Orange Drop Cookies

Neterer Bros Bakery box

Neterer Bros Bakery box

There were (and still are) a lot of good bakers on my mom’s side of the family. Her father and uncle owned Neterer Brothers Bakery in Huntington, Indiana for over 30 years. My early elementary school was just half a block from the bakery, so sometimes after school I would walk over there for a free cookie or brownie before heading home. It pays to know people in high places!

I always looked forward to family gatherings because the home bakers in the Neterer family made some mighty fine pies, including shoofly pie in the Pennsylvania Dutch tradition, and sugar cream pie (aka Hoosier pie), which became the state pie of Indiana in 2009. I remember a lot of berry pies in the summer and pumpkin and pecan pies at Thanksgiving.

Orange Drop Cookie Recipe

The Neterer family Orange Drop Cookie recipe

But what prompted this post was a request from my mom for a copy of the family’s Orange Drop Cookie recipe. I l-o-v-e-d these when I was young, and at some point in my adult life I realized that all I needed to do was get a copy of the recipe and I could have them any time I wanted. That was probably when I learned that with great power comes great responsibility. “Or maybe you didn’t learn that,” says my chubby belly. Well, somehow and somewhere (probably on The Face Book) the topic of these cookies came up, and my mom discovered that she couldn’t find her recipe. I think my cousin Brad Neterer’s wife, Cindy, was looking for the recipe because apparently Brad loves these as much as I do. So it’s my turn to return the favor, and to make sure this recipe is not lost forever I’m giving it to everybody on the Interwebs.

I haven’t made these in years, but a couple of things strike me. First, there’s no granulated sugar, it’s all brown sugar. Second, there’s 3/4 cup of buttermilk. What I really like about these cookies is that the icing is also orange flavored. I may have to make these soon for a Proustian trip down memory lane….

Orange Drop Cookies
Prep time

Cook time

Total time


Orange cookies with orange icing
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Dessert
Serves: 6 dozen

  • 1½ cups brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon orange peel, grated
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups flour, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon orange peel, grated
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifter

  1. Cream the brown sugar and butter.
  2. Add the eggs, orange peel, and vanilla and beat until fluffy.
  3. Stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture alternately with the buttermilk, beating after each addition.
  5. Drop batter by the tablespoonful onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
  6. Bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes.
  1. Combine the orange peel, orange juice, and butter.
  2. Stir in the powdered sugar until smooth.
  3. While still warm frost with Orange Icing


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