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These simple orange butter cookies are flecked with orange zest, filled with smooth chocolate ganache, and taste identical to Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies. We absolutely devoured these buttery cookies and I know you’ll love the flavors!

stack of butter cookie sandwiches with chocolate ganache filling

Let’s Make Orange Butter Cookies!

Earlier this week I baked a batch of orange scented butter cookies and stuffed them with smooth chocolate ganache. This cookie recipe is straight from my dear friend Rebecca Firth’s new cookbook, The Cookie Book. Rebecca runs the blog Displaced Housewife and is also the creator of this incredible mint chocolate cake that you may have seen on my blog before. Her stunning photography and food styling is GOALS; I’m inspired every time I click over. Her new cookie cookbook, packed with 75 decadent and unique cookie recipes, is equally awesome. This fully photographed cookbook is made for all of us: cookie lovers and beautiful food enthusiasts!

Rebecca is gracious enough to let me share a cookie recipe with you and when deciding which recipe to publish, I found myself in a delicious dilemma. My eyes (and stomach) were immediately drawn to the Old Fashioned Iced Oatmeal Cookies. Then the Carrot Cake Bars and Red Velvet Madeleines and Pecan Brittle Bark Cookies and oh yeah, the Cold Brew Cookies. I finally decided on a shortbread-style cookie flecked with orange zest and filled with chocolate ganache. They’re sophisticated, simple, soft, and buttery and… best of all… they taste EXACTLY like Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies.

These orange butter cookies were supposed to be for the weekend but they never made it past Wednesday night. I know you’ll love them too!

2 images of a stack of butter cookies and the cookie book cookbook by Rebecca Firth

orange butter cookies with chocolate ganache filling

What Do They Taste Like?

Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies!

This cookie recipe begins a very familiar way: buttery cookie dough. You need butter, confectioners’ sugar, egg, an additional egg yolk for flavor, orange zest, vanilla extract, salt, and flour. If cut thick enough, these cookies are incredibly soft. Unlike sugar cookies which are typically crisp on the edges, these orange butter cookies are crumbly on the edges– very similar to shortbread. The orange gives the cookies a fresh flavor twist and is the perfect pair for that dark decadent chocolate ganache. Confectioners’ sugar, as opposed to granulated sugar, keeps the cookie thick and smooth. It also takes the place of some of the flour in the recipe, so these aren’t particularly dry like most butter cookies you’re used to. Rebecca, you’ve truly worked your magic.

Roll Out the Cookie Dough

After you prepare the dough, roll it out as if you were making my sugar cookies. This is a unique method that promises success, so follow the recipe closely.

  1. Divide dough in two pieces
  2. Roll out cookie dough on silicone baking mats or parchment paper
  3. Chill rolled out cookie dough for 1 hour
  4. Cut into shapes before baking

Notice that you roll out the dough BEFORE chilling it in the refrigerator.

  • Why before? The dough is so much easier to roll out before it’s chilled.
  • Why are we chilling it? So the cookies keep their shape when baked.
  • Why divide in 2? Because it’s difficult to roll out a huge mass of dough. Dividing into smaller sections makes rolling out more manageable.
  • Why on a silicone baking mat? Because you have to chill the rolled out dough in the refrigerator and you can’t really pick up a mass of dough you rolled out on the counter. Nor can you cut into shapes when the dough is this warm. So, roll the dough out on a nonstick surface that you can literally pick up, put on a baking sheet, and place in the fridge.
KitchenAid Misty Blue Stand Mixer with orange butter cookie dough

Shortbread cookie dough rolled out before shaping

2 images of cookie cutters and orange butter cookie dough cut into circles

butter cookies on baking sheet before baking

How to Shape Orange Butter Cookies

The only way to guarantee soft and thick orange butter cookies is to roll out the cookie dough to about 1/4-inch thickness. Rebecca uses an adorable fluted edge square cookie cutter in her cookbook, but I reached for my fluted edge circle cookie cutter. You can use any shape cookie cutter you’d like. Since you’re eating two cookies at a time sandwich-style, I suggest using a small cookie cutter to make petite sandwiches.

I used the 1.5 inch size from this cookie cutter set.

Cut the cookie dough after it’s chilled. I pressed some coarse sugar into the tops of each orange scented cookie before baking. This is optional, but adds a little crunch and sparkle.

