When my family first moved to Kansas, it was a bit of culture shock. The landscape was different, the weather was crazy. The regional fare was foreign to me. The accent was oh-so twangy and hard for this Northerner to understand. Worst of all, no Packers fans. Instead, I noticed a very curious obsession: college sports. And these people rooted for a team called the KU Jayhawks. Um. Okay? What in the hell is a Jayhawk? Why is everyone crazy for this college team, when the university itself is over 200 miles from here??
And yet I found streets, stores, foodstuffs, you name it - all named in honor of this Jayhawk thing. And don't even get me started on the mad-dog love for KU sports. Within a year of living in Kansas, I was so sick of the Jayhawk that I vowed never ever to be a fan.
Fast-forward a few years, and guess where I found myself attending college. Yeah. KU. However, I still planned to hold steadfastly to my vow. I turned my nose up at anything Jayhawk related. And yet, ever so slowly, the gorgeous campus and quirky town and yes, even that goofy bird wiggled its way into my cold heart. After a year, I too owned countless Jaywalk t-shirts and tchotchkes. I bought my snacks at Jayhawk FoodMart. I filled my prescriptions at Jayhawk Pharmacy. And on game days I screamed for the home team at the top of my lungs, from my favorite college pub, right in the thick of the Jayhawk-lovin' masses. The old Nemmie would be horrified (but, man, she doesn't know what she's missing).
Ever a basketball-lovin' university, imagine everyone's surprise this year when our football team (forever a joke) was actually a contender. We got invited to our first ever bowl game in over 30 years, the Orange bowl. And no one expected us to win.
But we did :)
So, in honor of my home team and their Orange Bowl win: Orange Shortbread cookies, in a somewhat Jayhawk-ish shape (hey, I do the best I can). Got the original recipe here and fiddled with it a bit, to get what you see below. That crumbly, buttery shortbread flavor with a surprisingly bright, tart-orange flavor. Thank goodness for the winter, and its abundance of blood oranges. They were perfect in these cookies.
Before I sign off for the evening: Rock Chalk Jayhawk! Go KU!
Orange Shortbread Cookies
1 c. (2 sticks) butter, unsalted, room temperature
1 c. confectioners' sugar
1 tsp. orange juice (juice from the zested orange)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
Grated zest of 1 orange (about 2 teaspoons)
1/4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted (optional for decorating)
Make the dough: In a mixer bowl, beat butter, sugar, orange juice, and salt until smooth. With mixer on low speed, add flour and orange zest; mix just until a dough forms.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least an hour. Preheat your oven to 325 F.
Roll out on a floured surface, to about 1/4-in. thickness. Using your favorite cookie cutter, cut out shapes and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake until edges just begin to turn golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool 5 minutes on baking sheet; transfer cookies to a rack to cool completely.
When cooled, drizzle with chocolate if desired.