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Orange Confetti Shortbread Cookies

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Incredibly tender and flavorful Orange Flavored Confetti Shortbread cookies from Audrey Montanus, wife of legendary Kodak photographer Neil Montanus, as shared by her son and equally talented photographer James Montanus.

When I saw this vintage cookie Orange Confetti Shortbread Cookie recipe last year posted on Facebook by Jim Montanus, I knew I absolutely had to try it. Jim explained in his post that this was his late mother’s recipe, and they have been a family favorite since the 1960s.

You know I love to recreate Upstate New York signature dishes, restaurant recipes, and cherished family recipes from notable local figures. This recipe was right up my alley, and instantly piqued my interest. I immediately placed a copy of the recipe in my project management software, where it sat for an entire year, but it was the first on my to-do list when baking season rolled again this year.

Neil Montanus was a Rochester native responsible for some of the most recognizable images used in Kodak’s advertising. The highlight of Neil’s career was capturing the images used as Coloramas for Kodak, one of the most extensive and longest-running ad campaigns in American corporate history. Today Neil’s son Jim follows in his father’s footsteps. He creates stunning color-soaked images of landscapes frequently featured on the local news and on display in businesses around Upstate New York.

Orange Confetti Shortbread cookies on a marble counter top, with a small measuring cup of non-peril candies.

Why Use Hardboiled Egg Yolks in Shortbread Cookies?

I rarely run across cookies recipes that call for hardboiled eggs instead of uncooked eggs. Still, when I do, it is typically in a vintage recipe. It may seem like unnecessary additional work to boil the eggs and then press them through a fine-mesh sieve. But it turns out the result is incredibly tender cookies that melt in your mouth.

I actually was very curious about the science behind the hardboiled yolk situation in this recipe so I spent a little time looking into what makes a cookie made with hardboiled eggs actually work, according to Bon Appetit:

“Cooked egg yolks prevent too much gluten from developing without weighing the batter down. The result is a cookie so tender that it feels like a mass of buttery crumbs just barely held together until they dissolve in your mouth.”

While it initially seems odd, hardboiled egg yolks in shortbread recipes create a more tender, delicate, and crumbly melt-in-your-mouth texture.

How to Make Shortbread Cookies

Is this your first time making shortbread cookies? Orange Confetti Shortbread cookie dough handles a little differently. Here’s what you need to do to make it a success:

First, there are a few different ways to prepare the dough. The original recipe calls for blending the butter with a fork or pastry blender. But you can also use a food processor or electric hand or stand mixer.

If you are interested in a different dough preparation method aside from the one mentioned in the recipe, these are the other commonly used shortbread cookie prep techniques:

  • Food processor – the fastest method and my favorite method. Pulse COLD butter, flour, sugar, egg yolks, and orange zest in the food processor bowl. Continue pulsing until the mixture sticks together when pressed with 2 fingers, about 1 minute. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl and make sure the dough is evenly mixed. Turn out onto a counter to knead the dough. Divide and wrap for chilling.
  • Rub COLD butter in with fingers – The traditional method of rubbing the butter into the flour by hand. This is more labor-intensive, yields almost the same result as using a food processor, and creates a very crumbly shortbread. Using your hands, rub the butter into the rest of the ingredients in a bowl. It should achieve a ‘sandy’ texture. Work until the mixture comes together into what will be a relatively crumbly and fragile dough.

I believe no matter which method you choose the results will be incredibly similair, so use whatever method you are comfortable with and works best for you.

After you prepare the dough next you need to chill the dough. Allowing the butter to firm up will make rolling and cutting the cookies much more manageable. Don’t skip this step! Divide the dough into 2 disks and wrap each wrap it in plastic wrap, and transfer it to the fridge to chill for about 3 hours.

After the dough has chilled, roll it out on a lightly floured surface or between two pieces of parchment or wax paper. Be careful not to roll the dough too thin. Ideally, the dough should be about 1/4-inch thick.

Once you’ve rolled out the dough, use cookie cutters to cut out your desired shapes. The orignal recipe doesn’t include re-rolling and repeating the process, but I found the recipe yeilded many more cookies when I re-rolled the scraps. Technically, the more you handle shortbread the tougher the cookies can become, but I had a lot of dough left after cutting out my first batch of cookies, and didn’t want to waste it! Re-roll the dough, as needed, to get as many cut-outs as you can!

Then, it’s time to bake. Use ungreased baking sheets or line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and transfer the cut-outs to the baking sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the cookies are just beginning to brown around the edges. Let them rest on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring them to wire racks to cool completely.

Orange Confetti Shortbread Cookie Tips

  • Chill the dough for 3 hours. This will give the dough time to absorb the liquids from the egg yolks, and they will be easier to roll out.
  • It’s best to bake shortbread on ungreased baking sheets, this helps the cookies retain their shape. If you are baking a lot of cookies parchment paper will ease clean-up with only a minimal amount of spread while baking.
  • The cookies need to rest on the baking sheet after they come out of the oven. If you move them too early, they will crumble. Let the cookies set up for a full 5 minutes before transferring them to wire racks to cool completely.
  • Wait for the cookies to cool completely before decorating. It’s tempting to start decorating these right away, but your cookies need to be at room temperature before you decorate them. These are very tender cookies and will easily break apart if you try to handle them while they are hot.
Orange Confetti Shortbread Stars

Orange Confetti Shortbread Stars

Yield: 16 Cookies
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Additional Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 28 minutes

Incredibly tender and flavorful Orange Flavored Confetti Shortbread cookies from Audrey Montanus, wife of legendary Kodak photographer Neil Montanus, as shared by her son and equally talented photographer James Montanus.

Ingredients

Shortbread Cookies

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 hard boiled egg yokes (rubbed through sieve)
  • 3 tablespoons grated orange rind
  • 1 cup butter (softened)
  • Pinch salt

Orange glaze:

  • 1-1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 tsp orange rind
  • 5-6 tsp orange juice
  • multicolored (non-pareil) candy decorations.

Instructions

    1. Mix all ingredients in bowl and blend together with a pastry blender or fork. Knead slightly to finish blending.
    2. Divide dough into three parts. Wrap in wax paper and chill about 3 hours.
    3. Roll out on a flowered board (keep unused dough chilled). Cut cookies approximately 1/4" thick with star cutter.
    4. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes.
    5. Let cool on a cookie sheet before moving to rack to cool.
    6. When cookies are cool, glaze with orange glaze and nonpariel sugar candies.

Notes

Best Confetti Shortbread Cookie Recipe Tips

  • Chill the dough for 3 hours. This will give the dough time to absorb the liquids from the egg yolks, and they will be easier to roll out.
  • Let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for 2 minutes after they come out of the oven. If you move them too early, they will crumble. Let the cookies set up for a full 5 minutes before transferring them to wire racks to cool completely.
  • Wait for the cookies to cool completely before decorating. It’s tempting to start decorating these right away, but your cookies need to be at room temperature before you decorate them. Otherwise, the glaze will melt!

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1 cookie
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 260Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 77mgSodium: 112mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 1gSugar: 21gProtein: 3g

Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimates. Please see my Nutrition Disclaimer for more information.

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