Since we chilled the cookie dough, the cookies will hold their beautiful shape as they bake. Bake until very lightly browned on the edges. So delightful even without the chocolate ganache! I literally want to throw a tea party just to serve these orange butter cookies.

butter cookies placed in the shape of a heart

2 images of assembling orange butter cookies with chocolate ganache filling and chocolate ganache in a bowl

Chocolate Ganache

Let’s sandwich them! Did you know you only need 2 ingredients for chocolate ganache? Chocolate ganache is made from warm cream and chopped chocolate. Make sure you let it cool and thicken before sandwiching in the cookies. Time saving tip: prepare the ganache as the cookies bake so it can cool down as the cookies cool.

After a couple hours, the ganache will set so you can stack and store the cookies. By day 2, the ganache will have softened the two cookies surrounding it AND that delicious orange flavor will be stronger. Each bite tastes like those orange flavored chocolate Milano cookies we all know and love!

orange butter cookies with chocolate ganache filling

Let’s give Rebecca a huge THANK YOU for these incredible cookies!

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butter cookie sandwiches with chocolate ganache filling

Butter Cookies with Orange & Chocolate Ganache

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 2024 sandwiches 1x
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


Shortbread-style cookies flecked with orange zest and filled with thickened ganache. They’re sophisticated, simple, soft, and buttery!


  • 1 cup (2 sticks; 230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (90g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons orange zest (about 1 orange)
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled), plus more as needed for rolling
  • optional: coarse sugar for topping

Chocolate Ganache

  • 1/2 cup (120ml) heavy cream
  • 4-ounce semi-sweet chocolate bar (113g), finely chopped


  1. Preliminary note: The chocolate ganache requires at least 30 minutes to thicken before it can be used in the cookie sandwiches. I recommend starting the ganache as the cookies bake!
  2. In a large bowl using a hand-held or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium high speed until completely smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the confectioners’ sugar and orange zest, then beat until combined, about 1 minute. Next, add the egg, egg yolk, vanilla extract, and salt. Beat on high speed until combined, scraping down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. Finally, beat in the flour on low speed until combined. The cookie dough will be soft.
  3. Lightly flour your hands, work surface, and rolling pin. Divide the dough into 2 equal parts. Roll each portion out onto a piece of parchment paper or a lightly floured silicone baking mat (I prefer the nonstick silicone mat) to about 1/4-inch thickness. The rolled-out dough can be any shape, as long as it is evenly 1/4-inch thick.
  4. Stack the pieces, with parchment paper between the two, onto a baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days. If chilling for more than a couple hours, cover the top dough piece with a single piece of parchment paper.
  5. Once chilled, preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Remove one of the dough pieces from the refrigerator and, using a 1.5-inch cookie cutter, cut into shapes. I used the 1.5 inch fluted round cookie cutter from this adorable set. Re-roll the remaining dough and continue cutting until all is used. Repeat with 2nd dough piece. Arrange cookies on baking sheets 2 inches apart. If desired, sprinkle + press some coarse sugar into the tops.
  6. Bake cookies for 9-10 minutes until very lightly browned around the edges. Make sure you rotate the baking sheet halfway through bake time. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.
  7. Make the ganache: Place chopped chocolate in a bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan until it begins to gently simmer. (Do not let it come to a rapid boil– that’s too hot!) Pour over chocolate and let it sit for 2-3 minutes to gently soften the chocolate. Slowly stir until completely combined and chocolate has melted. Allow to cool and thicken for at least 30 minutes or until spreadable consistency.
  8. Spread the ganache onto the flat side of one cookie and sandwich with the other. Repeat with remaining.
  9. Cookies will stay fresh covered at room temperature for 3 days or in the refrigerator for 1 week.


  1. Make Ahead Instructions: Chocolate ganache can be prepared, covered, and refrigerated for up to 3 days before using. Let it sit at room temperature to soften or microwave for 5-10 seconds before using. Plain (un-sandwiched) cookies freeze well up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. You can chill the rolled-out cookie dough in the refrigerator for up to 2 days (step 4). You can also freeze the cookie dough, before rolling out in step 3, for up to 3 months. Then allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before rolling out. Chill for only 30 minutes in step 4 as opposed to 1 hour.
  2. Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer | Glass Mixing Bowls | Rolling Pin | Fluted Edge Round Cookie Cutters | Silpat Baking Mat | Baking Sheet | Cooling Rack | The Cookie Book
  3. Be sure to check out my top 5 cookie baking tips AND these are my 10 must-have cookie baking tools.

