bring our cookies and swap them, but we also enjoy some appetizers and a day away from our mundane daily duties!

This year we had snickerdoodles, cinnamon bun cookies, peanut butter, pink lemonade cookies, oatmeal raisin, m&m brownies and chocolate balls to name a few!

Thanks for the post Missy! I can’t wait to finally try these for myself. And next time….I’m making you tackle Osso Bucco next!

6 Replies to “Orange Drop Cookies and Annual Holiday Cookie Exchange – A Guest Post from the Best Friend”

  1. I am fortunate enough to be one of the newer members of the Cookie Exchange, this was year 2 for me. Always great company and best of all, cookies. And I can testify that these orange drop cookies are …”just divine”! Thank you for sharing!

  2. My mouth is watering.. they sound like the perfect sweet zesty mix… (and a justified w/ Vitamin C 🙂 I’m looking forward to making them!

  3. Hi, I intend to try baking these cookies this week. I was wondering, I know you are only an “honorary” Zweifel, but I am trying to locate Nelly Zweifel James. It’s a long story, but she was apparently friends with an architect, Louise Dees Porch – an apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright — who designed our summer home in Vermont. Dees, as we called her, apparently passed away in 2002, and my mom, now 91, is very eager to find where she might be buried. I noticed in one of the online grieving books that a Nelly Sweifel James wrote a lovely note, and I was wondering if she might know. Sorry to trouble you with this aspect of my hunt, but I am trying to help my mom out. Thanks so much, Ed Redlich 323 5997709

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