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Sugar cookies can be a controversial dessert depending on whom you ask at King Arthur (too basic! too delicate! too crumbly!). But when senior recipe tester Molly Marzalek-Kelly put her own spin on the iconic cookie, the result was a zesty, warmly spiced cookie that packs a tender chew in every bite. 

Imagine a slice of citrusy, moist olive oil cake — the kind of perfectly snacky-yet-elegant cake you’d happily devour with morning coffee or enjoy after dinner for a slightly sweet note. Now, imagine its essence in cookie form, and meet our Olive Oil-Orange Sugar Cookie. 

Olive Oil-Orange Sugar Cookies Rick Holbrook
Bright spices and zippy orange zest turn the plain sugar cookie into a showstopper.

The first step in transforming the humble sugar cookie was to give it a fresh new flavor. Once Molly landed on orange zest to lend a citrusy spin, olive oil was a natural pairing — and just so happens to add a suppleness to the cookie's interior texture too. A quartet of spices round it all out — earthy turmeric and cardamom (a happy accident that they’re also part of the same botanical family) plus nutmeg and clove for a callback to classic wintry spices. Once dredged in more zest, spice, and sugar, you can bake with confidence knowing you’ll be rewarded with a sugar cookie that will surely steal the show.  

It’s a holiday cookie that’s far from cookie-cutter, and well-deserving of New Classics status. And that’s why it’s our Bake of the Week. 

Cover photo by Rick Holbrook. 

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Tatiana Bautista
The Author

About Tatiana Bautista

Tatiana is a Brooklyn-based writer and baker, where you'll often find her baking Japanese milk bread or mochi-based desserts out of her apartment kitchen. 

View all posts by Tatiana Bautista