Keywords: orange butter cookies with chocolate ganache

Oh and instead of chocolate ganache, try filling with salted caramel. Let the caramel cool for 15 minutes before sandwiching!

stack of butter cookie sandwiches with caramel filling

Reader Questions and Reviews

    1. Hi Megan! Heavy cream is what will set up the ganache. You need all that fat + thickness. Full fat coconut milk works instead if you have that around!

  1. I’m looking for cookies for holiday gift plates. Can these sit out for several days safely? Are they sturdy enough to be stacked and nestled in among other types of cookies? Thank you – these look amazing!

    1. Yes and yes! I kept these out at room temperature for several days and they were still fantastic– even softer and more flavorful. They stack easily once that ganache is set.

    1. Hi Jill! I find chocolate ganache doesn’t thaw out as nicely, but you can certainly try it.

  2. Hi Sally!
    I made these and they were absolutely delicious! I would have liked it a tad bit sweeter though but this recipe is a keeper! Thanks!

  3. Hi Sally,

    First off, I love your recipes!
    The cookies are very yummy, and I can’t wait to add the chocolate ganache. However it was very difficult to handle because my dough was very soft, but I was scared to add too much flour and change the cookie. I’m not sure if I did something wrong.. Was I supposed to use a lot of flour when rolling it?
    Also, will it be okay to use a cookie press rather than cookie cutters?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Sabrina! Your butter may have been too soft. Make sure it’s soft, but still cool to touch. I only leave the butter out for about 1 hour before beginning. As for the cookie press, I’m actually unsure. I haven’t tried it! But let me know if you do.

  4. Can I just cut the cookies into even squares rather then a cookie cutter? As long as they’re 1/4 thick.

  5. Hi Sally,
    I’m going to give these a go and want to do a salted caramel batch also. Would I leave the orange zest out for the caramel ones?
    Thanks, love you recipes!

    1. Hi Holly! You can leave the orange zest out of the cookies you plan to sandwich with salted caramel. Unless you enjoy orange and caramel together… I personally think the 2 are delicious together!

  6. Hi Sally, these look amazing! I saw the comment about freezing the dough in your recipe, but what about the complete cookies baked and filled? Would that work?

    1. Hi Lauren! Yes, you can freeze the sandwiched cookies BUT I find that the ganache doesn’t thaw as nicely. It’s possible, of course, but they taste better fresh!

  7. Hey Sally! Would I be able to use linzer cutters for these or will the ganache completely seep through the top? Also, do you have any other flavor suggestions I could do with this recipe?

    1. Hi Lydia! This cookie dough should work very nicely for linzer cookies and chocolate ganache would be a wonderful filling– just use it sparingly in each “sandwich.” Other suggestions would be:

      lemon curd
      salted caramel
      your favorite flavor jam

    1. Would be delicious. I suggest 3/4 teaspoon of orange extract in the cookie dough. No other changes to the cookie dough necessary.

  8. I followed your recipe to the letter… and they turned out beautifully. I’m happy to add them to my cookie tray. Thank you for another great recipe.

  9. Hi Sally! I’ve been wanting to make these cookies for some time now, but I was wondering if I could swap out the ganache for some Nutella as the filling. Do you think that would work or would the Nutella be too runny to hold the sandwich together?

  10. These are really good cookies to go with coffee. They’re a nice subtle flavor.

  11. I made these over the weekend because I wanted to make a recipe that helped me utilize some of the bazillion oranges on our tree out back. These are a winner! Thanks as always for having reliable and yummy treats!

  12. I like the combination of orange and cardamom. Could you recommend how much I might add if I wanted to give it a try?

      1. Thank you, the turned out Amazing!! I’m on to your White Chocolate Chai Snickerdoodles now. Tis the season for cookies and I can always count on your recipes to be delicious. Thank you for all you do! Merry Christmas!

  13. I’ve made this a bunch of times and it’s always turned out perfect. Today I made it again and they completely melted into puddles! I don’t understand what I did differently.

    1. I am looking forward to making these at Valentine’s Day in heart-shaped sandwiches. My honey and our child both like chocolate and orange, Milano cookie, and ganache. I am guessing you want your butter on the colder side of room temp, and to work quickly with cutters from removing rolled sheet of dough from fridge to placing cookies in oven. We make tons of Christmas cookies and are doing a January health reset including natural foods, no flour or refined sugars until Valentine’s Day. This will be a nice treat at that time. I might do these and raspberry almond then.

