Dark Chocolate Orange Shortbread Cookies

baked shortbread cookies on top of one another with dried oranges beside them

These Dark Chocolate Orange Shortbread Cookies are the ultimate cookie! Ultra buttery shortbread base is loaded with dark chocolate chips and fresh orange zest for brightness! 

Happy Christmas week, friends! If you’re like me, I’m scrambling to bake all the yummy cookies this week. Of course I have on my list my Fudgy Brownie Cookies, Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies and my Butterscotch Oatmeal Cookies….but this is a BRAND NEW recipe that I am just obsessed with! 

Why You’ll Love This Cookie Recipe: 

Shortbread is an underrated treat during the Christmas season. Everyone might be obsessed with peppermint or cranberry but I am so here for buttery, rich shortbread! 

This shortbread cookie base is rich, soft and dense! The dark chocolate is the perfect way to cut through the richness for a slightly sweet chocolatey bite. 

And yes, it is Christmas cookie season…it’s also CITRUS season! And these cookies are the perfect vehicle to add that bright orange citrus flavor in each bite. 

stack of 3 baked cookies sitting on top of one another

For this recipe, no artificial flavors here! We zest an orange directly into the cookie dough for an intense, genuine orange flavor. And then, because you must….we zested extra orange on top of the baked cookies!

These cookies reminded me of one of my favorite Christmas candies, the chocolate orange. You know what I’m talking about, right? The perfect blend of chocolate and orange flavor in an actual orange shell. So good! 

close up of baked shortbread cookie with a mini bottle tree and dried oranges beside it

These are delightful to dip in milk, a hot cup of coffee, to have with afternoon tea or maybe even leave out for Santa! So let’s get into how to bake them…

Ingredients You Need: 

  • Salted butter – I personally always bake with salted butter – it gives the shortbread extra flavor!
  • Dark chocolate chips – I think dark chocolate pairs perfectly with this recipe, but you can use semi-sweet if needed.
  • Granulated sugar and light brown sugar – for sweetness!
  • Orange zest – a must for this recipe!
  • vanilla extract – to add extra flavor to the shortbread dough
  • All purpose flour – you don’t need much for this recipe, but use all purpose!
  • Egg wash – to get the cookies extra golden
  • Turbinado sugar – a must to roll the cookies in before you slice!

How to Make Cookies in Just a Few Simple Steps: 

  1. Add 2 sticks (16 tbsp) of softened salted butter to a large mixing bowl along with the granulated and light brown sugar. Mix this using a stand mixer or a hand mixer for 5 minutes – it should be incredibly light and fluffy when you’re done. Add in the vanilla extract and mix until just combined. 
  2. Scrape down the sides of the bowl using a rubber spatula and then add in the flour on low speed – mix until the flour is just incorporated and you see no flour streaks. Lastly, add in the chocolate chips and orange zest and mix until just combined. 
  3. Divide the dough in half. Place both halves on 2 separate sheets of plastic wrap. Roll into a circular log – it should look something like this: log of cookie dough rolled in turbinado sugar on plate
  4. Wrap up completely in the plastic wrap and then place in the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours. 
  5. Once the 2 hours is almost up, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Beat an egg in a small bowl to make egg wash. Remove the dough from the plastic wrap and brush with egg wash and then generously roll the log in turbinado sugar until it’s fully covered in the sugar. Place the dough log on a cutting board and carefully slice cookies about ½ of an inch thick. 
  6. Place the sliced cookies onto a lined (either with a silicon mat or parchment paper) sheet pan – i fit around 8 on one sheet pan and bake for 12-14 minutes. Once finished baking, remove and if needed, take a large biscuit cutter and move the cookies around to make sure they are perfectly round. 2 photos - one of the ore-baked cookie on sheet pan, the other of baked cookie on sheet pan
  7. Let cool on the sheet pan for 10 minutes or so and then remove to a cooling rack to finish cooling completely. Garnish with flaky sea salt and extra orange zest and enjoy! 

Best Tips for Success: 

I found that my cookies did spread slightly – to alleviate this problem and ensure that you get beautiful round cookies, when the cookies are straight out of the oven and warm, I grabbed a large mug (or you can use a biscuit cutter, whatever round object that’s larger than the cookie works) and I moved the cookie around in the round object to get the roundness that I desired. Here is a video showing what I mean!

Make sure that your butter is softened, not melted or cold 🙂 the end goal is a dough that is SOFT AND DRY. If it’s not dry enough, add more a little more flour until you reach this consistency.  

Remember to take the time to let these cookies CHILL. I know that sometimes letting cookie dough chill can be annoying because hi I want these cookies NOW! But you must for this recipe. It contains so much butter that the butter HAS to be cold to be able to work with. 

