Dark Chocolate Orange Slice & Bake Cookies
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But right now we have to discuss cookies. Business as usual.
More specifically, slice and bake shortbread-like cookies with a drench of dark chocolate and scented with fresh orange. A sprinkle of sea salt to bring it all together, not to mention butter + brown sugar + cinnamon + vanilla inside the cookie itself. This is where you want to be and that salted dark chocolate edge is allllll you want to taste. Do yourself a favor and actually cover the entire thing in dark chocolate. I promise you won’t hate it. ♥
These cookies are a nod to my classic stand-by: the toasted hazelnut slice ‘n’ bakes that changed my opinion on slice and bake cookies altogether. Prior to those gems, I thought slice and bake cookies were dry and boring. Because honestly? They can be very dry and even more boring. But when carefully crafted with the proper ratio of ingredients, plus a little flavor– these thick buttery cookies melt in your mouth and the words dry + boring only belong to plain rice cakes and cardboard.
I’ve sort of explained all this before, so I’ll just recap here. The cookie dough is like shortbread cookie dough and sugar cookie dough combined. The base recipe couldn’t be easier: flour, sugar, egg and butter. Creamed butter and brown sugar is the base; brown sugar because there’s flavor and moisture there! A teensy bit of vanilla extract adds more wonderful flavor, while the egg keeps the cookies from crumbling all over your hands and lap.
You’ll need 2 cups + 2 Tablespoons of flour. I know that amount is weird. Why the 2 extra Tbsp? Well, you’ll add 2 Tablespoons of fresh-squeezed juice from delicious Sunkist oranges. More on that in a sec. The 2 Tablespoons of flour keep the added moisture in check and prevent the cookies from 0ver-spreading. A pinch of cinnamon, fresh orange zest, and just enough finely chopped walnuts for flavor. You can leave out the walnuts, I just added them because NUTS belong in all cookies. I know .01% of you agree. Please comment if you agree so I don’t feel nuts! (Get it??)
The dough is soft, but sturdy enough to be shaped into logs. What I mean by that is this: you’ll take the dough, turn it out onto a floured work surface, divide in two, roll into logs, wrap the logs in plastic wrap, and refrigerate. That all sounds like a lot of work but it will take you all of, like, 2 minutes. What I love about this log business is that you can slice off however many cookies you want to bake and eat at any given time. The dough can chill in the refrigerator for 5 days, but I’ve kept it in there for a week and the cookies still taste fabulous.
Roll the logs in a little coarse sugar for sparkle. This is optional, but it’s pretty.
So is it really optional then???
See that gorgeous orange zest in the cookie? I love it. So much flavor. This is a recipe I’m making in partnership with Sunkist and their juicy, refreshing navel oranges SHINE in these slice ‘n’ bake cookies. What better to pair with orange than dark chocolate? Truly an underrated flavor combination, chocolate and orange is not only spot-on delicious– the pair’s kinda perfect for Halloween, no?
So good it’ll scare you. (I couldn’t help myself with that one!!!)
These dark chocolate orange slice and bake cookies are soft in the centers, super thick and dense with crunchy edges, with lots of salted dark chocolate and orange zest. And I’m being serious about coating the entire thing in dark chocolate…
Dark Chocolate Orange Slice & Bake Cookies
- 3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 2/3 cup (133g) packed light or dark brown sugar (I prefer light in these!)
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups + 2 Tablespoons (266g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- zest from 1 medium navel Sunkist orange (plus more for sprinkling on top if desired)
- 2 Tablespoons (30ml) orange juice from 1 medium navel Sunkist orange
- optional: 1/2 cup (63g) Diamond of California chopped walnuts
- optional: coarse sugar for rolling (I use sugar in the raw brand)
- 8 ounces (226g) semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- sea salt for sprinkling on top
- In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter for 1 minute on medium speed until completely smooth and creamy. Add the brown sugar and beat on medium high speed until fluffy and creamy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract on high speed. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed, and continue to beat until fully combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, cinnamon, and salt together until combined. On low speed, slowly mix into the wet ingredients until combined. The cookie dough will be thick and slightly sticky. Switch to high speed and beat in the zest, fresh orange juice, and walnuts (if using). Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and, with floured hands, divide into two. Shape each half into an 8-inch log, about 2.5 inches in diameter. The measurements don't have to be exact. Tightly wrap the logs in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours and up to 5 days. Chilling is mandatory for this cookie dough. I always chill mine overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. (Always recommended for cookies.) Set aside.
- Remove logs from the refrigerator and roll into coarse sugar, if desired. It's added only for a little crunch! Slice each log into 12 equally thick cookies and place cookies on baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake the cookies for 12-14 minutes or until brown around the edges. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet, then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.
- Melt the chopped chocolate in a double boiler or (carefully!) use the microwave. For the microwave, place the chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl. Melt in 15 second increments, stirring after each increment until completely melted and smooth. Dip each completely cooled cookie halfway into the chocolate and place onto a parchment or silicone baking mat-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt and orange zest (if desired). Place the baking sheet into the refrigerator to help the chocolate set. Once set, enjoy!
Make ahead tip: Cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Baked and chocolate-dipped cookies freeze well - up to three months. Or you can freeze them without the chocolate and dip/decorate after they thaw out. Cookie dough logs freeze well too, up to three months. Allow the logs to thaw overnight in the refrigerator then continue with step 3.
- Make sure you are using quality, pure chocolate. Not chocolate chips. You can also use bittersweet chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, or white chocolate instead.
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