Saffron threads are the stamens of crocus flowers, and without a doubt, they¿re a splurge. (A tiny jar costs about $10.) There isn¿t a good substitute, so we reserve saffron for recipes like these soft, citrusy cookies, where its flavor and color shine.

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Ingredients

Directions

  • In a microwave-safe custard cup or small bowl, combine milk and saffron. Microwave on high (100% power) for 30 seconds or until slightly warm; set aside. Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, beat butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add brown sugar, vanilla, orange zest and saffron mixture. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour with a wooden spoon.

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  • Chill, covered, about 1 hour or until dough is easy to handle.

  • Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place balls 1-inch apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Flatten each ball to a 1/4- to 1/2-inch thickness, using a cookie stamp, the bottom of a decorative glass or the tines of a fork to imprint a pattern. (Dip stamp, glass or fork in granulated sugar to prevent sticking.)

  • Bake in a 350° oven for 9 to 11 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are lightly browned. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool.

Tips

Layer cookies between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container: cover. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze up to 3 months.

Nutrition Facts

64 calories; 4 g total fat; 10 mg cholesterol; 32 mg sodium. 7 g carbohydrates; 1 g protein;

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