Orange Poppy Seed Drops

These Orange Poppy Seed Drops make me a happy girl.

I not only like to say “orange poppy seed drops” (c’mon, give it a try – it rolls off your tongue in such a cheery way!), but I also like to pop their cute smallness into my mouth. They are wee in size, but big on fresh, citrusy flavor. The texture is tenderly light and crunchy.

And did you see that lovely orange sugar on top? That’s what makes me happiest of all!

I received an email from Lisa Zwirn, a Boston Globe correspondent and the author of Christmas Cookies – 50 Recipes to Treasure for the Holidays, just a few days after Thanksgiving this past year. She wrote that she had been reading my blog, and wondered if I might accept a copy of her book.

We emailed back and forth a few times. And then a great story came to be.

Lisa said she found me after I left a comment and photo on the Bon Appetit site when I blogged about these ridiculously wonderful Cappuccino Brownies. And then she wowed me by saying SHE created that recipe for Bon Appetit.

You have no idea how many people in my life that brownie recipe has taken prisoner! It’s that good! I owed it to Lisa, myself, and my family and friends, to have a look at this book. So, of course, I told her I would love to receive it.

The book is very well written and beautifully photographed, featuring many traditional Christmas cookie recipes. But, as you can see, some of Lisa’s recipes can easily extend past the holiday season. I think these Orange Poppy Seed Drops could be made year ’round. I’m also looking forward to trying the Iced Lemon Rounds and Chocolate Shortbread Wedges.

And, of course, we’ll be baking from this book when Christmas rolls around again. If the number of recipes flagged by our oldest daughter are any indication, we’ll be making quite a few batches, in fact!

And a final thought…I would be doing a disservice if I didn’t tell you more about the orange sugar. When making these cookies, you should have some left over, and it would be downright wasteful to throw that happy stuff away! Here are a few ways to further enjoy it:

  • Sprinkle on blueberry muffins before popping them into the oven to bake. Yum!
  • Swirl some into your tea. Heavenly!
  • Sweeten up your bagel’s cream cheese with a scattering. Delicious!
  • Spoon a bit over your french toast before you flip it on the griddle. Oh me, oh my!

Enjoy, my friends. Enjoy!

Orange Poppy Seed Drops

Yield: 50 cookies


for the cookies:

  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 3 T. poppy seeds
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 lb. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 tsp. finely grated orange zest

for the orange sugar:

  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp. orange zest


Preheat oven to 350°. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Whisk together the flour, poppy seeds, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until creamy. Beat in the egg yolks. Mix in the vanilla and orange zest. With the beaters on low speed, mix in the flour mixture just until the dough starts to come together. Using your hands, work the dough into a ball.

To make the orange sugar, whisk the sugar and orange zest in a small bowl. Set aside.

Pinch off small clumps of dough and roll into balls about 1″ in diameter. Place on the prepared cookie sheets, about 1-1/2″ apart. Press down on the balls with your fingers to form rounds that are a scant 1/2″ thick. Spoon 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of orange sugar onto the top of each round (I liked the 1/2 teaspoon amount), pressing down gently so the sugar adheres.

Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, or until the edges are golden and tops feel mostly firm. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool completely.

These cookies keep very well. Layer between sheets of wax paper in an airtight container for up to 10 days.

I’m linking up with:

Robyn at Add a Pinch for “Mingle Monday”.


34 Responses to “Orange Poppy Seed Drops”

  1. #
    Ria — March 28, 2011 at 7:45 am

    Brenda, those drops look cute, especially with that clump of orange sugar on top!

    • farmgirl replied on March 28th, 2011 at 2:42 pm

      Hi Ria – so nice to have you visit! (And someday – hopefully SOON – our paths will cross again. Sounds like we were very close this past Saturday!)

      • Ria replied on March 31st, 2011 at 7:39 pm

        I know, we just missed each other! If you ever come to Downtown Minneapolis, let me know, we can meet up :)

  2. #
    Laurie Jesch-Kulseth — March 28, 2011 at 8:23 am

    Your cookies look delicious! I baked with oranges this weekend, too. Must’ve been something in the air :). Thanks for the recipe!

    • farmgirl replied on March 28th, 2011 at 2:43 pm

      Hello Laurie – so nice to hear from you!

  3. #
    Amber | Bluebonnets & Brownies — March 28, 2011 at 10:35 am

    I have all these ingredients! HURRAH! The photos are just beautiful, Brenda.

