Orange Sesame Cookies

This cookie took third place at our 2014 Iowa State Fair contest for Olive Oil Cookies!

1/4 Cup toasted Sesame Seeds, ground
1/2 Cup fresh orange juice, strained
1/2 Cup + 2 Tbsp Blood Orange Olive Oil
1-1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tsp grated orange zest
1/3 Cup sugar
1/4 tsp Cinnamon, Ground
2-1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 Cup lukewarm water
3-1/2 – 3-3/4 Cup all-purpose flour

Dissolve the baking soda in the orange juice. In a mixing bowl, combine the olive oil, cinnamon, orange and lemon juice with baking soda, grated zests, water and sesame seeds. Using an electric mixer, beat at medium high speed for 5 minutes, until ingredients are thoroughly combined and the oil and juices are not separating.

In a separate bowl, whisk together 3-1/2 cups of the flour together with the sugar and baking powder. Add the dry mixture to the liquid mixture slowly, using dough hooks or a wooden spoon. Knead until the dough holds together, then turn out on a floured surface. Knead the cookie dough well for 10 minutes, adding more flour as needed, until the dough is smooth and soft. (The dough will be softer and oilier than other cookie doughs.) Divide the dough in half and shape in two small loaves.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. For each loaf, knead the dough until dense (holding together tightly), forming it into a loaf shape. Pinch the seam together and form it into a loaf that is approximately 14 inches long and 1/2 to 3/4 inch high. Place the seam side down. Using a floured knife, slice the loaf almost all the way through into 1/2″ to 3/4″ thick slices. Cookie slices will still be joined together at the bottom.

Place the loaves on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees in the lower half of the oven for 15 minutes. The bottom should be golden and the top should be just starting to brown. Remove the loaves from the oven and cut all the way through the slices to separate the cookies. Allow to cool completely.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. When thoroughly cooled, place all the slices upright in a lightly oiled baking dish. Bake for 1-1/2-2 hours until dry.

Note: To toast sesame seeds, place in a single layer on a non-stick cookie sheet or baking pan and roast for about 10 minutes at 400 degrees.