Makes about 2 dozen.

Note: Ground chipotle pepper is available at most supermarkets. This dough must be prepared in advance. From Patrice Johnson of Roseville.

For dough:

• 1 c. flour

• 2/3 c. cornstarch

• 1/4 tsp. ground chipotle pepper (see Note)

• 1/4 tsp. salt

• 1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, at room temperature

• 1/3 c. powdered sugar

• Freshly grated zest of 1 orange

• 1/2 tsp. almond extract

For icing:

• 3 tbsp. freshly squeezed orange juice

• 1 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature

• 1 tsp. almond extract

• 1 tsp. vanilla extract

• 1/4 tsp. salt

• 2 3/4 c. powdered sugar

• 1/2 c. raw sliced almonds for garnish

• Freshly grated orange zest for garnish, optional


To prepare dough: In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, ground chipotle pepper and salt, and reserve.

In a bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter until creamy, about 1 minute. Add powdered sugar, orange zest and almond extract, and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low, add flour mixture and mix until a grainy dough forms. Use hands to shape dough into a round ball. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 325 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll dough into tablespoon-sized balls and place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake 12 to 14 minutes (cookies will be very light-colored); do not overbake. Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes before transferring cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

To prepare icing: In a bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed, beat orange juice, butter, almond extract, vanilla extract and salt until creamy. Reduce speed to low, add powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Using a small spatula or knife (or a pastry bag), ice cookies. For a less sweet cookie, use only 1 teaspoon icing; for a sweeter cookie, ice liberally. Garnish with almonds and orange zest, if desired.