    • farmgirl replied on March 28th, 2011 at 2:47 pm

      Thank you so much, Amber!

  4. #
    Harriet — March 28, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    These look so cute! And the orange sugar is awesome too, you’re right!

    Where do you get your poppy seeds from? Last time I bought poppy seeds from a mainstream supermarket they were really dust like and tasted horrible!

    • farmgirl replied on March 28th, 2011 at 2:48 pm

      Thanks again, Harriet – always nice to hear from you. I buy mostly from Penzeys Spices: – I love their products!!

  5. #
    Shaina — March 28, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    These are gorgeous! I’ve been craving citrus and poppy seed, and I’m thinking I need to fix that sooner rather than later. LOVE.

    • farmgirl replied on March 29th, 2011 at 8:13 pm

      Ahhhh, Shaina, thank you so much!

  6. #
    Tracy — March 28, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    These cookies sound incredible and I LOVE the orange sugar! A must-make in my book!

    • farmgirl replied on March 29th, 2011 at 8:14 pm

      Thank you, Tracy!

  7. #
    Aimee @ Simple Bites — March 28, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    Orange sugar. Love that. I’m thinking on my steel cut oats in the morning?

    Perfect cookies!

    • farmgirl replied on March 29th, 2011 at 8:15 pm

      Thank you, Aimee. And, yes, on your morning oats…very lovely!!

  8. #
    Mama Kelly aka Jia — March 28, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    if they taste even half as good as they look in your photos they must be simply to die for. Yum

    • farmgirl replied on March 31st, 2011 at 8:34 pm

      I think they’re heavenly. Nice to hear from you again!

  9. #
    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen — March 28, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    I was already sold on the cookies when I read the title (I love anything with poppy seeds) but that orange sugar sounds really wonderful! I think I might have to go make some right now!

    • farmgirl replied on March 29th, 2011 at 8:15 pm

      So nice to hear from you, Sylvie!

  10. #
    Paula — March 28, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    You know, this post reminded me that I printed off the brownie recipe and never even tried them yet! Imagine! Now I have those to make and these delightful little poppy seed orange cookies. Don’t you just love tiny baked goods that just pop quickly (and unseen by others) into your mouth?
    Looking forward to when you try the Iced Lemon Rounds and Chocolate Shortbread! Of course, maybe by then I will have gotten smart and purchased my own copy of Liz’s book.

    • farmgirl replied on March 29th, 2011 at 8:19 pm

      There is really something so fun about small dessert bites. Great to hear from you, Paula! xoxo

  11. #
    Robyn | Add a Pinch — March 29, 2011 at 9:02 am

    These look soooo good, Brenda. Citrus and poppy seeds just go so well together and these look like the perfect way to have them.

    • farmgirl replied on March 29th, 2011 at 8:19 pm

      Hi Robyn – always a pleasure to hear from you!

  12. #
    Jamie | My Baking Addiction — March 29, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    Orange Poppy Seed Drops make me a happy girl too! These look amazing!

    • farmgirl replied on March 29th, 2011 at 8:21 pm

      Thank you so much, Jamie!

  13. #
    tinytearoom — March 30, 2011 at 5:01 am

    I would say that I am more of a cookie person than a cake person. I also love citrus in my snacks and desserts. This looks divine to me.

    • farmgirl replied on March 30th, 2011 at 7:25 am

      Hello Amy – so nice to hear from you. These are a divine little cookie, indeed!

  14. #
    Angela — March 30, 2011 at 11:22 am

    Oh, man… I MUST adapt these gluten free. They look delicious! Perfect for the afternoon treat with tea. Or for dessert. Or breakfast… or… mmmm….

    I too have a thing for little desserts. I may need an intervention!

    • farmgirl replied on March 30th, 2011 at 3:27 pm

      Let me know how that goes, Angela. Thanks for visiting!

  15. #
    Amanda — April 1, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    Great looking cookies… and you are right, that sugar looks GORGEOUS!!

    • farmgirl replied on April 1st, 2011 at 9:54 pm

      Thank you, Amanda!!

  16. #
    Aggie — April 5, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    These are seriously some beautiful cookies…love citrus in my desserts! That sugar is to die for!

    Hope you are able to play in the dirt real soon!! :)

  17. #
    Kate — April 13, 2011 at 7:25 am

    I made orange sugar last winter and used it on top of cranberry orange scones. It was marvelous, and I loved how the orange zest got a bit crunchy in the oven.

    These look delicious!


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