Grate orange(s) to yield 2 tablespoons of finely grated zest.
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, granulated sugar, salt, zest (and optional nuts). Add butter with fingertips or pastry blender until batter forms pea-sized crumbles.
Add egg yolk, stir with a fork until blended and knead dough until it comes together to form a ball. If too dry, add a little ice-cold water; if too sticky, add 1 tablespoon flour.
Roll dough into a ball, wrap in plastic and put into the refrigerator for about 20 minutes*.
Heat oven to 350º.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it with rolling pin until it is approximately ¼ inch thick. Sprinkle flour over surface and rolling pin to prevent sticking. This can really be any thickness that you like. I prefer to make them on the thinner side because I like a nice crisp butter cookie.
Cut dough with cookie cutters of your choice and place cookies on an ungreased baking sheet. Gather remaining dough, repeat cutting and laying process.
Bake for 7–10 minutes, until they reach your desired preference of golden brown, and let cool completely before frosting.
For icing: Squeeze oranges to get 3 tablespoons of juice. Whisk juice into confectioners’ sugar until smooth and syrupy. Use brush or back of spoon to glaze the cookies. Let stand until glaze is set. The cookies will keep for up to a week in an airtight container at room temperature.
About this recipe
* Chilling is not necessary, but makes the next part easier. You can also form the dough into a log, freeze for 30 minutes and then slice off cookies to avoid rolling out/cookie cutter process.