Use a super sharp knife to slice the cookies – be CONFIDENT but careful when slicing! 

And speaking of slices, make sure that they are all about the same width so your cookies will bake evenly and be done at the same time. 

photo of sliced cookie dough on cutting board

I like to really utilize the plastic wrap that I wrap my dough in – roll it back and forth with the dough inside the wrap to make sure you get the perfect round log. 

You have to use crunchy turbinado sugar to roll the dough in. It gives the cookies an incredible crunchy texture on the outside! 

close up of bite taken out of shortbread cookie

You’ll know that these cookies are done when the crunchy sugary edges are golden brown – they may still look a little under done in the middle, but they will continue to bake on the sheet pan while cooling. 

Speaking of cooling, I know it’s always hard to let warm and fresh cookies cool, but try to let these cool as long as possible! 

Can I Make These Ahead of Time? 

Yes! You can absolutely make the dough the day before and let it chill overnight. 

Storing Leftovers: 

Of course, cookies are always best when eaten fresh, however, if you do happen to have leftover cookies, simply store them in a tightly sealed container at room temperature for up to 2 days. 

Did you enjoy this recipe? Here are a few other cookie recipes you might like: 

White Chocolate Cranberry Shortbread Cookies 

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

Dark Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies 

Thank you so much for following along here, friends! Want to see more? Be sure to follow ourbalancedbowl on Instagram and tag me with your photo if you end up making a recipe! You can also post a photo of your recipe to the Our Balanced Bowl Facebook page! Like a recipe that you saw? Follow me on Pinterest here! I always love to see your re-creations! If you do make a recipe, it would make my whole day if you were to rate and comment so I can get your feedback! Lots of love! – Haylie

Dark Chocolate Orange Shortbread Cookies

These Dark Chocolate Orange Shortbread Cookies are the ultimate cookie! Ultra buttery shortbread base is loaded with dark chocolate chips and fresh orange zest for brightness! 

Course Cookies, Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword chocolate orange shortbread, dark chocolate cookies, dark chocolate shortbread, easy shortbread recipe, orange shortbread, shortbread cookies
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Chill Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 32 minutes
Servings 16 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (sub orange extract for extra flavor!)
  • 2 and 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips (can use semi-sweet if desired)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh orange zest, plus more for garnish
  • 1 egg, for egg wash
  • 1-2 cups turbinado (raw) sugar, for rolling the dough in

Instructions

  1. Add 2 sticks of softened butter to a mixing bowl along with the granulated sugar and light brown sugar. Mix these (using either a stand mixer or a hand mixer) for about 5 minutes or it becomes light and fluffy. Add in the vanilla extract and mix until just combined.

  2. Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula and then slowly add the flour while the mixer is on low.

  3. Once the flour is mixed in, add the dark chocolate chips and orange zest into the dough as well and mix until it's combined. The dough should be smooth and dry.

  4. Divide the dough in half. Place one half on plastic wrap. Form the dough into a circular log (see photo above for reference) and then roll it up in the plastic wrap. Repeat with the other half of the dough. 

  5. Put the logs of cookie dough in the fridge and let them chill for at least 2 hours or overnight! When the 2 hours is nearly up, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

  6. Once they are properly chilled, take one of the rolls of dough out of the fridge. Remove from the plastic wrap. Lightly brush with egg wash and then roll the dough in the turbinado sugar. 

  7. Use a super sharp knife to slice the cookies - about 1/2 an inch thick. Be sure they are all the same size!

  8. Place the cookies on a lined baking sheet and bake for 12-14 minutes - I fit about 8 on one cookie sheet and baked them in batches. You’ll know they are done when the edges are slightly brown. They might still look a little soft in the middle but that’s okay! Let them cool on the pan for 10 minutes then move to a cooling rack.

  9. Garnish with orange zest and flaky sea salt. If desired, drizzle melted dark chocolate on top of the cookies. Enjoy!

  10. While the cookies are cooling on the rack, repeat steps 6-9 with the remaining dough. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

I found that my cookies did spread slightly - to alleviate this problem and ensure that you get beautiful round cookies, when the cookies are straight out of the oven and warm, I grabbed a large mug (or you can use a biscuit cutter, whatever round object that’s larger than the cookie works) and I moved the cookie around in the round object to get the roundness that I desired. Here is a video showing what I mean!

6 comments / Add your comment below

    1. Hi Julie! That’s a great thought! I’ve personally never frozen these in the log – if you do, be sure to wrap it WELL. From everything I’m reading online, a potentially better solution would be to freeze them after they’ve already been baked. And from there, you just let them come to room temperature or pop them in the oven for a couple minutes when you want to enjoy one! Happy baking!!

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