  14. Soft and delicious cookie. I used a snowflake cookie cutter and dipped them in chocolate instead of making sandwiches.
    The dough was really hard to roll out though. The dough was very sticky. I used flour on the mat, on the rolling and on my hands.
    I put the rolled out dough on 2 silicone mats into the freezer for about 30 minutes. It was surprisingly easy to cut through with the cookie cutter.

  15. I am wondering if you could adjust the ganache such that it would be stable without sandwiching? Basically trying to get double the mileage haha.

    1. Hi Casey, try reducing the heavy cream so the ganache would be thicker. Hoping that’s what you meant!

  16. I just made these ready to go with our afternoon tea, and they are absolutely delicious! Thank you for the recipe.

  17. What are your thoughts on subbing lemon zest for orange? I don’t have any oranges on hand but have plenty of lemons!

  18. 1) Decided not to bother with the ganache sandwich and just make the cookies.
    2) Beefed up the orange flavor by tripling the zest and using double the extract (orange, not lemon).
    3) Was very dismayed by the soft sticky consistency of the dough. Even after refrigerating, still difficult to handle, no less roll out. How much extra flour would make that even possible??
    So I reverted to baking the dough the old-fashioned traditional shortbread method; I plopped the ball of soft sticky dough in the middle of a well-buttered 9″ square baking dish; spread it out to fill the dish with my hands; baked 25-30 minutes until top just started to get golden; cut the still warm square into 25 square cookies with the tip of a sharp knife. Wonderful results–and the extra whole egg in this recipe made the shortbreads lighter and less crumbly than the traditional ones. Overall—MUCH simpler than rolling and cutting and rolling and cutting….and cutting and rolling. 😉

  19. I just finished making these delicious little cookies, and I am so happy with the way they turned out! Perfectly buttery and soft with a nice orange flavor, and the ganache….well, that is just the perfect complement and finishing touch! I am excited to share these cookies with my family and friends over the 4th of July holiday weekend….I am sure they will disappear quickly!

  20. I like dark chocolate with orange. Would I need to make any adjustments to the ganache if I’m using dark instead of semi sweet chocolate?


  21. These cookies are terrible…for my waistline! If only I could go back to geometry class and figure out how to eyeball symmetry. I tried making these cookies as adorable leaves, but it turns out they are not symmetric. Unfortunately I discovered this issue when the cookies were cool. (my bad). I had to put the ganache on top of one cookie for the sandwich. Not a huge deal. The other thing I learned is that unsweetened chocolate is total garbage and should not be used for ganache. I know the recipe calls for semi-sweet chocolate, but there were limited options at the grocery store.

    My one question, does the ganache harden at all? To truly copy the Milano cookies, I’m wondering if I should put them in the freezer. Maybe I’ll just have to keep eating them to see if the chocolate hardens.

  22. These tasted exactly like Milanos but fresher. Rolling them out was a little tricky, it took quite a bit of flour, but it all worked out in the end.

  23. I love the orange cookies even better without the chocolate! I’ll make those again for me to snack on. Everyone loved the sandwich cookie, I made them as houses for a new neighbor housewarming gift. My only issue was the ganache is not shiny, I had wanted to dip a few and sandwich a few. What did I do wrong? I used Callebaut 54% chocolate and whipping cream, but I heated the chocolate in a double boiler then added the cream – is that what made it look dull?

    1. Hi Anita! I’m so glad to read that you love these orange cookies. Chocolate is rather finicky when heated. The dull appearance could have been the way you prepared the ganache. I recommend following the recipe as directed, using warm cream and chopped room temperature chocolate.

  24. Sally,
    First, your recipes are wonderful! quick question- could you roll the dough in a log and chill and cut cookies? I’m just looking for a quicker method, but more importantly one that takes up less space in the refrigerator. Have you ever tried it this way?

  25. Do you think that these cookies will be good if I left out the orange zest and filled them with jam? and make a hole in half of the cookies so the jam can show, like your chocolate gingerbread sandwich cookies? Will the cookies be buttery, or should I use your sugar cookie recipe for that?

    1. Hi Jenna, You can make them either that way! They would be slightly different flavors so it’s just personal preference 🙂 You might also like these Pistachio Linzer Cookies.

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