Orange Shortbread Two Ways

Don't get me wrong--I love fall, and the nutty/squashy desserts of Thanksgiving are to-die-for. But this past weekend I just decided I'm done with it. No more maple, no more pumpkin, no more pecan in my treats. This orange shortbread recipe turned out to be the perfect antidote to the overly sweet holidays--barely a hint of sugar, and a refreshing bite from the orange zest. I doctored my cookies up two ways: one with fresh basil leaves, the other dipped in dark chocolate. The basil version has an herbal and grown-up quality to it, and would pair perfectly with whisky or a whisky-based cocktail. The chocolate version is richer and perfect with tea and coffee, or whenever you need a quick pick me up. The cookies had a very bold orange flavor; for something more subtle reduce the orange zest to 2 tsp.

  • 8 tblsp butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tsp orange zest
  • 1 tblsp orange juice
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 cup + 4 tblsp flour
  • 1 tblsp chopped fresh basil
  • 5 oz dark chocolate
  1. Blend together butter, sugar, zest, salt, and orange juice in a medium sized bowl using a fork. Sift flour over butter mixture and blend. The dough should all stick together in a ball and lose the "spreadable" texture of the butter. Add flour as necessary to achieve a dough that can be worked easily with your hands. 
  2. Separate the dough into 2 even portions. Pat the first portion into a disk and place in the fridge. To the second portion, add the 1 tblsp chopped basil and blend with your hands. Pat the second portion into a disk and refrigerate both doughs for 30 min to an hour.
  3. While dough is chilling, preheat oven to 325° F. Once cold and firm, remove the dough from the fridge and roll out to 1/2" thick. Use a 2" cookie cutter to cut out the shortbread cookies. Place cookies on a buttered cookie sheet and bake at 325° for 20 min, or until edges just begin to turn golden.
  4. Get ready to dip the orange-only shortbread in chocolate. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or bowl set over a pot of boiling water. Stir the chocolate as it melts. Once melted, remove from the heat and dip each cookie halfway into the melted chocolate. Place on wax paper set over a cookie sheet and chill the cookies in the fridge until the chocolate sets.

Orange shortbread recipe adapted from here.

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