SMiLes by Meg


This week’s recipe was very much a learning experience. Some important lessons:

  1. Whole Foods doesn’t sell regular shortening. So I had to get some weird coconut and palm oil variety. Pro: it was yellow.
  2. You can melt shortening. As a former science teacher, this shouldn’t have been as surprising to me as it was.
  3. Orange zest has a tendency to stick to the attachment of your stand mixer like hair instead of incorporating into the batter.
  4. Even if you fully submerge and douse a cookie in powdered sugar, after it bakes it will still look like you did no such thing.
  5. Two tablespoons of baking powder was not a typo. The result is SUPER airy cookies.

Anyways, it was nice to do some real baking again this weekend. I’ve been using the bake-a-thon with Neha for recipes for a bit too long, and I still haven’t even gotten to everything we made. But, one week into the semester, I felt it was time to bring something into class again – Monday morning Legislation & Regulation will greatly benefit from cookies.

And, since they’re orange flavored, it’s basically like having fruit. Or orange juice. Both of which are perfectly healthy breakfast options.

So, first you have to melt the shortening in a saucepan over low heat. Use Crisco if you have it and ignore the fact that mine is yellow – you do what you have to when Whole Foods is your only option.
Ciambelli - 1 Ciambelli - 2

When it’s melted, set aside the pot to cool for a bit. Then, in a mixing bowl, combine the flour and baking powder. Yes, that recipe says two TABLEspoons. That is not a typo. I promise.Ciambelli - 3In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs and sugar on low speed until just combined. Then increase speed to medium and beat for 10 minutes until light.Ciambelli - 4 Ciambelli - 5

Meanwhile, zest and juice (in that order) an orange. After the 10 minutes are up, add the orange juice and zest to the stand mixer, as well as the vanilla extract. Beat to combine.Ciambelli - 7See? It looks like orange hairs got wrapped around the paddle. Just scrape them off and keep going.

With the mixer on low, add the cooled melted shortening and beat to combine.Ciambelli - 6Ciambelli - 8Finally, slowly add the flour mixture and beat until well mixed and dough begins to come together. It will still be very sticky – I have a solution to that problem.Ciambelli - 9 Ciambelli - 10Take about a teaspoon of the dough and drop it into a bowl of confectioner’s sugar. Then you’ll be able to handle it enough to roll it in the sugar and transfer it to a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Place the cookies about an inch apart.Ciambelli - 11Bake at 375°F for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges turn golden. Use a metal spatula to transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Ciambelli - 12 Ciambelli - 13Even with all of the powdered sugar you roll the dough in, they will prob still just look like regular cookies.Ciambelli - 14

It’s a little frustrating because you want them to look like snowballs, but just console yourself with the knowledge that the powdered sugar being hidden is almost like having a secret ingredient for why they are so melt-in-your-mouth good.

Store them in an airtight container to keep them fresh and light!

Enjoy!Ciambelli - 15



  • 1 cup shortening
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 6 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • juice and zest from 1 orange
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar


  1. Melt the shortening in a small saucepan over low heat. Set aside.
  2. Combine the flour and baking powder in a small mixing bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs and sugar on low speed to combine. Then increase speed to medium and beat for 10 minutes until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the orange juice and zest and vanilla extract and beat to combine.
  5. Beat in the cooled melted shortening.
  6. Add the flour mixture slowly, beating on low to medium speed until incorporated.
  7. Drop dough by teaspoon into a bowl of powdered sugar. Coat and transfer to a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray.
  8. Bake at 375°F for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden.
  9. Remove from sheet using metal spatula and cool on wire rack.