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These chocolate orange shortbread cookies melt in your mouth and are made with only a few simple ingredients. They are infused with orange flavor, then drizzled with melted dark chocolate and sprinkled with more orange zest. They make a delicious holiday cookie everyone will love!
These dark chocolate orange cookies literally melt in your mouth! They have that light and airy feeling like a classic shortbread recipe that is just irresistible.
In pastry school I had a chef instructor that turned me on to the classic combo of chocolate and orange. The depth of the chocolate combined with the brightness of the orange is a flavor contrast made in heaven! If you are wondering, white chocolate works well too in these chewy orange cookies!
These shortbread cookies are made quickly with only a few simple ingredients. We love making them especially around the holidays, and they make a great cookie to add to a cookie gift box!
You can make them in any shape you want, here I went with classic circles. To make them stand out even more they are drizzled with dark chocolate and sprinkled with more orange zest.
If you love making cookies for the holidays definitely try these cranberry orange shortbread cookies– they are delicious too! These thin and crispy Gingersnaps are also not to be missed, and you wouldn’t want to go one year without these double chocolate peppermint cookies!
What you will love these cookies
- They are so light from the use of powdered sugar instead of granulated sugar.
- You can make them into any fun holiday shape you want.
- They literally melt in your mouth!
Ingredients you need
- Butter- Unsalted butter is used in these cookies so we can control the amount of salt added. The butter needs to be soft to cream easily with the sugar. Learn how to soften butter quickly!
- Powdered Sugar– Powdered sugar is used to give the cookie a light, airy, and melt in your mouth feel. Granulated sugar would not have the same effect because it is more granulated and not powdery.
- 1 large Orange– The orange zest is mixed into the batter and then as a garnish for the cookie to infuse the flavor.
- Flour– All purpose flour is used to provide bulk to the cookie and help shape it.
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder– This aids the flour in building bulk but also gives the cookie it’s dark chocolate flavor.
- Kosher Salt– Kosher salt brings out the flavors in the cookie
- Dark Chocolate– Melted dark chocolate is used as a garnish over the baked cookies.
How to make dark chocolate orange cookies
Cream– Cream the butter, powdered sugar, and orange zest together in the bowl of a hand or stand mixer, or with a wooden spoon in a big bowl. The powdered sugar is what makes the cookies light and airy.
Add dry ingredients- Add the flour, cocoa powder, and kosher salt and mix to combine into a uniform dough. Make sure to measure your flour correctly by either using a kitchen scale or spoon and scoop it into your measuring cup. If you end up with too much, the cookies will be dry.
Shape- Shape the dough into a disk and wrap it in parchment paper or plastic wrap. Chill the dough for 1 hour in the refrigerator.
Roll and cut– Once the dough has chilled, roll it out to 1/4″ thickness between 2 pieces of parchment paper and use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes.. The cutter I used is a 2 1/2″ round cutter. Repeat with the scraps.
Bake- Place the cookies on a parchment lined sheet tray or cookie sheet and bake for 11- 12 minutes.
Garnish– Cool the cookies, then melt the dark chocolate in the microwave (30 seconds at a time until melted) and drizzle on the diagonal. Top with extra orange zest to make it look pretty.
Cookie making tips
Keep the dough cold- If you find that the cookie dough is hard to cut out or move to the baking tray, put the dough in the fridge for 5-10 more minutes to firm up. You can also put the cookies in the fridge for a few minutes before baking too.
Use any cutter- Use any size cookie cutter you like but remember that the yield of these cookies will be smaller with a larger cutter.
No spread– The cookies should be chilled properly and therefore not spread a lot.
Measure your flour correctly– Measuring your flour correctly is really important because if you add too much flour , your cookies will be dry. The best way to measure them is with a kitchen scale. If you want to use measuring cups, make sure to spoon flour into the cup, then level it off. Never scoop flour with a cup because you”ll end up with too much flour.
Can I use regular sugar with this recipe? No I don’t recommend it. The reason why these cookies are light and airy and called shortbread is that they use powdered sugar and not granulated sugar.
Can I double the recipe? Sure! No problem at all just I would recommend you split the cookie dough into two disks before chilling to make it easier to roll out.
Can I make these ahead? You sure can! You can make the cookie dough and then freeze it. Or you can make the cookies (dont garnish them) and freeze them already baked. Garnish them the day you want to serve them.
Storing and freezing instructions
Storing– Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-5 days.
Freezing- You can either freeze the cookie dough, or freeze the already made cookies.
To freeze the cookie dough, wrap the dough in parchment paper and then place in a freezer safe zip top bag. Freeze for up to 3 months.
To freeze already baked cookies, leave off the drizzled chocolate and orange zest topping and place the cookies in a freezer safe zip top bag. Try to squeeze as much air out of it without damaging the cookies. Freeze for up to 2 months. Defrost on the counter, and then top with melted dark chocolate and orange zest.
- Drizzle with white chocolate instead
- Add 1/4 cup chopped nuts to the batter
- Sandwich these cookies between chocolate frosting.
More delicious cookie recipes
Dark Chocolate Orange Shortbread Cookies
- ½ cup unsalted butter softened
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp orange zest plus 1/2 tbsp more for garnish
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 ounces dark chocolate melted, for drizzling over baked cookies
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add the 1/2 cup butter, 3/4 cup sugar, and 1 tbsp orange zest, and beat on low-medium speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.
- Add the 1 cup flour, 1/3 cocoa powder, and 1/2 tsp salt, and mix until a dough forms about 1 minute. Shape the dough into a disk and wrap in parchment paper. Chill for 1 hour in the refrigerator.
- Prepare 2 sheet trays with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 325° F.
- Roll out the chilled dough into ¼’’ thickness between 2 pieces of parchment paper and using a 2-3 inch cookie cutter, cut out the cookies.
- Place the cookies on the sheet tray and bake for 11-12 minutes. If the cookies are hard to peel off, chill them for a few more minutes before transferring to the baking sheet.
- Cool the cookies. Melt the 4 oz dark chocolate in a small microwaveable bowl, about 30 seconds at a time until fully melted. Drizzle on the cookies and sprinkle with more orange zest.
Sooo good and so easy to follow! The flavor was on point and I made them into little candy cane shapes for my Christmas cookie gift boxes (which featured 5 of Sam’s other recipes!). Chocolate oranges are one of my favorite Christmastime treats and these cookies nailed it. 🙂
I loved your candy cane versions!! They looked so cute!!!!! I am so happy you loved them!!!
Irena Rajnpreht says
I made these cookies for the first time and liked them so much that I will be giving them out as Christmas presents. I made them in a heart shape and they look and taste sooo lovely!
Recipe is really easy to follow. I expected it would be a bit tricky making it for the first time, but it wasn’t. The only thing I was struggling with was the first freezing step, dough froze completely so I had to wait, but everything else went very well.
I made so many of your recipes and each one is better than other, all of the instructions are easy to follow and everything is so delicious!