225grams (1/2 lb) vegetable shortening (I use Crisco)
1cupfreshly squeezed orange juice
marschino cherry halves or almonds for topping(optional)
Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat oven to 350F. Have maraschino cherries and/or almonds ready, if using.
In a large mixing bowl, use a fork to beat together the eggs, sugar and vegetable shortening.
Stir in the orange juice and vanilla.
Combine the flour and baking powder and gradually stir into the egg mixture until incorporated. You'll have a sticky, thick dough.
Shape the cookies by using two spoons to scrape one heaping teaspoon full of dough into a bowl of powdered sugar. Turn over to coat both sides. Carefully pick up the dough, shake off the excess sugar, and roll gently into a ball. Place on the baking sheet approximately two inches apart.
Press half a maraschino cherry or a whole almond in the center of the cookie. Alternately, you can leave the cookie plain if you prefer.
Bake for 20-22 minutes until lightly browned underneath and golden on top. Cool before serving.
-Please note that nutritional information is not completely accurate and may vary according to the size of your cookies and whether you add maraschino cherries or almonds to your cookies.-If you are using maraschino cherries, slice in half and place on a paper towel in order to absorb the excess liquid. Otherwise they will bleed on the cookie.-You can replace vegetable shortening with butter, however it may slightly alter the texture.-The dough is quite sticky so avoid over handling it.-These cookies will spread while baking so be sure to space two inches apart on the baking sheet.-Italian Orange Juice Cookies can be frozen in a tightly sealed container. Defrost about an hour before serving.